A Kentucky State University professor delivered a lecture on the origins of hip-hop April 19 at 1 p.m. in Little Bradford Theatre inside David H. Bradford Hall on the University campus.
Dr. Ryan Douglas Moore, assistant professor of low brass at Kentucky State, delivered the lecture entitled “The Origins of Hip-Hop: A retrospective highlighting the influences, innovators and societal climate that birthed a musical revolution.”
“Being born in 1982, right at hip-hop’s infancy when it was still considered ‘just a fad,’ I grew up right during the golden era of the genre,” Morris said. “I was fortunate enough to have an older brother who first exposed me to the early stars of hip-hop such as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and The Beastie Boys. Being a true child of the MTV generation, I watched as hip-hop began to infiltrate the mainstream, especially white suburban America, and it was clear that this truly original black American art form was here to stay, much in the same way jazz reached across race lines.”
Moore said his love and interest in hip-hop has deepened over the last 10 years.
“My interest in the origins of the art form has led me to dig deeper into the vast catalog of artists and search for interviews from the early pioneers to hear their story on how it all began,” Moore said. “Recently there has been several great documentaries released that attempt to put together a living historical account of the early years dating back to the first hip-hop party ever thrown by DJ Kool Herc in 1973, the first hip-hop record ever released by the Sugarhill Gang in 1979 and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s masterpiece, The Message, released in 1982.”
Moore said he also feels the current generation “are very unaware of how this music began, evolved and became such an embedded part of their lives, and he hopes that the lecture peaked their interest in the subject, created a deeper appreciation and provided a larger perspective on the music that they love.”
Moore also said whether or not to discuss hip-hop in academia is heavily debated.
“Many critics have claimed that the standards that define legitimate scholarly inquiry exclude the actual individuals who produce hip-hop, in favor of published academics who may or may not have any tangible connection to hip-hop culture at all,” Moore said. “The argument touches upon a current phenomenon, where self-proclaimed ‘hip-hop experts,’ with university appointments attached to their name, have no credibility whatsoever in hip-hop circles.”
Moore said those critics may have a good point, but he said he isn’t a hip-hop expert and doesn’t claim to be one.
“I am just a music teacher with a deep appreciation of hip-hop and I truly feel that this part of music history is unavoidably important and should be taught and analyzed in schools,” Moore said. “Just as we study Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven; Ellington, Davis and Coltrane…should we not talk about Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa or Rakim?”