Hip hop originally started in the Bronx in the '70s. All the first guys were doing was making a personal statement about their music. They were after a sound that would keep the people moving. And so it developed with DJs 'toasting' music and generally mixing Latin, Caribbean and Afro American beats to produce a distinctive sound. Hip hop culture has really taken off and there are kids who espouse Hip-hop in all places around the world, from the street of Shinjuku in Tokyo to down town Cape Town,
It certainly was from this movement that saw the development of Rap and rappers. The Jamaican practice of 'toasting' music which meant reciting poetry and words over the music was the antecedent of rap. And Rap is Huge.
Another development of hip-hop was break dancing. People would develop their own distinctive dance routines and would demonstrate these on the street or in parks. Wherever they could gather an audience as what is the point of the moves if no one else sees them. Movies such as 'Flashdance' and 'Dirty Dancing' were the antecedents. Break dancing itself is no longer so revolutionary but street dancing is still very popular and there are many off shoots. Movies such as 'Step up' and its sequels are but a manifestation of the fact that hip-hop culture is alive and kicking.
Although some moves were gang rivalry related most were a way for teenagers to get away from gang violence and dance instead. Essentially it was also away for the coloured folk to express themselves. Hip hop culture became a way of life for minorities. At that stage the black and Hispanics in the US were pretty suppressed and embracing hip-hop culture gave them an independent identity.
From this music scene Bling-bling developed, with the successful DJs and other hip hoppers and rappers wearing large flashy and ostentatious jewelry, like big neck pendants, bracelets, and gold chains. This fashion has permeated through to their cars and clothing which took on a very flamboyant look. Initially wearing bling-bling was very much a black fashion and was seen on the so called 'gangsta rappers'
And so it is today. Hip Hop Jewelry is now highly fashionable and is not confined to Afro American Rappers and gangsters but, like hip hop itself, is now part of the mainstream of life worldwide. If one looks through the pages of any fashion magazine one sees many examples of large brooches and bracelets and the like being worn by celebrities, fashion models and of course by ordinary people on the street.
Much of the early hip hop jewelry was either wildly expensive, being lots of diamond (ice) chips embedded in the piece or was cheap and tatty. Nowadays there is a large selection of hip hop jewelry on the market which is neither, being well made and robust but not being outrageously expensive either. One can readily purchase well made bling jewelry that will withstand the demands of fashion and look good for years to come.
Growing out of the hip hop movement of the '70s, bling bling jewellery is a statement on its own.
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