The "Fifth Element"
Everybody who truly practices and embraces the HipHop culture, will know the four elements that make up the fundamentals of HipHop are-EMCEE'ing, DJ'ing, Breakdancing and Graffiti. Arguably, others say there's a fifth, and even up to ten other elements. These additional elements are usually bounced between the idea of "Beat Boxing", "Knowledge" and"Fashion".
Beat boxing was essential for birthing new beats and sounds when you had no equipment. The original technique only uses your mouth, lips, nose and throat. These sounds made by "Beat boxing" can be described as the similar sounds you would hear an 808 drum machine produce.
According to humanbeatbox.com:
"Before people could afford electronic machines and booming sound systems, artists improvised by recreating these sounds with nothing but the mouth. Beatboxers provided the backtrack to all the other elements of hip hop by mobilizing Emcees and Breakdancers."
Most famously known for beat boxing, check out:
USA Doug E Fresh Biz Markie1983
When people say knowledge, it refers to where HipHop came from. HipHop has deep roots in under served, urban communities of The Bronx, New York. Times were very dangerous, and people needed a change. From the burning buildings, a new hope rose from the ashes-HIPHOP. This culture started from the ground up, it used the four elements as a new outlet for our youth, in hopes to keep them alive. The cycle continues when these children pass this knowledge onto their children. UNITY. PEACE. RESPECT.
A good documentary to watch about this is RUBBLE KINGS.
People mention Fashion as the the fifth element of HipHop. It was believed to have started when certain kids wore certain styles from the various boroughs of New York. Each borough had it's own unique way of dressing, and people could tell where you were from by the way you dressed. When neighborhoods became open to outsiders, styles were exchanged, and the HipHop "look" was born.
A good documentary to check out is: FRESH DRESSED.
As I dig more into HipHop containing more than just four elements. I find that people mention up to ten additional elements. I will link a pdf. to an article right here: From the Brooklyn Academy of Music .
So what do you think? Are we good with the basic four elements? Or do we need to update and embrace more elements as HipHop grows?
This year, the culture turns 50 years old! It's amazing to think that something so powerful, could be so young. So young, that we can still find some of the founding legends to be alive and still practicing their element(s), giving it all for the culture.