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In the early 1970s no one knew that an entire culture would spring up from what was a poor environment in the Bronx, New York. In spite of their surroundings, young Black and Latino kids found new ways to create art. These art forms went hand in hand in most cases and developed into what became known as the ‘elements’ of Hip Hop.
There are five ‘elements’ that make up Hip Hop – DJing, MCing (or rapping), B-Boying (also known as breakdancing), Graffiti Writing, and Knowledge. There are other aspects of Hip Hop that sprang out of the culture such as Fashion, Beat Boxing, and Promotion (such as Street Marketing Teams), but they were not ‘original’ elements.
While many people know the legendary DJ Kool Herc, there are many others who have helped Hip Hop grow into the culture that it is today. People may not recognize that people such as James Brown, The Nicholas Brothers, DJ Hollywood, Cornbread, Cool Earl, and many others set the foundation for dancing, rapping, and graffiti writing.
Despite a sometimes negative view of Hip Hop (namely Rap Music), the culture continues to grow. While Rap music dominates record sales and radio waves, Graffiti art has evolved and can be seen in art galleries and on commercial entities. B-Boying is world-wide with “World Championships” taking place in Europe. And the art of DJing has been taken to new levels. Long live True Hip Hop.
Many people know that there are four ‘elements’ that make up Hip Hop Culture, but there are many people who don’t know that there is also a fifth element that is a critical part of Hip Hop as well. The four elements that people are aware of are DJing, MCing, Graffiti, and B-Boying, but people often forget about the fifth element, Knowledge.
The element of Knowledge (or Knowledge, Culture, and ‘Overstanding’) was something that was first promoted by Afrika Bambaataa, the Godfather of Hip Hop. Afrika Bambaataa had the vision to see that the original four elements of Hip Hop could be used for good things, so he created an organization called The Universal Zulu Nation. The Zulu Nation helped take kids who were members of street gangs, and gave them ways of doing many positive things. The Universal Zulu Nation spreads the word of peace, love, unity, and having fun through the Elements of Hip Hop culture.
Only by learning and studying the four elements, DJing , MCing, Graffiti, and B-Boying, can you have the fifth element of Hip Hop, Knowledge.
This is a book is a collection that brings all four of The Five Elements of Hip Hop… series into one place.
“I grew up in Hip Hop. I danced, rapped, and even tried to be a DJ. I thought I knew it all about Hip Hop! But this book taught me many things that I really had no idea about! Thanks for the education!”
“This was very necessary! A lot of kids these days have no idea about how Hip Hop started, but now this book can help them know their history.”
“I’m a teacher of 5th graders, and I will be able to use this book to help teach history, social studies, and even incorporate music and dance into my lessons. Thanks!”
In many cultures knowledge and information is passed down through generations via word of mouth, and that is no different in Hip Hop Culture. Think about some of your favorite Hip Hop memories. It’s likely that most of them haven’t been captured in a book or on a DVD. So when Hip Hop was just starting out in the late 1960s and early 1970s, no one thought to capture information in a book, and DVDs didn’t exist! So part of the difficulty in putting together the series “The Five Elements of Hip Hop…” was trying to make sure that the information was as accurate as possible. While the intended audience (Children ages 9 and up) may not know the validity of the information in the books, it is likely that the parents do! So being as accurate as possible with the information was very important.
The books are not designed to be all comprehensive, meaning, there may be people, places, and events that may not have been included in the books. This is a “Children’s Guide…” so we had to make sure that the information was accurate, but it wasn’t being written for a college classroom. Also, it was important to include pictures where possible because reading about the people who were instrumental in the formation of Hip Hop is one thing, but also seeing them helps as well.
The entire series of “The Five Elements of Hip Hop…” can be found in both eBook and paperback formats. They were originally designed to be eBooks, but many people were requesting to have them as paperbacks as well. The eBook version of KNOWLEDGE: The Fifth Element of Hip Hop is currently only available on Amazon.com for Kindle and Kindle Apps.
Lamont was born and raised in Mount Vernon (‘Money Earnin’) New York, which shares a border with the Bronx New York. Born in 1971, Lamont grew up going to block parties watching DJs, MCs, and B-Boys do their thing. And like just about everyone else, Lamont was mesmerized when he heard ‘Rapper’s Delight’ first played on the radio. At that time he knew that he would always be a part of Hip Hop.
Almost 15 years later Lamont had a (short-lived) recording contract as a rapper, but also went on to be very active in the entertainment industry in many ways. Lamont was involved in entertainment including: Radio - with shows on 88.1 WMUC (University of Maryland), Flava 1580AM (all Hip Hop station in Washington DC), and 95.5 WPGC FM (Washington DC, working with DJ Big Tigga); Television – appearing on multiple shows including Rap City, The Wire, and an After School Special, as well as producing and directing hundreds of shows in the Washington DC area including a music video show (Real Music Now), an award winning talk show (Welcome to the Stoop), award winning short film (Shades of Grey), and award winning children’s show (Kids in the Kitchen); Promotions – Street teams for WPGC and for Street Corner Collective; and Music Production – including CDs for Ms Nyema (Phenyemanal available on CD Baby), Baby Sin aka Sin-sational (Overdue available on CD Baby), The Cofe Shoppe, and mixtapes for Famous Nobodies and D-Jeruz.
Lamont continues his love of HIp Hop and expressed it through the series “The Five Elements of Hip Hop…” and has also written a number of other books that can be found on 70 West Press.
He earned a BS in Marketing and a Certificate in African American Studies from the University of Maryland in College Park and an MBA from the University of Maryland – University College. He is married and has two sons.