Hip Hop Innovation

Hip Hop Innovation

Rawls: Limitations are one of the best drivers of innovation. Because when you don’t have, it forces you to create.

That certainly holds true for electric light bulbs, transistors and hip hop. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Rawls: Hip hop was born out of nothing. We’re talking about young African American and Latino youths in New York City who didn’t have instruments, who didn’t have the money to go get lessons for instruments. So they had to take what they had. And what they had was a turntable and their mom and dad’s records.

J Rawls is a hip hop producer who’s worked with Mos Def, the Beastie Boys and other artists. He’s based in Columbus, Ohio.

Ambience: drums

Rawls: A break is a three to five second part in a song where the drums play by themselves. And it’s the backbone of hip hop. It’s where you take that part and you can do what we call “beat juggling” and bring it back and forth. And you keep that beat going and you in a sense have a new beat. And that’s where sampling came in. Because we had to make our own beats. One of the most famous break beats is called “Apache,” by the Incredible Bongo Band. Apache became the break that really started the hip-hop revolution. It’s one of the early breaks.

Rawls: That’s part of the innovation, is taking a break or taking a sample and manipulating it in a way that someone hasn’t done before. Every time I sit down to create a beat or create music, I try to think of a different way to use drums, instruments, samples, anything like that. We take it and we try to manipulate it.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, presenting Places of Invention, a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Hip Hop Innovation

Limitations are one of the best drivers of innovation - including in Hip-Hop!
Air Date:06/25/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

Hip Hop Innovation

Rawls: Limitations are one of the best drivers of innovation. Because when you don't have, it forces you to create.

That certainly holds true for electric light bulbs, transistors and hip hop. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Rawls: Hip hop was born out of nothing. We're talking about young African American and Latino youths in New York City who didn't have instruments, who didn't have the money to go get lessons for instruments. So they had to take what they had. And what they had was a turntable and their mom and dad's records.

J Rawls is a hip hop producer who's worked with Mos Def, the Beastie Boys and other artists. He's based in Columbus, Ohio.

Ambience: drums

Rawls: A break is a three to five second part in a song where the drums play by themselves. And it's the backbone of hip hop. It's where you take that part and you can do what we call "beat juggling" and bring it back and forth. And you keep that beat going and you in a sense have a new beat. And that's where sampling came in. Because we had to make our own beats. One of the most famous break beats is called "Apache," by the Incredible Bongo Band. Apache became the break that really started the hip-hop revolution. It's one of the early breaks.

Rawls: That's part of the innovation, is taking a break or taking a sample and manipulating it in a way that someone hasn't done before. Every time I sit down to create a beat or create music, I try to think of a different way to use drums, instruments, samples, anything like that. We take it and we try to manipulate it.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, presenting Places of Invention, a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.