The 5 Elements of Hip Hop

Written by on December 19, 2022

Our “5 Elements of Hip Hop” event was LIT! The event explored the foundations of Hip-Hop through an interactive immersion in art, poetry, movement, history, and culture.

Each element had its own immersive experience lead by those in our local hip hop community:


The pioneers for DJing included Grandmaster Flash and mixtape king DJ Clue, but it was DJ Kool Herc who got there first! In 1973, DJ Kool Herc and his sister  Cindy Campbell, hosted a “Back to School Jam“. At the party, Herc unveiled a technique called ‘The Merry Go Round’, playing breaks back to back. This event is oftentimes contributed as the birth of hip hop as well.

Flyer for the Back To School Jam

DJ Chonz, award-winning DJ and co-founder Denver DJ School DROPped by to give people a little DJ lesson and give them a chance to try out their DJ chops, while also learning a bit about the history of DJing and its significance to hip hop. Learn more about DJ Chonz HERE.

DJ Chonz

Breakdancing aka “B-boying”

DJ Kool Herc coined the phrase “B-boying”.  The five original ‘core’ moves were: top rock, footwork, back rock, freezes and power moves. 80’s-90s breaking was brought to the fore by Rock Steady Crew – and as DJs invented new ways to elongate their records’ break beats, the dancers were given more time to invent and experiment introducing backspins and windmills.

BreakEFX Crew came through and brought the house down with their breakdancing skills! BreakEFX crew is part of The Spot 2.0, a local dance studio that also offers FREE classes!

BreakEFX Crew Dancers


Graffiti’s first iterations were simply, “Here’s my name,” according to one of its early big names, Cameron ‘Grandmaster’ Flowers, who was also a musician. You can see how often I’ve written it. Take a look at how many places I could be from one end of the city to the other. Graffiti artists would quickly spray their identity and possibly a street number to avoid being caught by the authorities.

As hip hop was all about making a now type of graffiti was the extension of that through art hop graffiti started with tags – making your presence felt in the city and stamping your individuality on it, and first emerged in the late 60s in New York and Philadelphia.

Artist RubeZilla provided attendees with an immersive VR experience to create their own graffiti art! Learn more about RubeZilla and his art HERE.


Although rapping grabbed the spotlight a bit, beatboxing was a vital part of early percussion. Beatboxing is where you make noises with your mouth, tongue, lips, nose, and throat: in this case YOU are the musical instrument.  Kickdrums (a “p” sound), hi-hats  (a “th” sound), and snare drums (a “kuh” sound) are the basic percussion sounds you need to be able to master for beatboxing.

The artist Doug E. Fresh is usually labeled as the original beatbox pioneer. His mid-80s hit “The Show/La Di Da Di” showed his talents and popularized showmanship, especially for his stage performances.


The term “MC-ing,” stands for “Master of Ceremonies,” it can also be called including lyricism or rapping.

When hip hop first emerged in the late 1970s, the MCs’ role during block parties was to introduce DJs and get the audience going. By talking along with the beat and adding words or lyrics, Rap was born!

Dr. Ietef “DJ Cavem” Vita the O.G. taught us about the history of MCing and beatboxing during the event. Learn more about Dr. Ietef “DJ Cavem” HERE.

Dr. Ietef “DJ Cavem” Vita the O.G


Check out our brief video recap of the event!


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Thank you to everyone that came through to the event and participated! Another thank you to all those who made it possible. It was so much fun!


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