Hip hop is a broad conglomerate of artistic forms that originated within a marginalized subculture in the South Bronx and Harlem in New York City among black and Latino youth during the 1970s. It is characterized by four distinct elements, all of which represent the different manifestations of the culture: rap music, turntablism or "DJing", breaking and graffiti art. Despite their contrasting methods of execution, they find unity in their common association to the poverty and violence underlying the historical context that birthed the culture. It was as a means of providing a reactionary outlet from such urban hardship that "hip hop" initially functioned, a form of self-expression that could reflect upon, proclaim an alternative to, try to challenge or merely evoke the mood of the circumstances of such an environment. Even while it continues in contemporary history to develop globally in a flourishing myriad of diverse styles, these foundational elements provide stability and coherence to the culture. The term is frequently used mistakenly to refer in a confining fashion to the mere practice of rap music.
The origin of the culture stems from the block parties of the Ghetto Brothers when they plugged the amps for their instruments and speakers into the lampposts on 163rd Street and Prospect Avenue, and from DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, where Herc mixed samples of existing records with his own shouts to the crowd and dancers. Kool Herc is credited as the "father" of hip hop. DJ Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, to which he coined the terms: MCing or "Emceein", DJing or "Deejayin", B-boying and graffiti writing or "Aerosol Writin".