KNOWLEDGE: Hip Hop Culture’s Fifth Element
The Hip-Hop legend KRS-ONE, aka THA TEACHA, performs on the outdoor stage at the Karma Lounge in Ventura, Calif., on Saturday, March 21, 2009. (blakeryanlewis©2009)

KNOWLEDGE: Hip Hop Culture’s Fifth Element

Because many still see Hip Hop as being exclusively associated with the RAP! The “Knowledge” is the fifth element of the Hip Hop culture and certainly the most important one.


Through this article , We wish to give the material and the knowledge to show that the Hip Hop is in fact a culture of several elements united with each other and that knowledge is the link between them.

As KRS One would say in Hip Hop Knowledge:

“Well, well, today hip-hop, we are advocating that hip-hop is not, just a music, it is an attitude, it is an awareness, it is a way to view the world. So rap music, is something we do, but HIP-HOP,is something we live. And we look at hip-hop, in it’s 9 elements; which is breaking, emceeing, graffiti art, deejaying, beatboxing,street fashion, street language, street knowledge,and street entrepreneurialism – trade and business. That’s where y’know that’s the hip-hop that we’re about. We come from 

 the root of Kool DJ Herc, who originated hip-hop in the early 70’s and then Afrika Bambaataa and Zulu Nation who instigated something called The Infinity Lessons and added consciousness to hip-hop, and then Grandmaster Flash with the invention of the mixer, on to Run-D.M.C. and then myself. We created the «Stop the Violence » movement, you may recall a song, « Self Destruction » and and and so on. All of this, goes to, the idea of LIVING this culture out and taking responsibility for how it looks and acts in society.” 

Hip-hop culture is typically broken down into four elements: emceeing, breaking, DJing and graffiti.

Throughout this blog we’ve examined these artistic aspects and how much they have impacted the globe. However, we haven’t discussed one other important element in hip-hop culture: Knowledge.

Starting with definitions:

Knowledge simply refers to the condition of knowing something. It is the information, facts, principles, skills and understanding, etc. that is acquired through education and experience.
Knowledge is an important part of life and a powerful acquisition which, when given to someone, does not decrease.

Going straight to the point:

Knowledge, an element made by Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation, is the glue that holds the artistic elements within the context of hip-hop: Without knowledge, a person who can rap will never be an emcee. A person who can mix records on a turntable can never be considered a DJ if he or she doesn’t have knowledge. Spinning on your head without possessing knowledge only makes you capable of getting dizzy. Tagging the walls without knowledge is just vandalism.

It is the element that explains the difference between mainstream society and the hip-hop community. It helps the people of hip-hop learn about and embrace their differences, from language to physical abilities. It teaches the hip-hop community how to properly express themselves for the entire world to experience.

Knowledge can be seen in numerous ways. It explains the reason why folks who are in tune with hip-hop can rhyme over any beat about political and social issues. For example, if you put a rapper on the spot and ask them to rap about the health care reform, and this person says one line about health care and seven lines about how great they can rap, then that person lacks knowledge.

Breakreate X Urban Whyz Festival in Nefza, June 2018/Credit Photo: Med Mhamdi

Another way knowledge is portrayed : in pieces drawn by graf writers. The famous “Tuff City” piece by Skeme (Biography of Skeme) is not just a picture showing off the skills, but a story of corruption in the eyes of a then 17-year-old. A true graf artist won’t stop at writing his or her name in the subway train. They want everybody to know who they are and their story.


In essence, that’s what knowledge is. It is the element that teaches the hip-hop community about their identity and how to express it. The entire concept of knowledge dates long before hip-hop; it lies within its roots and sheds light on why hip-hop is so powerful.

Words from the Writer: I tried to collect this content from different spots and websites in order to spread the knowledge for the good of our Hip-hop community.

Keep it real folks , Peace.

Louay Chakroun

Louay Chakroun, a Bboy, hip-hop artist and a writer. Representing Illest Looserz Alive and Dachra Rockers.

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