Muhammad Ali’s Influence on Hip-Hop

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Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers to step foot in the ring. His brilliance showed every time he put on his gloves. Besides being a sports and entertainment legend, Ali was a social icon. His impact reached all around the world, and he is a role model for many people in many ways. Hip-Hop has been impacted by Muhammad Ali greatly and it shows. Muhammad Ali tremendously influenced hip-hop through rhyming, dissing, nicknames, and most importantly, his activism.

Muhammad Ali, born January 17, 1942 with the name Cassius Clay, would soon become one of the most important and praised African American role models ever. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky during a period of segregation. His father supported his wife and two sons by doing billboard paintings and sign work. His mother worked around the house. At age twelve he began his boxing career, and little did he know it was the start of him becoming the greatest American professional boxer. His boxing career included, being the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions, winning medals at the Olympics, getting crowned as the world and the male athlete of the year on several accounts, and being celebrated as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures in history. Ali was not only rewarded for his achievements in boxing but was honored for his social activism and philanthropism.

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Even though it originated from Africa, hip-hop is a culture and art movement that was developed on August 11th of 1973 in the west Bronx, New York City. The innovation for this style of music was brought to life by its founding father, Clive Campbell-better known as DJ Kool Herc. Ali was in his prime during the 70s and that was when hip-hop was first starting up. The popular styles from the 70s were disco and funk that were constantly played in clubs during this time. The economy started to decline during this era resulting in many discos and night clubs forced to close their doors due to the lack of money being made to support them. Parties were brought back on the streets in urban areas where DJs would use sound systems to mix funk and soul style music. DJs would add in breaks, a tradition adopted from Jamaica, which led to many people dancing in a way that is today referred to as break-dancing. Through the years as more inventions came about, hip-hop had soon spread across the country and was becoming the top selling music genre by the 90s. To this day hip-hop is globally recognized and continues to influence music, styles, and culture around the world.

Muhammad Ali might not have been a hip-hop artist, but his character and personality influenced many rising hip-hop artists to adapt his ways in their music.

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