Hip-Hop Is Turning 50. Here’s How It Got Its Name.

By the early 20th century, drill sergeants used these syllables for military cadences, as in “hip, two, three, four,” which also influenced signal-calling in football. By the time early rappers deployed those syllables, “hip” had also accrued its modern sense of “in the know” or “up-to-date,” and “hop” was used for all sorts of bouncy rhythms and dance moves.

Mark Runncales/PA Wire/Zuma

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