Words at Play : Top 10 Words of the '80s
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#1: Hip-Hop

"Just when you thought all music was starting to sound alike, along came the 'hip hop' sound of New York, thrusting the art of rapping into the limelight.... [It] promises to be the most popular music form since rock 'n' roll." — Jet magazine, May 27, 1985

Originating in the South Bronx in the late 1970s, hip-hop went global by the end of the '80s.

So how did it get its name?

According to one explanation, the term pairs the hip that means "trendy" or "fashionable" with the leaping movement hop.

According to another, a member of the pioneering rap group Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was teasing a friend who was going into the army, repeating the hip/hop/hip/hop his friend would soon be marching to, and then vocally playing off that – in a way that later got incorporated into other songs and eventually gave the music its name.

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