A widely misunderstood CULTURE that is centered around 4 pillars: DJing, rapping, b-boying and graffiti writing. The culture is based upon the idea of peace and love in poor ghetto communities and that street violence should be replaced by rap battles, and that battles should be fought not with guns but with the mind.
Although hip-hop music is usually mistaken for rap music, the two are similar but not the same. They are performed in the same way, i.e. by speaking rhythmically over a beat with occasional support from a DJ, hip-hop music is more community-oriented. MCs usually discuss living in the ghetto and the rough conditions that their people face (The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is a great example of this), one or more of the four pillars of Hip Hop (Out for Fame by KRS-One), or Hip Hop culture, its history, and their own personal experiences with the music (Hip Hop Lives by KRS-One, or I Used to Love H.E.R. by Common Sense). Rap music can be centered around any number of things, usually, though not always, about material things (Hypnotize by The Notorious B.I.G.) and/or sex (Lollipop by Lil' Wayne). Rap music also glorifies the ideas of being a gangster, while Hip Hop discusses the matter in a neutral or negative matter (Changes by 2pac).
Hip means to know, its a form of intelligence,
To be hip is to be update and relevant,
Hop is a form of movement,
You can't observe a hop, you gotta hop up and do it,
Hip and Hop is more than music,
Hip is the knowledge, hop is the movement,
Hip and Hop is intelligent movement,
Or relevant movement, we sellin' the music.
- KRS-One & Marley Marl, "Hip Hop Lives"
JUST TO CLARIFY: Although many think rap music and culture is bad, rap is not. It is the sister to hip hop, separated only by subject matter and small differences in culture. Though much of what one hears on the radio is indeed rap, rap is just as misunderstood as Hip Hop is. A true Hip Hop head knows to respect all people and their ideas, for all people have rights to their own beliefs.