A Beginners Guide to Hip Hop
Historical breakdown of hip hop
(Roots of Hip Hop, Old School Hip Hop, Golden Age Hip Hop, and New School Hip Hop)
The Roots of Hip Hop (B Boy / B Girl era involving true MCing and DJing which was highly influenced by graffiti).  Started in the early 70's with block parties located in New York City.
Rap music emerged from block parties after ultra-competitive DJs isolated percussion breaks, those being the favorites among dancers, and MCs began speaking over the beats. - Wikipedia

Artist from this era of hip hop include:
Funky Four Plus One
  1. The Voice of K.K. aka K.K. Rockwell (Kevin Smith)
  2. Keith Keith (Keith Caesar)
  3. Sha Rock (Sharon Green)
  4. Rahiem (Guy Todd Williams)
  5. Lil' Rodney C! (Rodney Stone)
  6. Jazzy Jeff (Jeff Miree)
  7. D.J. Breakout (Keith Williams)
  8. D.J. Baron (Baron Chappell)

DJ Kool Herc
(Side Note: Recently DJ Premier made a statement on his blog that DJ Kool Herc has become very ill.  Friends say he unfortunately lacks health insurance and his family have setup an official website which describes his condition.)

The Sugarhill Gang (The Sugarhill Gang became the first hip hop group to land a top 40 hit.)
  1. Wonder Mike
  2. Master Gee
  3. Big Hank Hank