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23 Badass Photos From The Early Days Of Hip-Hop

A look back at the b-boys, Kangol hats, and ghetto blasters of the '70s and early '80s, presented by Getty Images.

Last updated on August 8, 2017, at 5:22 p.m. ET

Posted on August 8, 2017, at 5:22 p.m. ET

In metropolitan centers like New York City and London, a new style of music and fashion was brewing among youth in the late 1970s and '80s. Inspired by the creative and freestyle attitude of graffiti and breakdancing, these bold expressions laid the cultural foundation for years to come. These pictures capture some of the styles, trends, and iconic moments from the early days of hip-hop.

London youth at a concert in 1986.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

London youth at a concert in 1986.

Run-D.M.C. perform with members of their backup band in New York City on May 1, 1984.
Waring Abbott / Getty Images

Run-D.M.C. perform with members of their backup band in New York City on May 1, 1984.

Left: MC Duke in London in the 1980s. Right: A young woman sports her graffiti tag on the bill of her hat in London, 1986.
Getty Images

Left: MC Duke in London in the 1980s. Right: A young woman sports her graffiti tag on the bill of her hat in London, 1986.

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People smile for the camera at a concert in London, 1986.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

People smile for the camera at a concert in London, 1986.

DJ Afrika Bambaataa performs at The Venue in London, 1982.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

DJ Afrika Bambaataa performs at The Venue in London, 1982.

Breakdancers show off their moves at the Roxy in New York City in September 1981.
Getty Images

Breakdancers show off their moves at the Roxy in New York City in September 1981.

A graffiti artist finishes his tag on a New York City wall in the 1980s.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

A graffiti artist finishes his tag on a New York City wall in the 1980s.

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A pair of graffiti artists show off their hand-painted fashions in New York City on June 28, 1975.
Allan Tannenbaum / Getty Images

A pair of graffiti artists show off their hand-painted fashions in New York City on June 28, 1975.

A DJ performs at a London event in 1986.
Pymca / Getty Images

A DJ performs at a London event in 1986.

Ad-Rock performs with the Beastie Boys in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 1987.
Michael Ochs Archives

Ad-Rock performs with the Beastie Boys in Los Angeles on Feb. 2, 1987.

Dynamic 3 performs at the Fridge in London, 1985.
Pymca / Getty Images

Dynamic 3 performs at the Fridge in London, 1985.

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The crowd at Dingwalls in London is bum-rushed from the door before Ultramagnetic MC's hit the stage in 1989.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

The crowd at Dingwalls in London is bum-rushed from the door before Ultramagnetic MC's hit the stage in 1989.

Members of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five pose for a portrait in New York City, 1983.
Walter Mcbride / Getty Images

Members of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five pose for a portrait in New York City, 1983.

Hip-hop fans in Kangol bucket hats pose for the camera in London, 1986.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

Hip-hop fans in Kangol bucket hats pose for the camera in London, 1986.

A man shows off his elaborately painted boombox outside of a hip-hop club in London, 1986.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

A man shows off his elaborately painted boombox outside of a hip-hop club in London, 1986.

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Breakdancers in track suits show off their b-boy stances at a London event in 1986.
Getty Images

Breakdancers in track suits show off their b-boy stances at a London event in 1986.

A group of London breakdancers pose for a group portrait in 1983.
Universalimagesgroup / Getty Images

A group of London breakdancers pose for a group portrait in 1983.

LL Cool J poses at Farmers Boulevard in Queens, New York, in 1985.
Pymca / Getty Images

LL Cool J poses at Farmers Boulevard in Queens, New York, in 1985.

A pair of graffiti artists tag a wall in New York City, circa 1977.
Des Willie / Redferns

A pair of graffiti artists tag a wall in New York City, circa 1977.

A group of breakdancers called the Eastwood Rockers go through their breakdancing paces in London on July 26, 1984.
Mirrorpix / Getty Images

A group of breakdancers called the Eastwood Rockers go through their breakdancing paces in London on July 26, 1984.

Want more? Check out more pictures from the early days of Hip-Hop at Getty Images.

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