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Old school hip hop is a term used to describe the earliest commercially recorded hip hop music (approximately 1979-1984), and the music in the period preceding it from which it was directly descended. Old school hip hop is said to have ended around 1984 due to changes in both rapping technique and the accompanying music. 

The image, styles and sounds of old school hip hop were exemplified by figures such as Afrika Bambaataa, The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Rock Steady Crew, Spoonie Gee, Newcleus, Treacherous Three, Funky 4 + 1, Kurtis Blow, Busy Bee Starski, Lovebug Starski, The Cold Crush Brothers, and Fab Five Freddy. It is characterised by simpler rapping techniques and the general focus on party-related subject matter. There were, however, exceptions, such as "How We Gonna Make the Black Nation Rise" by Brother D and "Hard Times" by Kurtis Blow, both released in 1980, that explored socially relevant ideas. The release of "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five marked the arrival of hip hop as social commentary, and led to a new era of hip hop music. 

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