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Not really a music genre, (although we've put it into this category), it would be more of a subculture, a subculture which is generally associated with the affluent or middle class young Bohemians who reside in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Hipsters are broadly associated with Indie and Alternative music, as well as a huge range of other styles, they are also associated with having a wide and eclectic taste in music, from various forms of Electronic Dance Music, to Garage Rock, to Reggae, to "Old Skool" Hip Hop and even Jazz.

Hipsters would have a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility (including vintage and thrift store-bought clothes), generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and Alternative Lifestyles.

This subculture typically consists of white millennials living in urban areas. It has been described as a "mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles, tastes and behavior".

The term in its current usage first appeared in the 1990s and became particularly prominent in the 2010s, being derived from the term used to describe earlier movements in the 1940s, and is also believed to be the term that generated the word Hippie.

Members of this subculture typically do not self-identify themselves as hipsters, and the word hipster is often used in a derogatory context to describe someone who is pretentious, overly trendy or effete, as well as overly keen to follow fashions. Some analysts contend that the notion of the contemporary hipster is actually a myth created by marketing.

Some History

The term was first coined during the classic Jazz era, when "hip" emerged as an adjective to describe aficionados of the growing scene. Although the adjective's exact origins are disputed, some say it was a derivative of "hop", a slang term for opium, while others believe it comes from the West African word hipi, meaning "to open one's eyes". Another argument suggests the term derives from the practice of lying on one's hip while smoking opium. The ultimate meaning of "hip", attested as early as 1902, is "aware" or "in the know". Conversely, the antonym unhip connotes those who are unaware of their surroundings, also including those who are opposed to hipness.

Nevertheless, "hip" eventually acquired the common English suffix -ster (as in spinster and gangster), and "hipster" entered the English language. The first dictionary to list the word is the short glossary "For Characters Who Don't Dig Jive Talk", which was included with Harry Gibson's 1944 album, Boogie Woogie In Blue. The entry for "hipsters" defined them as "characters who like hot jazz". It was not a complete glossary of jive, however, as it included only jive expressions that were found in the lyrics to his songs.

The same year, Cab Calloway published The New Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary of Jive, which had no listing for Hipster, and because there was also a 1939 edition of Calloway's Hepster's (an obvious play on "Webster's") Dictionary, it appears that "hepster" pre-dates "hipster".


Initially hipsters were usually middle-class white youths seeking to emulate the lifestyle of the largely African American Jazz musicians they followed. In the classic Jazz Scene era, around the late '50s, author Eric Hobsbawm (originally writing under the pen name Francis Newton) described hipster language—i.e., "jive-talk or hipster-talk"—as "an argot or cant designed to set the group apart from outsiders".

The WWII era

This subculture rapidly expanded, and after World War II, a burgeoning literary scene grew up around it. Jack Kerouac described 1940s hipsters as "rising and roaming America, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere [as] characters of a special spirituality".

Moving on to the 2000s

By 2003, when The Hipster Handbook was published by Williamsburg resident Robert Lanham, the term had come into widespread use in relation to Williamsburg and similar neighborhoods. The Hipster Handbook described hipsters as young people with "mop-top haircuts, swinging retro pocketbooks, talking on cell phones, smoking European cigarettes... strutting in platform shoes with a biography of Che Guevara sticking out of their bags".

Lanham further describes hipsters - "You graduated from a liberal arts school whose football team hasn't won a game since the Reagan administration" and "you have one Republican friend who you always describe as being your 'one Republican friend".

A similar phenomenon occurred in the United Kingdom, with young workers in the media and digital industries moving into traditional working class areas of London such as Hoxton, Spitalfields, and, particularly, Shoreditch. The subculture was parodied in the magazine Shoreditch Twat (1999) and the television sitcom Nathan Barley (2005). The series, about a self-described "self-facilitating media node", led to the term "Nathan Barleys" being used pejoratively to describe the culture it parodied.

A 2009 Time magazine article described hipsters thus: "take your grandmother's sweater and Bob Dylan's Wayfarers, add jean shorts, Converse All-Stars and a can of Pabst and bam — hipster".

Slate writer Brandon Stosuy noted that "Heavy Metal has recently conquered a new frontier, making an unexpected crossover into the realm of hipsterdom". He argues that the "current revival seems to be a natural mutation from the hipster fascination with Post Punk, noise, and no wave", which allowed even the "nerdiest Indie kids to dip their toes into jagged, autistic sounds". He argues that a "byproduct" of this development was an "investigation of a musical culture that many had previously feared or fetishized from afar".

In 2008, Utne Reader magazine writer Jake Mohan described "hipster rap" as "consisting of the most recent crop of MCs and DJs who flout conventional Hip Hop fashions, eschewing baggy clothes and gold chains for tight jeans, big sunglasses, the occasional keffiyeh, and other trappings of the hipster lifestyle". He notes that the "old-school Hip Hop website Unkut, and Jersey City rapper Mazzi" have criticized mainstream Rappers whom they deem to be posers or "fags for copping the metrosexual appearances of hipster fashion".

Prefix Mag writer Ethan Stanislawski argues that there are racial elements to the rise of hipster Rap. He claims that there "have been a slew of angry retorts to the rise of hipster Rap", which he says can be summed up as "white kids want the funky otherness of Hip Hop ... without all the scary black people".

On to the 2010s

Other hipster trends in the 2010s have included knitting, veganism, urban beekeeping, taxidermy, and printing and bookbinding classes. Hipsters are often stereotyped as Marijuana users or having a love for Marijuana in general.

2011 book HipsterMattic

In his 2011 book HipsterMattic, author Matt Granfield summed up hipster culture this way:-

"While mainstream society of the 2000s (decade) had been busying itself with reality television, dance music, and locating the whereabouts of Britney Spears's underpants, an uprising was quietly and conscientiously taking place behind the scenes. Long-forgotten styles of clothing, beer, cigarettes and music were becoming popular again. Retro was cool, the environment was precious and old was the new 'new'. Kids wanted to wear Sylvia Plath's cardigans and Buddy Holly's glasses — they revelled in the irony of making something so nerdy so cool. They wanted to live sustainably and eat organic gluten-free grains. Above all, they wanted to be recognised for being different — to diverge from the mainstream and carve a cultural niche all for themselves. For this new generation, style wasn't something you could buy in a department store, it became something you found in a thrift shop, or, ideally, made yourself. The way to be cool wasn't to look like a television star: it was to look like as though you'd never seen television".
Matt Granfield, HipsterMattic.

Some press quotes

In the early 2000s, both the New York Times and Time Out New York ran profiles of Williamsburg, Brooklyn without using the term hipster. The Times referred to "bohemians" and T.O.N.Y. to "arty East Village types".

Toward the beginning of his poem Howl, Allen Ginsberg mentioned "angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night".

In his essay "The White Negro", Norman Mailer characterised hipsters as American existentialists, living a life surrounded by death—annihilated by atomic war or strangled by social conformity—and electing instead to "divorce [themselves] from society, to exist without roots, to set out on that uncharted journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self".

In a Huffington Post article entitled "Who's a Hipster?", Julia Plevin argues that the "definition of 'hipster' remains opaque to anyone outside this self-proclaiming, highly-selective circle".

In Rob Horning's April 2009 article "The Death of the Hipster" in PopMatters, he states that the hipster might be the "embodiment of postmodernism as a spent force, revealing what happens when pastiche and irony exhaust themselves as aesthetics".

In a New York Times editorial, Mark Greif states that the much-cited difficulty in analyzing the term stems from the fact that any attempt to do so provokes universal anxiety, since it "calls everyone's bluff".