Hardcore punk (often abbreviated to hardcore) is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."
Steven Blush states that the Vancouver-based band D.O.A.'s 1981 album, Hardcore '81 "...was where the genre got its name." This album also helped to make people aware of the term "hardcore". Konstantin Butz states that while the origin of the expression "hardcore" "...cannot be ascribed to a specific place or time", the term is "...usually associated with the further evolution of California's L.A. Punk Rock scene", which included young skateboarders. A September 1981 article by Tim Sommer shows the author applying the term to the "15 or so" punk bands gigging around the city at that time, which he considered a belated development relative to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Hardcore historian Steven Blush said that the term "hardcore" is also a reference to the sense of being "fed up" with the existing punk and new wave music. Blush also states that the term refers to "an extreme: the absolute most Punk."
Kelefa Sanneh states that the term "hardcore" referred to an attitude of "turning inwards" towards the scene and "ignoring broader society", all with the goal of achieving a sense of "shared purpose" and being part of a community. Sanneh cites Agnostic Front's band member selection approach as an example of hardcore's emphasis on "scene citizenship"; prospective members of the band were chosen based on being part of the local hardcore scene and being regularly in the moshing pit at shows, rather than based on a musical audition.