Rapping is one if the most important key element in hip hop music. Although rap and hip hop seem similar, there are three main features that are distinguished between the two – musical attributes, community message, and culture. This music is considered to be an eclectic mix of poetry, beats, and rhyming. The subject in a rap may vary from anything from commercialism to relationships, and cover topics such as sex, violence, crime, socio-political issues, and life on the street. Hip hop is generally looked as a lifestyle and includes soulful singing and beatboxing.
Rap music was derived from hip-hop. According to the rap artist KRS-One, hip-hop is “something one lives or experiences” and rap is “something one does or performs”
Hip-hop was an expression of the anger felt by black Americans. It called for social relevance, originality, and an effort to challenge the artistic culture of mainstream American society. According to scholar Cornell West, it was an effort to cope with the frustrations and conditions of urban life in the ghetto, and a celebration of the black poor working class and underclass. It openly acknowledged and confronted the coldheartedness, criminal cruelty, and hopelessness of the ghetto. Rap developed as an expression of this impoverished experience that black people had.
Africa is where this type of music has its roots. Throughout West Africa, tribes narrated their stories using rhymes and drums. Rap came via the Caribbean Islands. The first major song was 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. It was a commercial success and paved the way for future artists to get record deals. Following the success of the Sugarhill Gang, many new up-and-coming artists began to take stage, including Run-D.M.C.
The biggest myth that was cultivated during the 1970s and 1980s was that only individuals from African American origins could crack. However, artists and bands, including Bob Dylan, Blondie, and Afrika Bambaataa proved this myth to be false. Soon, all white rap group the Beastie Boys were hitting the charts and Run-D.M.C., going in the reverse route, did a rap/rock mash-up with Aerosmith for the song “Walk this Way.”
In the 1990s, there was a definite line drawn between East coast and West coast rappers. East coast rockers, such as Notorious B.I.G and Wu-Tang were seen as being a lot louder and brasher than their West coast counterparts, including Tupac and Snoop Dogg, where the smile was a bit smoother. The 1990s also saw an increase in female rappers, including Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliot.
Rap music still has a strong following. This musical style can be seen in commercials, sporting events and almost anywhere people gather to have a good time. Many rap artist have toned down their style to appeal to a broader audience. In doing so, rap has made it into the mainstream. Many rap artist have even made the cross over into movies a television shows. artist such as Ice Cube and Ice T can be seen quiet often in either a movie or a series. Many rap artist have parlayed their musical talents into the fashion, energy drink and retail industries.