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Rap Music History

Hip-Hop And Rap:

Hip-hop is a form of popular music that's comprised mainly of emceeing and deejaying. The other two components that complete the four elements of hip-hop are graffiti and break dancing.

As hip-hop evolves into big business, the four elements (emceeing, deejaying, graffiti, and break dancing) are constantly being merged with others like clothing trends, slang, and general mindset.

Rap is a form of music that stemmed from hip-hop culture. Hip hop is a lifestyle with its own lingo, dress code, etc. In the words of KRS-One, "hip-hop is something you live, rap is something you do."


A product of cross-cultural integration, rap is deeply rooted within ancient African culture and oral tradition. Hip-hop is believed to have originated in the Bronx by a Jamaican DJ named Kool Herc. Herc's style of deejaying involved reciting rhymes over instrumentals.

At house parties, Herc would rap with the microphone, using a myriad of in-house references. Duplicates of Herc's house parties soon drifted through Brooklyn, Manhattan. Herc and other block party DJs helped spread the message of hip-hop around town and spawned tons of followers.

Rap music evolved from a tradition of storytelling through song that expresses the flavor of Latino and African American street culture. Rap music was recognized as such in the late 1970s, when New York DJs began to take liberties with the dance music available, using the tools at their disposal to play with the music.

The role of the DJ shifted with this trend, as DJs began to interject more than just song and artist names, but actually began to contribute to the music being played by saying things they thought needed to be heard, using instruments and their own voices to add to the music.

In the 1980s, rap music became the most popular vehicle for African American and Latino poetry set to music, spoken instead of sung, accompanied by beat boxing, break dancing and interpretative dance.

Some of the earliest rap songs ever recorded include "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by Fatback Band and "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. The latter reached the #36 spot on the Billboard charts (a huge feat by 1970's standards), thus demonstrating hip-hop's ability to draw commercial appeal.

While some rap singers still deliver messages full of anger, many more rap singers tell humorous or mild street stories in their music, focusing more on sex and thrills than on hate messages.

Rappers of all ethnic backgrounds can now be found, and even the religious community has capitalized on rap music, using it as a vehicle to deliver their messages to the urban music lovers.

Article about: History of Rap music, history of hip hop music

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