Evolution of Rap Music Essay Example
Evolution of Rap Music Essay Example

Evolution of Rap Music Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1108 words)
  • Published: September 29, 2021
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Rap is a genre of music that has prevailed over the United States since the 1970s. However, it is believed that rap could be traced back to Africa, to the ‘griots’ who were a village people that told stories while music played in the background.(Baker 45) Rapping’s foundation was set on from this type of storytelling. Rapping was more of talking while the music played in the background. Rap consists of chanting rhyming speech, break dancing and even graffiti writing. Rap music is therefore considered as part of the far wide hip-hop culture. However, the name rap is often used alternately with hip-hop. Rapping rose to its popularity in Bronx Area, New York City when African American youth held their block parties. Evolution of rap music however came about with the availability of sample technology and drum machines. Notably, rapping


became an expression where artists would rhyme to certain instrumental beats (Hesmondhalgh & Caspar Melville 336).

In 1978 DJ Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood turned the scene around when they started spinning short sections of records on turntables(which allowed them to extend the section of the song as long as possible) at the block parties , where they were later named the ‘founding fathers of rap’. The beginning of the rap music trend was marked by the release of the fourteen minute rap “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang which comprised of Englewood, Henry Jackson, Guy O’Brien and Michael Wright; with “Good Times by Chic” playing in the background (Bertalsky). Another record released the same year was “King Tim III” by the Fatback Band, although it was not as popular as Rapper’s Delight. DJ Afrika Bambaataa

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was another sensation in the rap music scene. He would spin records at parties and parks, but what made him different form the other proprietors of spinning was that he brought the element of cultural awareness.

In the mid-1980s rap music was being accepted as the new style by white musicians and hence moved from the hip-hop culture to the larger American music Industry. The Beastie Boys in 1986 made a breakthrough in the rap industry when their rap record “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” reached top ten on the Billboard pop charts. In the same year Run-DMC, who were known for incorporating rock music into their raps and Aerosmith released “Walk This Way” which also made its way to top ten on the Billboard charts. Run-DMC also went on to be featured on MTV as the first rap groups (Ogbar 55). The 1980s were sensational as Salt-N-Pepa, the first female rap group, released their singles “ The Show Stoppa” (1985) and “Push It”(1987)which made it to top 20 on Billboard’s pop charts. Political rap also came into the limelight with groups such as Public Enemy and Boogie down Productions emerging. “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” (1988), was Public Enemy’s second album that made them to be noticed (Kitwana 29).
Alongside political rap came gangsta rap, which stated about the outlaw lifestyle of violence, sex and drugs in the city at large. In 1988, Niggaz with Attitude (NWA) released the first album of gangsta rap, “Straight out Compton”. Gangsta rap was however not easily accepted into the industry as some claimed that it praised the most violent views in

the history of popular music and especially the rivalry between the East coast and West coast.(Kitwana) Other than political rap and gangsta rap, graffiti art was also popularized. Subway trains were covered with names of new DJs, which were spray-painted on them with the graffiti style. To commemorate the new art, an independent museum in New York had a graffiti art exhibit. In 1990s, sampling took a new toll as it became more electric. Rap artists would draw samples from any musical forms including jazz and even live music. “Canataloop (Flip Fantasia)” was a jazz-rap record single by US3, which was a British Group. Jazz-rap then evolved to trip-hop in the United Kingdom.

The political rap however started becoming less prominent as the 1990s advanced while gangsta rap grew in popularity with the help of popular artists such as Geto Boys, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur. Rap at this point had matured from an old-school style to a new-school style that had lyrics that are more complex. The 1990s saw the rise of more popular artists such as Dr. Dre who released a gansta rap hit, “The Chronic”. However, the rivalry also heightened during these years leading to the murder of popular rappers Tupac Shakur (1996) and Notorious B.I.G (1997). These artists asserted that rap was a voice for the people who had no connections to larger public and that rap communicated a positive and fulfilling sense of black history (Baker). In 1999, there was turn around when one of the most popular white rappers emerged from Dr.Dre’s schooling and released “The Slim Shady”. This was just but one of his many popular hits to

be released in years to come (Rhodes &Henry A 89).

Rap music over the years has come to influence both the white and black cultures. Rap has even influenced language and the fashion industry. Many youths have adapted the use of slang words such as “dis”, “dem” and “dey”. Snoop Dogg started the trend of adding “izzle” at the end of every word, which became popular among many youth and even social personalities. Puff Daddy and Russell Simmons invented their own cloth lines to illustrate their influence into the fashion world (Ogbar). Other popular rap artists such as Lil-Wayne have built recording labels that help young talented artists market their music. YMCMB (Young Money Cash Money Billionaires) the record label started by Dwayne Micheal Carter, Jr (Lil Wayne) is among the best record companies in the world that promotes young talented rap artists to sell their records to the large music industry. However, there is no conclusion to evolution of rap music. Rapping is a never-ending discovery of new styles, beats, rhythmic expressions of people’s emotions all over and new talents from youths (Bradley et.al 29).

Works Cited

  • Baker, Soren. The History of Rap & Hip-Hop. Farmington Hills, MI: Lucent Books, 2006. Print.
  • Berlatsky, Noah. Rap Music. Detroit, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Print.
  • Bradley, Adam et al. The Anthology Of Rap. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. Print.
  • Kitwana, Bakari. The Rap On Gangsta Rap. Chicago: Third World Press, 1994. Print.
  • Ogbar, Jeffrey Ogbonna Green. Hip-Hop Revolution. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007. Print.
    Rhodes, Henry A. "The Evolution of Rap Music in the United States."Retrieved on February 20 (1993):
  • Hesmondhalgh, David, and Caspar Melville. "Urban Breakbeat Culture-Repercussions of

Hip-Hop in the
United Kingdom." (2002): 336.

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