Rap music has been here for more than four decades and has come a long way from Rapper’s Delight in its original state, to being remixed with Britney Spears. Surviving the worst criticism in its beginning and now dominating the top 100 pop chart with more than 50 percent of musical presence in the USA.
This genre has faced extreme degradation by its critics for three decades and was termed as music full of noise; without any melody and destined to remain unpopular among the masses. With its unique style, youth culture and consistent continuity rap music has found its place in the heart of people not only in America but has also spread out to Europe with strong base in Britain, France and Sweden, and reaching out as far as to Japan and Philippines in Asia.
What does rap actually mean? Rap is often linked to inner-city neighborhoods, radio and television shows specifically popular among the blacks. It is described as to talk in boastful and rapid manner keeping specific rhythm along with beats of sparse music instruments. Rap is performed with the sense of competition for reputation among peers and impressing the audience. rap music originated in the early 1970s in the streets of the South Bronx in New York City by ghetto D Js and has been closely linked with the hip hop youth culture, break-dancing, graffiti art and afrocentric dressing. Rap mostly includes:
- arrogant pretensions
- story telling
- rhythm of comedians and gospel preachers
- percussive creativeness of tap dancers and jazz drummers
- inventing rhymes over music records also know as Jamaican ‘toasting’
- troubadour customs of societal comment
- a practice of trading of ingeniously phrased insults
Thus unique art form has rich history and tradition that spans from the work of Kool DJ Herc to the today’s Eminem. In the late 1970s Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore and Jazzy Jay introduced the use of break-beats in RAP music which were successfully implemented in the hip hop singles by Sugar Hill Gang and Kurtis Blow. Later in the 1980s, the popularity of music videos provided further projection to the RAP musicians and as a result the Run DMC achieved the commercial acceptability by the mainstream audience. The 1990s were the years of the Gangsta Rap with popular singles by NWA and Public Enemy. In the 21st century, rock music blended with hip hop and rap founding its way in to the urban cultures and the youth of the Europe Caribbean, Middle East and Africa.
The genre has a very wide scope and the content of rapping can vary from the rapper’s personal life stories, social problems, important events, fictional and romantic themes and almost anything that can be addressed to audience. This content is spoken in a rhythm which follows the intensity of the music beats. The rap accommodates numerous poetic skills utilizing both the alliteration and simple word rhymes. The instrumental beats adopted in the rap music mostly consist of rhythms and beat from trendy rock, funk and soul songs. The rappers most often synthesize, incorporate and reinvent these trendy beats with their own original twists
This type of music has experienced a tremendous growth in the last decade along with break-dancing and tagging. These days so many of the classics are being remixed with new music, or mashed-up with other pop songs, it is almost a new genre in its own right.
Though rap music is relatively new in contrast to other genres of the music yet it has strong impact on the modern day music world. Rap and hip hop are now very popular with worldwide main stream acceptance. Modern day rappers, Eminem and Kid Rock, have catered the non- African-Americans audience for rap music while Li’l Kim, Salt-n-Pepa and Queen Latifah have captured the female audience.