RAPPING (or RHYMING, SPITTING, EMCEEING, MCING, ) is a musical
form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and
street vernacular", which is performed or chanted in a variety of
ways, usually over a backbeat or musical accompaniment. The
components of rap include "content" (what is being said), "flow"
(rhythm , rhyme ), and "delivery" (cadence, tone). Rap differs from
spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an
instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary
ingredient of hip-hop music , but the origins of the phenomenon
predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to modern rap is the
West African griot tradition, in which "oral historians", or
"praise-singers", would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies,
or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to "praise
or critique individuals."
Griot traditions connect to rap along a
lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian
Rap is usually delivered over a beat , typically provided by a DJ , turntablist , Beatboxer , or performed A capella without accompaniment. Stylistically, rap occupies a gray area between speech, prose, poetry, and singing . The word, which predates the musical form, originally meant "to lightly strike", and is now used to describe quick speech or repartee. The word had been used in British English since the 16th century. It was part of the African American dialect of English in the 1960s meaning "to converse", and very soon after that in its present usage as a term denoting the musical style. Today, the term rap is so closely associated with hip-hop music that many writers use the terms interchangeably.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Etymology and usage * 1.2 Roots * 1.3 Proto-rap * 1.4 Old-school hip hop * 1.5 Golden age
* 2 Flow
* 3 Performance
* 3.1 Emcees
* 4 Subject matter
* 4.1 Literary technique * 4.2 Diction and dialect
* 5 Freestyle and battle
* 6 Social impact
* 6.1 Derivatives and influence * 6.2 Mental health
* 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References * 10 Further reading
ETYMOLOGY AND USAGE
Look up RAPPING in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
The English verb rap has various meanings, such as "to strike, especially with a quick, smart, or light blow", as well "to utter sharply or vigorously: to rap out a command". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives a date of 1541 for the first recorded use of the word with the meaning "to utter (esp. an oath) sharply, vigorously, or suddenly". Wentworth and Flexner 's Dictionary of American Slang gives the meaning "to speak to, recognize, or acknowledge acquaintance with someone", dated 1932, and a later meaning of "to converse, esp. in an open and frank manner". It is these meanings from which the musical form of rapping derives, and this definition may be from a shortening of repartee . A rapper refers to a performer who "raps". By the late 1960s, when Hubert G. Brown changed his name to H. Rap Brown , rap was a slang term referring to an oration or speech, such as was common among the "hip" crowd in the protest movements, but it did not come to be associated with a musical style for another decade.
Rap was used to describe talking on records as early as 1971, on Isaac Hayes ' album Black Moses with track names such as "Ike's Rap", "Ike's Rap II", "Ike's Rap III", and so on. Hayes' "husky-voiced sexy spoken 'raps' became key components in his signature sound". Del the Funky Homosapien similarly states that rap was used to refer to talking in a stylistic manner in the early 1970s: "I was born in '72... back then what rapping meant, basically, was you trying to convey something—you're trying to convince somebody. That's what rapping is, it's in the way you talk."
The roots of rapping Deep Down in My Heart A spiritual performed by W. M. Givens in Darien, Georgia in 1926. ------------------------- Dollar Mamie A Southern work song performed by Judge "Bootmouth" Tucker and Alexander "Neighborhood" Williams in 1939. -------------------------
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The Memphis Jug Band , an early blues group, whose lyrical content and rhythmic singing predated rapping.
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Rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before
hip-hop music existed, the griots of
Precursors also exist in non-African/African-American traditions,
especially in vaudeville and musical theater. One such tradition is
the patter song exemplified by
Gilbert and Sullivan
In classical music, semi-spoken music was popular stylized by
With the decline of disco in the early 1980's rap became a new form of expression. Rap arose from musical experimentation with rhyming, rhythmic speech. Rap was a departure from disco. Sherley Anne Williams refers to the development of rap as "anti-Disco" in style and means of reproduction. The early productions of Rap after Disco sought a more simplified manner of producing the tracks they were to sing over. Williams explains how Rap composers and DJ's opposed the heavily orchestrated and ritzy multi-tracks of Disco for "break beats" which were created from compiling different records from numerous genres and did not require the equipment from professional recording studios . Professional studios were not necessary therefore opening the production of rap to the youth who as Williams explains felt "locked out" because of the capital needed to produce Disco records.
More directly related to the African-American community were items like schoolyard chants and taunts, clapping games , jump-rope rhymes , some with unwritten folk histories going back hundreds of years across many nationalities. Sometimes these items contain racially offensive lyrics. A related area that is not strictly folklore is rhythmical cheering and cheerleading for military and sports.
Art forms such as spoken word jazz poetry and comedy records had an
influence on the first rappers.
Coke La Rock , often credited as
hip-hop's first MC cites the
Last Poets among his influences, as well
as comedians such as The Wild Man Steve and
During the mid-20th century, the musical culture of the Caribbean was constantly influenced by the concurrent changes in American music . As early as 1956, deejays were toasting (an African tradition of "rapped out" tales of heroism) over dubbed Jamaican beats. It was called "rap", expanding the word's earlier meaning in the African-American community—"to discuss or debate informally."
The early rapping of hip-hop developed out of DJ and Master of
Ceremonies ' announcements made over the microphone at parties, and
later into more complex raps.
One of the first rappers at the beginning of the hip hop period, at
the end of the 1970s, was also hip hop's first DJ ,
DJ Kool Herc .
Herc, a Jamaican immigrant, started delivering simple raps at his
parties, which some claim were inspired by the Jamaican tradition of
toasting . However, Kool Herc himself denies this link (in the 1984
book Hip Hop), saying, "Jamaican toasting? Naw, naw. No connection
there. I couldn't play reggae in the Bronx. People wouldn't accept it.
The inspiration for rap is
However, in terms of what we identify in the 2010s as "rap" the source came from Manhattan. Pete DJ Jones said the first person he heard rap in "Hip Hop style" was DJ Hollywood a Harlem (not Bronx) native who was the house DJ at the Apollo theater. Kurtis Blow also says the first person he heard rhyme in Hip Hop style was DJ Hollywood. Hollywood stated that he like the way Frankie Crocker would ride a track, but he wasn't syncopated to the track though. I liked Hank Spann too, but he wasn't on the one. Guys back then weren't concerned with being musical. I wanted to flow with the record." And in 1975, he ushered in what became known as the Hip Hop style by rhyming syncopated to the beat of an existing record uninterruptedly for nearly a minute. He adapted the lyrics of Isaac Hayes "Good Love 6-9969" and rhymed it to the breakdown part of "Love is the Message". His partner Kevin Smith, better known as Lovebug Starski, took this new style and introduced it to the Bronx Hip Hop set that until then was composed of DJing and B-boying, with traditional "shout out" style rapping.
The style that Hollywood created and his partner introduced to the
Hip Hop set quickly became the standard. What actually did Hollywood
do? He created "flow." Before then all MCs rhymed based on radio DJs.
This usually consisted of short patters that were disconnect
thematically; they were separate unto themselves. But by Hollywood
using song lyrics, he had an inherent flow and theme to his rhyme.
This was the game changer. By the end of the 1970s, artists such as
Kurtis Blow and
The Sugarhill Gang were just starting to receive radio
airplay and make an impact far outside of New York City, on a national
scale. "Stranger in a Strange Land" on the 1971 album Leon Russell and
the Shelter People and Blondie 's inclusion of a rap section in their
1981 single, "Rapture ", were some of the first songs with rap to top
Billboard Hot 100
OLD-SCHOOL HIP HOP
Main article: Old-school hip hop
Old school rap (1979–84) was "easily identified by its relatively
simple raps" according to
AllMusic , "the emphasis was not on lyrical
technique, but simply on good times", one notable exception being
Golden age hip hop
Golden age hip hop
Rapping Planet Rock
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"Flow" is defined as "the rhythms and rhymes" of a hip-hop song's lyrics and how they interact – the book How to Rap breaks flow down into rhyme, rhyme schemes , and rhythm (also known as cadence ). 'Flow' is also sometimes used to refer to elements of the delivery (pitch , timbre , volume ) as well, though often a distinction is made between the flow and the delivery.
Staying on the beat is central to rap's flow – many MCs note the
importance of staying on-beat in
How to Rap including
Sean Price ,
Zion I ,
Vinnie Paz ,
Fredro Starr , Del The Funky
Tech N9ne ,
People Under The Stairs ,
MCs stay on beat by stressing syllables in time to the four beats of
the musical backdrop. Poetry scholar
Derek Attridge describes how
this works in his book Poetic
The same technique is also noted in the book How to Rap, where diagrams are used to show how the lyrics line up with the beat – "stressing a syllable on each of the four beats gives the lyrics the same underlying rhythmic pulse as the music and keeps them in rhythm... other syllables in the song may still be stressed, but the ones that fall in time with the four beats of a bar are the only ones that need to be emphasized in order to keep the lyrics in time with the music".
In rap terminology, 16-BARS is the amount of time that rappers are generally given to perform a guest verse on another artist's song; one bar is typically equal to four beats of music.
HISTORY OF FLOW
Old school flows were relatively basic and used only few syllables
per bar, simple rhythmic patterns, and basic rhyming techniques and
Artists and critics often credit Rakim with creating the overall shift from the more simplistic old school flows to more complex flows near the beginning of hip hop's new school – Kool Moe Dee says, "any emcee that came after 1986 had to study Rakim just to know what to be able to do. Rakim, in 1986, gave us flow and that was the rhyme style from 1986 to 1994. from that point on, anybody emceeing was forced to focus on their flow". Kool Moe Dee explains that before Rakim, the term 'flow' wasn't widely used – " Rakim is basically the inventor of flow. We were not even using the word flow until Rakim came along. It was called rhyming, it was called cadence, but it wasn't called flow. Rakim created flow!" He adds that while Rakim upgraded and popularized the focus on flow, "he didn't invent the word".
Kool Moe Dee states that Biggie introduced a newer flow which "dominated from 1994 to 2002", and also says that Method Man was "one of the emcees from the early to mid-'90s that ushered in the era of flow... Rakim invented it, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, and Kool G Rap expanded it, but Biggie and Method Man made flow the single most important aspect of an emcee's game". He also cites Craig Mack as an artist who contributed to developing flow in the '90s.
Music scholar Adam Krims says, "the flow of MCs is one of the
profoundest changes that separates out new-sounding from
older-sounding music... it is widely recognized and remarked that
rhythmic styles of many commercially successful MCs since roughly the
beginning of the 1990s have progressively become faster and more
'complex'". He cites "members of the
Wu-Tang Clan ,
There are many different styles of flow, with different terminology used by different people – stic.man of Dead Prez uses the following terms –
* "The Chant", which he says is used by
Alternatively, music scholar Adam Krims uses the following terms –
* "sung rhythmic style", used by
Too Short , Grandmaster Flash and
The Furious Five , and the
MCs use many different rhyming techniques, including complex rhyme
schemes, as Adam Krims points out – "the complexity... involves
multiple rhymes in the same rhyme complex (i.e. section with
consistently rhyming words), internal rhymes , offbeat rhymes".
There is also widespread use of multisyllabic rhymes , by artists such
as Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim,
Big L ,
It has been noted that rap's use of rhyme is some of the most advanced in all forms of poetry – music scholar Adam Bradley notes, "rap rhymes so much and with such variety that it is now the largest and richest contemporary archive of rhymed words. It has done more than any other art form in recent history to expand rhyme's formal range and expressive possibilities".
In the book How to Rap,
Masta Ace explains how
Rakim and Big Daddy
Kane caused a shift in the way MCs rhymed: "Up until Rakim, everybody
who you heard rhyme, the last word in the sentence was the rhyming ,
the connection word. Then
Rakim showed us that you could put rhymes
within a rhyme... now here comes
Big Daddy Kane
Many of the rhythmic techniques used in rapping come from percussive techniques and many rappers compare themselves to percussionists . How to Rap 2 identifies all the rhythmic techniques used in rapping such as triplets , flams , 16th notes , 32nd notes , syncopation , extensive use of rests , and rhythmic techniques unique to rapping such as West Coast "lazy tails", coined by Shock G . Rapping has also been done in various time signatures , such as 3/4 time .
Since the 2000s, rapping has evolved into a style of rap that spills
over the boundaries of the beat, closely resembling spoken English.
RAP NOTATION AND FLOW DIAGRAMS
The standard form of rap notation is the flow diagram, where rappers line-up their lyrics underneath "beat numbers". Different rappers have slightly different forms of flow diagram that they use: Del the Funky Homosapien says, "I'm just writing out the rhythm of the flow, basically. Even if it's just slashes to represent the beats, that's enough to give me a visual path.", Vinnie Paz states, "I've created my own sort of writing technique, like little marks and asterisks to show like a pause or emphasis on words in certain places.", and Aesop Rock says, "I have a system of maybe 10 little symbols that I use on paper that tell me to do something when I'm recording."
Because rap revolves around a strong 4/4 beat, with certain syllables said in time to the beat, all the notational systems have a similar structure: they all have the same 4 beat numbers at the top of the diagram, so that syllables can be written in-line with the beat numbers. This allows devices such as rests, "lazy tails", flams, and other rhythmic techniques to be shown, as well as illustrating where different rhyming words fall in relation to the music.
To successfully deliver a rap, a rapper must also develop vocal presence, enunciation , and breath control . Vocal presence is the distinctiveness of a rapper's voice on record. Enunciation is essential to a flowing rap; some rappers choose also to exaggerate it for comic and artistic effect. Breath control, taking in air without interrupting one's delivery, is an important skill for a rapper to master, and a must for any MC. An MC with poor breath control cannot deliver difficult verses without making unintentional pauses.
Raps are sometimes delivered with melody. West Coast rapper Egyptian
Lover was the first notable MC to deliver "sing-raps". Popular
rappers such as
The ability to rap quickly and clearly is sometimes regarded as an important sign of skill. In certain hip-hop subgenres such as chopped and screwed , slow-paced rapping is often considered optimal. The current record for fastest rapper is held by Spanish rapper Domingo Edjang Moreno, known by his alias Chojin, who rapped 921 syllables in one minute on December 23, 2008.
In the late 1970s, the term Emcee, MC or M.C. became an alternative title for a rapper, and for their role within hip-hop music and culture. An MC uses rhyming verses, pre-written or ad lib ('freestyled '), to introduce the DJ with whom they work, to keep the crowd entertained or to glorify themselves. As hip hop progressed, the title MC acquired backronyms such as 'mike chanter' 'microphone controller', 'microphone checker', 'music commentator', and one who 'moves the crowd'. A recent neologistic acronym, gaining use, is 'mentor to child'. Some use this word interchangeably with the term rapper, while for others the term denotes a superior level of skill and connection to the wider culture.
MC can often be used as a term of distinction; referring to an artist
with good performance skills. As
Kool G Rap
For some rappers, there was a distinction to the term, such as for MC
Hammer who acquired the nickname "MC" for being a "Master of
Ceremonies" which he used when he began performing at various clubs
while on the road with the Oakland A\'s and eventually in the military
United States Navy
Uncertainty over the acronym 's expansion may be considered evidence for its ubiquity: the full term "Master of Ceremonies" is very rarely used in the hip-hop scene. This confusion prompted the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest to include this statement in the liner notes to their 1993 album Midnight Marauders :
The use of the term MC when referring to a rhyming wordsmith
originates from the dance halls of Jamaica. At each event, there would
be a master of ceremonies who would introduce the different musical
acts and would say a toast in style of a rhyme, directed at the
audience and to the performers. He would also make announcements such
as the schedule of other events or advertisements from local sponsors.
The term MC continued to be used by the children of women who moved to
New York City to work as maids in the 1970s. These MCs eventually
created a new style of music called hip-hop based on the rhyming they
used to do in
"Party rhymes", meant to pump up the crowd at a party, were nearly
the exclusive focus of old school hip hop, and they remain a staple of
hip-hop music to this day. In addition to party raps, rappers also
tend to make references to love and sex. Love raps were first
Spoonie Gee of the
Treacherous Three , and later, in
the golden age of hip hop, Big Daddy Kane,
Heavy D , and LL Cool J
would continue this tradition.
Other rappers take a less critical approach to urbanity, sometimes
even embracing such aspects as crime.
Schoolly D was the first notable
MC to rap about crime. Early on
KRS-One was accused of celebrating
crime and a hedonistic lifestyle, but after the death of his DJ, Scott
La Rock ,
KRS-One went on to speak out against violence in hip hop and
has spent the majority of his career condemning violence and writing
on issues of race and class.
Ice-T was one of the first rappers to
call himself a "playa" and discuss guns on record, but his theme tune
to the 1988 film
Colors contained warnings against joining gangs.
Gangsta rap , made popular largely because of
Materialism has also been a popular topic in hip-hop since at least
the early 1990s, with rappers boasting about their own wealth and
possessions, and name-dropping specific brands: liquor brands Cristal
Rémy Martin , car manufacturers
Various politicians, journalists, and religious leaders have accused rappers of fostering a culture of violence and hedonism among hip-hop listeners through their lyrics. However, there are also rappers whose messages may not be in conflict with these views, for example Christian hip hop . Others have praised the "political critique, innuendo and sarcasm" of hip-hop music.
In contrast to the more hedonistic approach of gangsta rappers, some
rappers have a spiritual or religious focus. Christian rap is
currently the most commercially successful form of religious rap. With
Christian rappers like
Lecrae , Thi\'sl and
Hostyle Gospel winning
national awards and making regular appearances on television,
Christian hip hop seem to have found its way in the hip-hop family.
Rappers use the literary techniques of double entendres , alliteration , and other forms of wordplay that are also found in classical poetry. Similes and metaphors are used extensively in rap lyrics; rappers such as Fabolous and Lloyd Banks have written entire songs in which every line contains similes, whereas MCs like Rakim, GZA , and Jay-Z are known for the metaphorical content of their raps. Rappers such as Lupe Fiasco are known for the complexity of their songs that contain metaphors within extended metaphors.
DICTION AND DIALECT
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Many hip-hop listeners believe that a rapper's lyrics are enhanced by
a complex vocabulary.
Kool Moe Dee claims that he appealed to older
audiences by using a complex vocabulary in his raps. Rap is famous,
however, for having its own vocabulary—from international hip-hop
slang to regional slang. Some artists, like the Wu-Tang Clan, develop
an entire lexicon among their clique. African-American Vernacular
English has always had a significant effect on hip-hop slang and vice
versa. Certain regions have introduced their unique regional slang to
hip-hop culture, such as the Bay Area (
Mac Dre ,
E-40 ), Houston
FREESTYLE AND BATTLE
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There are two kinds of freestyle rap : one is scripted (recitation), but having no particular overriding subject matter, the second typically referred to as "freestyling" or "spitting", is the improvisation of rapped lyrics. When freestyling, some rappers inadvertently reuse old lines, or even "cheat" by preparing segments or entire verses in advance. Therefore, freestyles with proven spontaneity are valued above generic, always usable lines. Rappers will often reference places or objects in their immediate setting, or specific (usually demeaning) characteristics of opponents, to prove their authenticity and originality.
Battle rapping , which can be freestyled, is the competition between
two or more rappers in front of an audience. The tradition of
insulting one's friends or acquaintances in rhyme goes back to the
dozens , and was portrayed famously by
The strongest battle rappers will generally perform their rap fully freestyled. This is the most effective form in a battle as the rapper can comment on the other person, whether it be what they look like, or how they talk, or what they wear. It also allows the rapper to reverse a line used to "diss" him or her if they are the second rapper to battle. This is known as a "flip". Jin The Emcee was considered "World Champion" battle rapper in the mid-2000s.
DERIVATIVES AND INFLUENCE
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Throughout hip hop's history, new musical styles and genres have developed that contain rapping. Entire genres, such as rap rock and its derivatives rapcore and rap metal (rock /metal /punk with rapped vocals), or hip house have resulted from the fusion of rap and other styles. Many popular music genres with a focus on percussion have contained rapping at some point; be it disco ( DJ Hollywood ), jazz ( Gang Starr ), new wave (Blondie ), funk ( Fatback Band ), contemporary Rborder:solid #aaa 1px">
* ^ Duneier, Kasinitz, Murphy (2014). The Urban Ethnography Reader.
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* ^ A B C Edwards 2009 , p. xii.
* ^ Edwards 2009 , p. 81.
* ^ A B Lynette Keyes, Cheryl (2004). Rap Music and Street
Conciousness. University of Illinois Press. p. 1.
* ^ Edwards 2009 , p. x.
* ^ Golus, Carrie (2012). From Def Jam to Super Rich. Twenty First
Century Books. p. 22. ISBN 0761381570 .
* ^ A B C Charry, Eric (2012). Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in
a Globalizing World. Indiana University Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN
* ^ A B C N., Kopano, Baruti (2002-12-22). "Rap Music as an
Extension of the Black Rhetorical Tradition: "Keepin\' It Real"". The
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* ^ A B Hoffmann, Frank (2007).
* ^ Soren Baker.
* ^ "Guinness World Records". Retrieved August 27, 2010.
* ^ "The Emcee
Master of Ceremonies
* ^ J. Rizzle (August 12, 2009). "DJ Premier Salutes
* Edwards, Paul;
Kool G Rap
Wikimedia Commons has media related to RAP .
* Alan Light; et al. (October 1999). The Vibe History of Hip Hop. Three Rivers Press. p. 432. ISBN 0-609-80503-7 . * Jeff Chang ; D.J. Kool Herc (December 2005). Can\'t Stop Won\'t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation . Picador. p. 560. ISBN 0-312-42579-1 . * Sacha Jenkins; et al. (December 1999). Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists. St. Martin's Griffin. p. 352. ISBN 0-312-24298-0 .
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