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Rap is a genre with a long history, drawing inspiration from different genres like Funk, Soul, Blues and many more. Some of the earliest forms of proto-rap came about in the late 60s and early 70s with artists like Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets putting their poetry over drum-heavy funk tracks. Rap’s “official” origins can be traced back to block parties in the early 70s, where DJs would isolate drum breaks from funk records, making the earliest forms of hip hop beats. These “beats” would make the rounds on the streets in the form of cassettes where people began rhyming over them. This stayed relatively local to the greater New York area until the Sugarhill Gang, a group from New Jersey, reached the commercial market with their 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight.” During this time, many other iconic and influential rap artists like Eric B. & Rakim, Slick Rick and many more would also start their climb to the top.

Rap’s subject matter was relatively lighthearted and focused on fun until 1982. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s track “The Message” introduced the idea of rap being a form of personal expression, hearkening back to the proto-rap of the Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron, the group used their songs to talk about social issues. Following the genesis of this new genre in the boroughs of New York City came a broad diaspora of styles, new evolutions, and ideas. 

New York bore subgenres like Boom Bap and Jazz Rap, while the West Coast pioneered “Gangsta rap” and G-Funk. Later on, the South flipped the origins of hip hop on its head and brought its own “Southern-Style” to the table with things like Trap, Crunk and Chopped/Screwed tracks.

Rap has only been on the scene for about 50 years, but its influence over popular culture and music as a whole has been undeniable. It’s quickly become one of the most diverse genres, and elements of hip-hop production have found themselves in countless other genres. Rap, while diverse can often be defined as fond of 808s and bass while also sample heavy.

Rap Shows

 Are You With That?     The Waxing Hour

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