Although rap and hip hop seem similar, there are three main features that are distinguished between the two – musical attributes, community message, and culture. Rap is considered to be an eclectic mix of poetry, beats, and rhyming. The subject in a rap may vary from anything from commercialism to relationships, and cover topics such as sex, violence, crime, socio-political issues, and life on the street. Hip hop is generally looked as a lifestyle and includes soulful singing and beatboxing.
Africa is where rap music has its roots. Throughout West Africa, tribes narrated their stories using rhymes and drums. Rap music came via the Caribbean Islands. The first major rap song was 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang. It was a commercial success and paved the way for future rap artists to get record deals. Following the success of the Sugarhill Gang, many new up-and-coming rap artists began to take stage, including Run-D.M.C.
The myth of Rap
The biggest myth that was cultivated during the 1970s and 1980s was that only individuals from African American origins could rap. However, artists and bands, including Bob Dylan, Blondie, and Afrika Bambaataa proved this myth to be false. Soon, all white rap group the Beastie Boys were hitting the charts and Run-D.M.C., going in the reverse route, did a rap/rock mash-up with Aerosmith for the song “Walk this Way.” In the 1990s, there was a definite line drawn between East coast and West coast rappers. East coast rappers, such as Notorious B.I.G and the Wu-Tang Clan were seen as being a lot louder and brasher than their West coast counterparts, including Tupac and Snoop Dogg, where the smile was a bit smoother. The 1990s also saw an increase in female rappers, including Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliot.