Musicians Guide to Rap and Hip-Hop Music
Hip Hop and Rap, terms that are often used interchangeably, usually center around the urban culture of the inner city. Many say that hip hop borrows from the DJ or MC approach to song-playing, famed for calling out, turntabling, and beatboxing. Hip hop evolved from African-American music, including R&B, Soul, Funk, and even Disco.
In 1979, “Rapper’s Delight” by the SugarHill Gang was considered the first Hip Hop song to be in the charts, and started the ball rolling. Despite the fad of breakdancing in the early eighties, Rap songs were not seriously considered by record companies. Most of the Rap albums of the time were not sold in mainstream record outlets. When Run D.M.C. redid Aerosmith’s famous “Walk This Way”, Rap began to be looked at by record companies as a definite money-maker. Artists such as Ice-T, Tone-Loc, MC Hammer, and even Vanilla Ice began to get more airplay as hip hop slowly began to merge with pop.
Some of the controversy surrounding rap started with what came to be known as Gangsta Rap, which often glamorizes gang members as folk heroes. Worse yet, there was a great feud between East Coast and West Coast rappers that led to violence, and the deaths of prominent rappers Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. In addition to the violent association, many groups have objected to the language and sexually explicit lyrics used by some Rap groups like the 2Live Crew, who faced a lawsuit in the early nineties
Hip hop is now an umbrella term that describes African-American music with a speedy beat that is good for dancing. It is very difficult to define what makes a hip hop song, because will sing, while others rap. Contemporary hip hop groups like the Black Eyed Peas will often do both in their songs, while others will do exclusively one or the other.