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Rap and hip hop are two of the most popular types of music in the hip hop subculture. These two genres have had tremendous impact on mass media and western culture. First developed in New York City in the 1970s, the hip hop subculture grew first among the African American and Latino American community. Over time, the music and culture gained widespread acceptance and by the late 1990s could be found in all popular media and entertainment worldwide.
There are three main differences between rap and hip-hop: musical features, culture and community message. These features are critical to separating these two very similar types of music from other popular music. The impact of rap and hip hop on modern culture has exceeded all expectations and continues to influence everything from commercials to politics.
The musical features of rap and hip hop are quite different. Rap is a combination of rhyming and poetry to a musical beat. The subject of the rap can range from local events to relationships. In the early 1970s and 1980s, rappers provided social commentary on issues that were not receiving regular media attention. In later years, popular rap became more focused on consumer commercialism and relationship issues.
Hip hop music includes rhythm and blues and beat boxing. Rhythm and blues or R&B music is a combination of soul and pop music. Singers combine their lyrics to fast-paced music that is often used as the background to complex dance routines. This type of music lead the cross over into popular music with soulful singing and lyrics focused on common relationship issues.
The culture of rap music is focused on poetry and quality of lyrics. Rap music has a strong background in improvisational poetry. The artists or rappers are expected to create poetry that discusses the main issues of the community, politics, or media events. The artists in this area of music are predominately men, while hip hop music is a mixture of men and woman. Rap groups are also fairly rare, with most rappers being solo artists.
The difference between rap and hip hop from a community message angle is the role of the music in the popular media. Rap is a tool used to express current events and to tell the stories of people within the local community. Hip hop music is used to express hope for the future and to remember the successes of the past.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fundamental difference between rap and hip hop?
Rap is a musical technique that involves rhythmically speaking lyrics in a dynamic and rhyming manner, often over a beat. It is one of the elements of hip hop culture. Hip hop, on the other hand, is a broader cultural movement that encompasses not only rap music but also other elements such as DJing, breakdancing, graffiti art, and knowledge. Essentially, rap is an ingredient of hip hop, which is the larger cultural pie.
Can a song be hip hop without rap?
Yes, a song can be considered hip hop without featuring rap. Hip hop music is characterized by its rhythmic beats and sometimes incorporates elements like DJing and turntablism, which may not necessarily include rap vocals. Instrumental tracks produced by hip hop producers or songs that focus on the melodic and rhythmic aspects of hip hop without vocal rapping are still part of the genre.
How has the public perception of rap and hip hop changed over time?
Since its inception in the 1970s, the public perception of rap and hip hop has evolved significantly. Initially viewed as a form of street art and expression for marginalized communities, it has since gained mainstream acceptance and commercial success. According to Nielsen Music, hip hop/R&B became the most dominant genre in the U.S. in 2017, surpassing rock music in terms of overall consumption. This shift reflects the genres' influence on popular culture and their widespread appeal across diverse audiences.
What role do social and political themes play in rap and hip hop?
Social and political themes have been integral to rap and hip hop since their origins. Artists often use the platform to address issues such as poverty, racism, police brutality, and inequality. The narrative and storytelling nature of rap, in particular, provides a powerful means to convey messages and critique society. This has led to the genres being recognized as voices for social change and consciousness within the music industry and beyond.
Are there different subgenres within rap and hip hop?
Yes, there are numerous subgenres within rap and hip hop, each with its own distinct characteristics and cultural influences. These include East Coast and West Coast hip hop, which differ in style and sound; gangsta rap, known for its gritty narratives; conscious rap, which focuses on social issues; trap, which originated in the South and features distinct hi-hat patterns; and many others. The diversity within these subgenres showcases the versatility and creative depth of rap and hip hop music.