Rap music is one of the most admired and popular music genres in the United States. The word “rap” originated in the 16th century. Even though it was initially used to mean strike, rap later became a common slang word in the 1960’s used to mean ? conversing.
The origins of Rap Music dates back in August 11, 1973, in the Bronx at a Halloween party. It was pioneered by DJ Kool Herc when he spoke over break beats played by two separate turntables. He played the same track on one turntable, and once it finished playing, he would switch to the other turntable and repeat playing the same track. This technique is popularly known as looping and is used up to date in record production.
At first, rap existed without an emcee (MC). DJ Kool could only mix back and forth between the tracks playing on the turntables thus allowing him to extend the break indefinitely. Those break beats really amazed the crowd and resulted into the “breakdance”. Within a short period, every DJ in the South Bronx neighborhoods of New York City started playing the occasional breaks and the culture was cradled and nurtured by the youth in the region.
However, during concerts, DJ Kool realized that speaking to the audience was also important when it comes to amusing the crowd. For this reason, Herc began communicating with his audience over the music, a technique he had acquired from DJ conglomerates in Jamaica. DJ Herc could call out the audience who would then respond, and the DJ would proceed to boost the volume back up on the record. This call-and-respond technique was most popular in jazz music.
Later, DJ Kool invited Coke La Rock to emcee his concerts, and this culture gave birth to today’s rap music. Herc’s DJ style was later adopted and grew in popularity. Despite the popularity of rap music, record companies were still reluctant to invest in it. It was considered a mere fad that would slowly fade away with time. It was not until 1979 after rap music reached mainstream recognition when the first rap song was released commercially. Rap music later diversified into more complex styles as more and more artists got interested in the genre.
There are two main historical eras of rap music: old school hip-hop era and golden age hip-hop era. The name “hip hop” is attributed to the legend rapper Keith Cowboy. Old school era began from 1970 to 1985 and the golden age era from 1985 to 1993. Old school music was characterized by MCs going to the mic to freestyle lyrics at events in an attempt to keep the crowd lively. Due to the evolution of rapping techniques, golden age hip-hop took over form 1985. The golden age era is famous for its innovation, diversity, and influence.
Over the years, rap music has faced a lot of criticism from the public who term is as unnecessary noise with no clear message. This is attributed to the rise of gangsta hip-hop in the 1980’s which majored entirely on violent lifestyle.
However, notable developments have taken place since the birth of new school hip hop that has led to its acceptance by both the blacks and whites in the US and also countries outside the United States. Some of the best hip hop artists of all time that will live to be honored for their contribution in the rap music industry include LL Cool J, Dr. Dre and the Sugar Hill Gang. Other prominent artists in the industry today include Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and Eminem among others.