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What is a Rap Song and Who Invented it? Complete Guide to Rap History

  • Royal Stag Fan

  • 20 Feb 2024

Rap music revolutionised the music scene when it emerged from New York City streets in the 1970s. Pioneered by young African Americans, rap's rhythmic vocal rhymes and slick beats have evolved into a globally celebrated genre. This groundbreaking art form continues to shift musical paradigms over 40 years later.

What is a Rap Song?

A rap song typically features rhyming lyrics that are chanted rhythmically over a musical soundtrack.Rap songs also frequently incorporate sampling and lyrical references to pop culture. The backing tracks draw heavily from electronic drums, bass, and keyboard melodies.

What is the Meaning of Rap?

In its early days, rap music was a form of expression and commentary for inner-city African American youth. Rap gave a voice to the struggles in the streets, acting as a form of social protest against issues like police brutality, poverty, and institutional racism. Rap is about rhythmic, spoken word vocals delivered over a beat. It can be seen as a blend of speech, poetry, and music.

Rap music didn't necessarily evolve into one specific genre, but rather became a hugely influential force in popular culture.

Who Invented Rap Music?

Most credit DJ Kool Herc, an immigrant from Jamaica arriving in New York in 1967, as the father of hip-hop and rap. He pioneered many of the DJ techniques, like mixing and scratching that became integral parts of rap music. In the 1970s, he hosted block parties in the Bronx incorporating his unique style. His parties spread in popularity, and his techniques inspired many early rappers and DJs.

The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" was the first commercially successful rap song in 1979. This track was hugely popular and brought hip-hop into mainstream consciousness. It demonstrated that the emerging genre had serious commercial potential to reach all audiences. Other early popular rappers included Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, and Furious Five.

Key Elements of Rap Music

Some of the signature elements of rap music include syncopated rhythmic vocal delivery, lyrical rhymes and wordplay, sampling, and a musical backdrop of electronic drums, bass, and keyboards. Rap subgenres have branched out incorporating additional sounds like synthesisers, live bands, and strings. But most rap retains these core elements in some form.

Rap music gained popularity through artists like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., and Public Enemy in the 1980s. These artists brought rap from the streets of New York to mainstream audiences, each contributing to the genre's evolution with their unique styles and messages.

Origin of Rap in India

Rap made its way to India in the early 1990s, initially as a mimicry of Western artists. However, it soon developed its unique identity, blending local languages, traditional beats, and Indian cultural elements, thus creating a vibrant and distinct rap scene.

Who Made Rap Popular in India?

Bohemia is widely regarded as a pioneer of rap music in India, introducing Punjabi rap in the early 2000s. Artists like Yo Yo Honey Singh, Badshah, and Raftaar further popularised the genre, incorporating rap into Bollywood tracks and creating a massive following.

Popular Indian Rappers and Upcoming Concert in India

Some of India's top rappers and singers are set to perform at the Royal Stag Boombox music festival across four cities in March 2024. These concerts will bring together icons of the Indian rap scene for fans to enjoy hit songs live. Popular singers Armaan Malik, Nikhita Gandhi, and rapper Dino James will rock the stage at The Velvet Garden in Indore on 2nd March. Joining them will be musician Ali Merchant. Rapper Badshah will headline JECC in Jaipur on 16th March, along with singer Neeti Mohan of "Jiya Re" fame. Also performing are Dino James and Ali Merchant.

The Mills Sangamvadi in Pune will host a star-studded show on 23rd March. Young singing sensation Armaan Malik returns with Nikhita Gandhi. Joining them are rapper Dee MC known for her unique Indian classical fusion rap style, and Ali Merchant. These artists will showcase the best of contemporary Indian pop, rap, and fusion music. At last Royal Stag Boombox will bring an epic Melody X Hip-Hop artist lineup to Bhubaneswar on 30th March where you can groove to Badshah's swag, Neeti's melodies, Ikka's beats, and Ali Merchant's vibe!

Frequently Asked Questions

A hook in a rap song is a catchy phrase or chorus that captures the audience's attention. The hook is usually repeated multiple times throughout the song and contains the main message or theme that the rapper wants to convey.