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History of Rap

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History of Rap

Rap Music, a genre of R&B that includes rhythmic poetry put over a musical background. The background consists of beats combined with digitally isolated sound bites from other recordings. The first recording of rap was made in 1979 and the genre began to take notice in the U.S. in the mid-1980s. Though the name rap is often used back and forth with hip hop. The name hip-hop comes from one of the earliest phrases used in rap on the song "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang. "I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don't stop, a rock it to the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.". In addition to rap music, the hip-hop subculture also formed other methods of expression like break dancing, graffiti art, a unique slang vocabulary, and fashion sense.

Rap started in the mid-1970s in the South Bronx area of New York City. The birth of rap is, in many ways, like the birth of rock and roll. Both originated in the African American community and both were first recorded by small, independent record labels and marketed towards, mostly to a black audience. And in both cases, the new style soon attracted white musicians that began performing it. For rock and roll it was a white American from Mississippi, Elvis Presley. For rap it was a young white group from New York, the Beastie Boys. Their release "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" (1986) was one of the first two rap records to reach the Billboard top-ten. Another early rap song to reach the top ten, "Walk This Way" (1986), was a collaboration of Run-DMC and Aerosmith. Soon after 1986, the use of samples was influenced in the music of both black and white performers, changing past thoughts of what make up a "valid" song.

Rap music was first a cross-cultural product. Most of its important early practitioners, Kool Herc, DJ Hollywood, and Afrika Bambaataa, were either first- or second-generation Americans of Caribbean background. Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood are given credit for introducing the Jamaican style of cutting and mixing into the musical culture of the South Bronx. Herc was the first DJ to buy two copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (instrumental segment) in the middle. By mixing back and forth between the two copies he was able to double, triple, or endlessly extend the break. By doing this, Herc made the turntable a musical instrument.

While he was mixing with two turntables, Herc would also perform with the microphone in Jamaican styleÐ'--joking, boasting, and using all around group references. Herc's parties soon gained notice and were recorded on cassette tapes. Copies of the tapes quickly made their way through the Bronx, Brooklyn, and uptown Manhattan, creating a number of similar DJ acts. Among the new DJs was Afrika Bambaataa, the first Black Muslim in rap. Bambaataa often waged in sound-system battles with Herc. The sound system competitions were held in city parks, where hot-wired street lamps supplied electricity, or at local clubs. Bambaataa would sometimes mix sounds from rock-music and television shows into the standard funk and disco advance that Herc and most of his followers relied on. By the 1990s any sound source was considered useable and rap artists borrowed sounds from such disparate sources as Israeli folk music, bebop jazz records, and television news broadcasts.

In 1976 Grandmaster Flash introduced the technique of quick mixing, in which sound bites as short as one or two seconds are combined for a unique effect. Shortly after Flash introduced quick mixing, his partner Grandmaster Melle Mel composed the first extended stories in rap. Up to this point, most of the words heard over the work of disc jockeys had been improvised phrases and expressions. In 1978 DJ Grand Wizard Theodore introduced scratching of records to produce rhythmic patterns.

In 1979 the first two rap records appeared: "King Tim III" by the Fatback Band, and "Rapper's Delight," by Sugarhill Gang. A series of verses by the three members of Sugarhill Gang, "Rapper's Delight" became a national hit, reaching number 36 on the Billboard magazine popular music charts. The spoken content, mostly bragging spiced with fantasy, came largely from material used by the earlier rappers. The background for "Rapper's Delight" was supplied by studio musicians, who copied the basic groove of the hit song "Good Times" (1979) by a disco group Chic.

Sampling brought into question the ownership of the new sound. Some artists claimed that by sampling recordings of black artist they were challenging white corporate America and the recording industry's right to own black cultural



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