What Is Rap Music?

what is rap music

Rap music, also known as Hip-Hop music is a rhythmic music genre derived from the Hip-Hop culture (rapping, beatboxing, DJing, break dancing and graffiti writing).

Rapping is performed by Emcees/MC’s/Rappers who use their vocals in a melodic rhyme form which is often described as being very similar to poetry. Rappers can go acapella (rapping without a beat/instrumental) or perform on a track in a freestyle or written form.

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As a whole, rap music has grown to be immensely popular, especially to those who live in poor areas or/and people who are going through personal struggles. This is because many rap artists come from poor areas themselves and have also gone through the same strugglers experienced by the listener, so naturally they can relate to their music.

Styles Of Rap Music

Rap music is one of the most popular music genres in the world and since its birth in the 1970’s in Bronx, New York, it has broken off into various subgenres and has even fused with other music genres. Its heavily influenced by Funk, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Soul and Disco music.

Entire books can be written (and has been written) about rapping and the history of hip-hop. I won’t get into that as they can be better explained by other authors.

My main focus in this article is on the different styles of modern rap music. Generally, rap beats are between 75-110 BPM (beats per minute), although there is no rule and it can range widely depending on one’s personal preference.

Styles of rap music can be broken down into cities and countries, but the prominence of rap styles is often attributed to the East Coast and West Coast of the United States.

Some of the most popular modern rap styles include:

  • East Coast: This is where Hip-Hop began. The East Coast on a general basis is more lyrically advanced compared to their contemporaries. Sounds and style vary largely but it tends to lean towards darker, more aggressive and heavily sampled beats. On the contrary, a lot of Each Coast Hip-Hop is soulful and has a ‘feel food’ party like vibe, probably due to their early history.
  • West Coast: It must be the sun and lifestyle of the West Coast (particularly) California that has influenced the style of their laid back rap music. The West Coast is also responsible for the G-Funk (combination of funk and an artificially altered tempo) subgenre of rap and the creation of Gangsta Rap, which often features hard-hitting beats combined with equally hard-hitting lyrics.
  • Southern Rap: The “Dirty South” is the third major subgenre of rap music and has influenced the other two major coasts (East/West). In the early 90’s, Southern Hip-Hop was upbeat and fast, but DJ Screw changed the game by slowing down beats which gave them a mellow and heavy sound, known as “screwed and chopped”. Crunk music also derived from the South and features a heavy bassline, shouting vocals and a bouncy vibe.
  • Midwest: It’s quite difficult to define what a typical Midwest style is, but one characteristic that can be said in a general sense about Midwest rap is that it’s usually focused around dark beats and lyrics. The Midwest also popularized very fast-paced rapping with rappers and rap groups such as Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony, Tech N9ne and Twista.

Much of rap music today is difficult to categorize because a lot of it has fused with pop culture and other genres of music. Though if you dwell deeper into the underground scene, you’ll find a lot of subgenres of hip-hop music still intact and even new movements being created.

You may want to familiarize yourself with distinct sounds such as G-Funk, Crunk and heavily sampled beats to have an understanding of their characteristics. But I’ve always told people it doesn’t matter about the style of music you produce, if it sounds good, people will listen and artists will want to jump on your beats.

If you want to learn how to make rap beats, I recommend that you to check out The Ultimate Guide On How To Make Rap Beats.

If you want to start making beats or become successful at it, then you're going to need some great music production equipment to enhance your skills. Take a look at the following:

  • Top 10 Best Studio Headphones
  • Top 10 Best MIDI Keyboards
  • Top 10 Best Studio Speakers
  • Steps to Take to Effectively Sell Music Online Course

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