Since its explosion onto the music scene, rap music took the industry by storm and became a huge part of the hip hop culture. It continues to be one of the most popular genres of music, crossing over to different cultures and influencing different generations through its lyrical content and beats.
According to the Allmusic website, rap music was born in the mid-1970s in New York’s South Bronx and has showcased huge success since then, bringing forth many rappers who have climbed the musical charts. Public Enemy, Heavy D, MC Lyte, Run DMC, LL Cool Jay, Eminem and Jay-Z are just a few of the old school and new school rap artists who have contributed to the industry since rap’s creation.
Rap music has versatile styles depending on the lyrical content and the geographic location of the artist. The content can range from sex, drugs, race, religion, social issues, partying, crime, love and loss. Rap is often recognizable by the location, which plays a huge part in the beats and rhythm of the music, whether it’s East Coast, West Coast, Midwest or Southern hip hop. There is also Christian rap, gangsta rap and reggaeton (a mixture of reggae and rap).
Rap music is a freedom of expression. Its lyrical content flows like poetry and often tells a story. It gives people a chance to see life through the eyes of someone else.
Rap music is known for its explicit lyrical content and is often seen as derogatory toward women. Parents will find a parental advisory warning label on a majority of the albums. Some may find the lyrics to be shallow and meaningless.
People may only see rap as part of the African American culture; however, white rappers have stepped onto the music scene and impacted the industry over time, thus crossing cultural barriers. These rappers include Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Asher Roth and Eminem.
Not all rap music is negative. For more positive messages, check out rap artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. An increasing number of Christian rap artists, such as Cross Movement, are focused on delivering positive messages. Purchase your rap CDs from Wal-Mart, which only sells the clean, edited versions.