Rap music features rhythmic music in a 4/4 time beat (like rock music), accompanied by rhythmic rhyming or verse chanting speech known as 'rapping' (a.k.a. 'MCing', or 'emceeing'). The style was developed for and by the 'hip hop' culture that features four elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing and graffiti writing. The style may or may not include sampling (or synthesis), and beat-boxing. The term 'hip hop' more accurately is used to define these practices of the entire subculture, as rapping is not a required element for traditional hop hop music; hip hop music predates the introduction of rapping into hip hop culture, and rap vocals are absent from many hip hop tracks.
The musical style evolved in New York City by African-American youth, specifically the Bronx, during the 1970s. These 'block parties' usually employed a DJ to play funk and soul music. But soon, the DJs began to evolve their roster by isolating the percussive breaks of various popular songs; a technique imported to NYC by immigrants from the Caribbean (specifically Jamaica). These 'Turntablist techniques' (scratching, beat mixing and/or matching and beat juggling), created a base that could be 'rapped' over. Hip hop became distinct from R&B, however, when sampling technology and drum machines became affordable to average citizens. Hip hop became a 'voice' for disenfranchised youth of low-income areas.
The Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, DJ Kool Herc, Coke La Rock and Melle Mel were early pioneers in developing the style.
Solo artists were rare in the original style and did not come to be of size or note until later with the rise of artists with with stage presence and drama, such as LL Cool J. Previously, most early hip hop was dominated by groups where collaboration between the members was integral to the show.
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