A Brief Lesson on Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture

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Rap music is most definitely a part of the overall hip hop culture, which began on the east coast in the 70's and 80's, and as is the case with most genres of music in American history it began with the lower to middle income citizens. In the case this movement largely amongst the African Americans and Latin Americans in the larger cities like New York and Miami. These people are also heavily involved in the evolution of tagging and break dancing, two other main focuses of this culture.

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The music was, and still is, an outlet for the underground community as it gives them a place to express their economic, social, and political views, as well as vent on the realities of their lives. Hip Hop music has its roots at least as far back as the late 70's. One of the first major east coast albums in this genre was "Rhythm Talk", recorded and released by he artist Jocko Henderson in 79. Philadelphia was also dubbed the "Graffiti Capital of the World" by the writers of an esteemed publication known as New York Times. The year that happened was 1971.

Rap music is strongly influenced by hip hop, this is a fact. You can almost say that they are the same genre of music. Rap is all about your delivery, beat selection, and ability to create memorable lyrics. There is usually very little melody, with more of a focus on your rhyme patterns and cadence. Typically rap is written by younger artists targeting the current generation of youth. The goal for most rap artists is to hit it big with the highschool crowd as they have the most disposable income to spend on shows and merchandise. The easiest way to put it is that hip hop is a culture, with it's music consisting of a particular vocal and instrumental style which can be called rapping. It can be performed with a professionally produced beat, accapella, or with a beatboxer.

Hip Hop music is the more thought intensive side of the musical genre, typically performed with a live DJ. Great examples of these artists in today's game are J Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Atmosphere. The beats tend to be more laid back, and the subject matter of the song usually much more focused. A great artist can spark a movement within the younger generation in a way that can be utterly amazing if you stop and think about it. It has evolved well beyond the point of no return, and will probably continue to be produced for years to come if the current trends are anything to judge by.

This culture emerged alongside beat boxing, tagging, and breakdancing. These activities are all a part of the hip hop culture. This is a part of the reason that team backpack has its name, as at one time any hardcore member of the culture could be spotted with a backpack that contained a couple cans of spraypaint, a few mixtapes, and other random gear that he or she may need to complete the day. Due to its range of influence in the last 30 years it tends to attract a lot of progressive and experimental artists with a real passion for their craft. Many of these people are highly competitive, which is one of the main reason 'battle rapping' and other forms of competition have emerged.

This made the best poets have to work harder, the freshest producers have to keep up to date with production, the tag artists creating more extravagant murals without getting caught, beatboxers having to be unique and deliver more complex arrangements, etc.

The music itself is an ideal platform for personal expression, and in the case of an independent artist, you retain complete creative control. Hip Hop culture isn't just about rap music though, its all of the things I have touched on in this article. I fully believe that there are a lot of rappers, but there are an incredible number of hip hop artists.

This includes the B-Boys, Taggers, Beatboxers, Emcees, Producers, anybody that contributes to the culture as a whole. There are even some graphic designers that could be considered part of the culture as their exclusive focus is the production of album covers, flyers, posters, and other hip hop related media.

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