Monday, February 26, 2007

Rap Music

Rap music originated in the United States during the mid 1970s and became integrated into modern pop culture in the 1980s. Rap came from an oppressed African American youth as a form of cultural expression in New York City. Rap music is influenced by funk, blues, and soul genres of music. This form of music consists of two main components: rapping and DJing (production and scratching). Most lyrics are rhymes that use poetic techniques like assonance, and alliteration within the words. Usually the rapper is accompanied by an instrumental track, called a beat, which is created by a DJ. The golden age of hip hop was from 1985 to 1993, which combined the sounds of the East Coast, where artists were more complex, witty, versatile, and emphasized lyricism and West Coast styles. The years after produced the form of rap known as gangsta rap. In the early 1990s gangsta rap became a major part of American music, causing significant controversy over lyrics which promoted violence, promiscuity, drug use and misogyny. By that time hip hop and rap music had already become a staple of popular music charts and has contributed to styles across the world. Some form of rap now exists in the areas of Europe, Asia, The Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Today in the United States many gangsta rappers pursue the bling-bling lifestyle, which celebrates the idea of materialistic wealth and status like money, jewelry, cars, and clothing. Insiders in this rap subculture find distinctive belonging through their fashion, language, and media sources. We will explore those in the next post.

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