Facts About Rap Music

By Carl Harper

The musical genre of rap has been in existence since the 1970s, but has evolved into one of the world's most likable styles of music. Some rap artists have turned their poetic lyrics into careers and often live a millionaire lifestyle. Beginning on the East Coast, the genre disseminated to the West Coast and developed another type of genre called gangsta rap.

Basics

Rap music is poetry accompanied by groovy beats and attractive tones from the bass guitar and keyboards/synthesizers. Often referred to as "hip-hop," rap music originated during the 1970s in New York City among black and Hispanic performers.

History

The genre may have begun on the East Coast (in New York City's Bronx borough, specifically) in the 1970s, but the roots of gangsta rap (a subset of rap music) originated on the West Coast in the 1990s. Gangsta rap began when well-known rapper Ice Cube and his former group N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) used rap music to attack each other lyrically. As other rap groups fed off of the genre and started battling with other artists through their lyrics, the genre "gangsta rap" began growing.

Artists Associated with Gangsta Rap

This movement of gangsta rap spread, with West Coast artists lyrically attacking East Coast artists, and vice versa. The rap groups that were heavily involved with gangsta rap were Tupac (2Pac) Shakur from the West Coast and Biggie Smalls from the East Coast. 2Pac and Biggie were shot and killed in 1996 and 1997, respectively, and some say the East Coast-West Coast rivalry was responsible. Other, less-violent battles have included Dr. Dre vs. Easy-E and Jay-Z vs. 50 Cent. These artists and other new artists began representing their hometowns rather than their coast. Some examples are: 50 Cent and Eminem represented Detroit while Kanye West, Twista and R. Kelly represented Chicago.

Facts about Famous Rappers

Snoop Dogg's mother gave him his nickname because his eyes reminded her of the cartoon dog Snoopy from Charlie Brown. The first rapper to popularize tattoos in the rap community was 2Pac. Prior to Biggie Smalls becoming famous, he and 2Pac were close friends. 2Pac would allow Biggie to rap with him on stage to help him get his career started.

Lyrical meaning

The lyrically-inclined rappers are the ones who are likable and succeed in the business. The genre itself can become boring if the lyrics are not cutting it because rap music can generally sound the same and use the same beats. Some people have expressed hatred toward the genre because they believe in the stereotype that only blacks can produce rap music and that it always expresses how they want to shoot cops and live for money, drugs and sex. However, rap artists will argue that their music has a deeper meaning to it and is used to express their thoughts on their culture.