Nadel Paris

Feb 12

Rap music has basically originated from the African-American culture of praise singing of the griots and hence it does not connect to the American roots. This music style, having an illustrious history, was popularized late in U.S. and hence it still poses to be a minority artist creation. It is majorly considered to be a fad left to fade away but factually, it is a musical art form prevalent in United States since 1970s.

 

It is basically intertwined with the hip hop culture which also includes break dancing, appearance, graffiti and the attitude of people who subscribed to the mores and traditions of this subculture. The present state of this genre is a result of the influence Jamaican music had on this music and major American artists and their styles and the technology which played a major role in its evolution in the United States.

 

The origin of this genre was Bronx in NYC which was full of poor people accompanied by crime, drug addiction, and unemployment which gave a surge to street gang activity. The first ever street gang was called Black Spades of which, the well-known hip hop legend Afrika Bambaata was also a part.

 

The early eighties brought a culture of music and dance in clubs with a major spread of graffiti. Graffiti connected people like Keith Haring and Fred Brathwaite, better known as ‘Fab Five Freddy’. Graffiti and rap music originated from the same cultural conditions and some prominent graffiti writers went on to record and play an influential role in the development of the rap industry, for example FUTURA and PHASE 2 and Fab Five Freddy.

 

Break dance was also an integral part of hip hop which affected rap music. The dressing style of loose pants by blacks was emulating a style that had originated in prison. The point here is, though this industry was proportionally influenced by the blacks, its primary audience was white and lived in the suburbs. Rap music can withstand the influence of other (ethnic/social) groups and still remain popular and flourish.

 

As this music evolved and became popular, even women rappers came to the front; it maybe because there are more women buying records who would like to relate to women artists and there are more guys who want to hear a woman’s point of view. Female rappers besides offering a different attitude have shown that rap can be far more significant and flexible than its critics have admitted.

 

Sometimes, this music serves only as dance music and the people cannot understand what the artist was saying. This goes on to show that, it is the beat and the rhythm that is more important and the rapper’s role is to match the intensity of the music rhythmically. This also explains why some records whose lyrics are racist or so violent in nature can be so popular.

 

Also, there are many other influences like gospel music is one musical area in which they are beginning to produce their own rappers. This music cannot influence other types until rap music itself is not influenced by other styles.

 

In U.S., even though this genre is a billion dollar business, both black and white local radio stations are still reluctant to play it for fear of loosing advertisers. They fail to understand that now this music style has reached such a level where record companies cater almost exclusively to rap music.

 

Rap music in America is indeed a minority which deserves more credit and recognition. There is still more evolution to achieve for this music style in U.S.

 

Nadel Paris is an EDM artist and a music producer. Nadel writes about music and its genres, other related topics and shares her experience she has over the years. Her new album “Ooh La La La La” is now available for purchase on iTunes. It features remixes by your favorite EDM DJ’s like Ray Rhodes, Pascal, Starbright, Cyphonix, Drew G and DJ M. Chicago. Two of the beats “Oh La La La” and “Funk it Up” feature rapper extraordinaire KXNG Crooked I.

Also read here: The Balance Between Beat Making, Creativity & Copyright Law

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