The Differences Between Rap and Hip Hop

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Rap and hip-hop are genres of music that are mainly infused. Some artists make rap and hip without telling the difference. Similarly, some lovers of rap and music rarely tell the differences between the two genres.

Rap vs. Hip Hop

For years, debates have ensued about what exactly the actual difference is between rap and hip-hop music. The arguments have centered on the type of culture that each type of music exhibits. However, other debates have risen in areas such as the components associated with creating the music, music production techniques and the central message each genre cover (Shaw, 2013).

Nevertheless, differences between rap and hip hop are based on three constituents: culture, the message to the society and musical features. Rap employs rhymes and poetry in its musical beats and its message ranges from politics to relationships (Shaw, 2013). On the other hand, the culture of the hip-hop is mainly influenced by the beat-box style of the past. For instance, artists such as Kurtis Blow used tones that encourage the audience to get up and dance to the music. Whereas rap music ‘tell like it is', hip-hop tends to optimistic and hoping for a better tomorrow (Glynn, 2015).

Rap as a genre emerged in the 1970s at block parties in New York. DJs started setting apart the percussion breaks of the soul, disco and funk songs (Codrington). Gradually, it became a common habit for MCs, who later became labeled as rappers, to talk and rhyme over and in sync with music and audience. Initially, the style was taken as a fad but the dismissal was later demystified in 1979 and 1985 with the release of Rapper’s Delight and The Break by The Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow, respectively. The two's breakthrough was based on the economic viability of the rap (Dye, 2017). As a way of keeping the crowd energized and lively, the DJs could talk between the songs, joke and interact with them. During the time, there was an economic depression in New York City, particularly among the neglected black and Latino localities in the Bronx (Dye, 2017). 

The significance of rap and hip-hop music is based on the role that they played in downsizing the number and influences of gangs which roved the cities in the US. After the emergence of rap and hip-hop, a significant number of gang members abandoned physical fights and were engrossed in hip-hop battles. 

DJ Kool Herc and Sugarhill Gang are some of the gifted artists that dominated the industry and assumed to be the fathers of rap. DJ Kool Herc is remembered to date as one of the greatest contributors to the success of the rap which has now been taken over the contemporary popular rappers such as Kanye West, Eminem and Queen Latifah (Misachi, 2017).

Music and the entire art industry are evolving. For instance, in the movie industry, technology and new genres of movies continue to pop in. Similarly, I think that the subject of rap and hip-hop is an important one in the evolution of music industry. Music is defined as vocal, instrumental sounds or both combined in a way to generate in such a way to generate beauty of harmony, form, and expression. On the other hand, rap is a musical form of musical delivery that involves rhyme and rhythmic speech. Based on that definition, I consider rap as music.


Codrington, R. (n.d.). In the beginning: hip hop’s early influences. Retrieved June 19, 2018, from OUP Blog:

Dye, D. (2017, February 22). The Birth of Rap: A Look-Back. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from World Cafe:

Glynn, J. (2015, June 26). Rap vs Hip Hop: What is the difference? Retrieved June 19, 2018, from Hip Hop:

Misachi, J. (2017, April 25). Where Did Rap And Hip Hop Music Come From? Retrieved June 19, 2018, from World Atlas:

Shaw, S. (2013, September 13). The Difference Between Rap & Hip-Hop. Retrieved June 19,   2018, from Ebony:

August 01, 2023
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Hip Hop

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