Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kanye West are all popular rap artists who have a huge fan following. The kind of music that they have made popular first gained a major fan following in the 1970s. Rap music is defined as music that is a mix of the spoken word, traditional singing, and poetry that is accompanied by some form of a rhythm. It has often been seen that the rap music uses songs of other genres to enhance the rhythm of their own music. Rap music has often come under major criticism because of the kind of subject matter that is dealt with and also the kind of language that is used, but there are fans who call it an innovative way of bringing to attention oft ignored social on political problems. Rap music is set apart from most other forms of music due to its many individualistic features. In this article, we will tell you what the different characteristics are.
Characteristics of Rap Music
It was the popularity of electronic dance music and hip hop that made rap music extremely popular. With most dance clubs hiring DJs and emcees, the origin of the club based rap music also became more fast paced with rappers and DJs starting to work together to create innovative and unique rap numbers.
- Trace the history of rap music and you will observe the huge influence that the traditional music of Africa and the Caribbean countries has had on rap music. There is also quite an influence of the poetry of Beat poets of the 1960s.
- If you listen to rap music, you will on careful observation notice how in the background of spoken song lyrics, there is a music that is made up of drum beats and music from electronic instruments. This music is generally pre-recorded. It is essential that a rapper keep up with the beats of the music played in the background.
- It is the DJ at the scene that has the responsibility of choosing a track that is complementary of the lyrics of the rapper's song. In fact in certain live rapping concerts, DJs often contribute to the song by shouting out live slogans as the singer is singing.
- Rhythm is synonymous with rap music and there is a constant beat that rap songs have. It is this beat that accounts for the popularity of rap music in clubs. The rhythm structure of rap music is such that there is a strong bass which is dominant over every other form of instrument played in the background.
- While the rhythm and beat of rap music is essential to its basic structure, the strength of rap music lies in its lyrics. Rap songs often can use the same pre-recorded background music but the difference in the lyrics of the song makes them stand apart from each other. It is the lyrics of the songs that makes rap music truly unique.
- Rap lyrics, if studied, can often be categorized as rap lyrics that boast, insult, are for a party scene, or are completely nonsensical. The lyrics while important to the song are often complemented by the rhythm in which they are spoken or sung. This rhythm is known as the flow of the rapper and is a distinguishing trademark.
- Over the years, rap music has evolved and this has led to the birth of several different types of rap music genres. These genres are often dependent on the area where they originate from. Rap from the Midwest can be categorized by rapid speaking. There is also categorization that is done depending on how the lyrics are spoken. For example, crunk is a kind of rap in which the lyrics are often shouted out.
While writing a rap song, most rappers tend to take all these characteristics into consideration. While new styles are developed depending on the artist's style, the basic characteristics of rap music remain more or less the same with the lyrics and the background rhythm retaining their importance.