Hip Hop

Controversy? The world of rap has plenty, although there is humour as well as hubris. Similarly, social critique may counterbalance the performer’s conceit.

Beginning in the 1970s as an urban American expression centred in New York, Hip Hop & Rap have spread across the US and beyond. Its’ layers of rhyming, often street-themed lyrics chanted over simple instrumental beats makes it easily adaptable to different settings and messages. At some points and in varied settings, the music has gone hand-in-hand with break dancing, graffiti art and even fashion. The musical component of rap is often appropriated by DJs sampling existing discs or employing techniques such as scratching, though the music may also be specifically composed.

Although the modern form was seeded by the work of 70s socio-political artists such as Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets, the word ‘rap’ itself was first recorded in 16th century Britain, meaning ‘to converse’. Still doing that, then.