What is the difference between hip hop and rap?

What is the difference between rap and hip hop?

Many people confuse both concepts. ‘Rap’ refers to the music. Hip Hop refers to the culture.
I have found 3 interesting definitions of the word ‘rap’ in the Urban Dictionnary:

1)’A form of popular music developed especially in African-American urban communities and characterized by spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics with a syncopated, repetitive rhythmic accompaniment.
A composition or performance of such music. ‘
I like this music, it is “rappin`” !

2)musical application of poetry, usually associated with the hardships of life and emotional grievances. Started up as early as the Beats (i.e. Kerouac and Cassidy) began using more experimental forms of poetry, and since has transgressed into modern pop and underground culture.
“If I could show you, you would never leave it.” –Atmosphere, the most beautiful combination of music and poetry

3)The best type of music, where harsh lyrics are combined with tight beats to create the best form of music.
Some Famous Rappers Are Tupac, Bone Thugs-n-harmony, Outlawz, and Eminem that filthy white shit

Although the first corresponds more to an exact definition of rap music, I must admit that I like the second one very much. Why? Because I do think that some rap lyrics ( not only Eminem’s, but many rapper’s lyrics) are music applied to poetry. The third definition is more subjective, but I could hardly disagree with.
Rap music comes from hip hop culture. It is one of the traditional four elements of hip hop: breakdance, graffiti, turntablism and rapping.

A good definition of the word hip hop can also be found in the urban dictionnary:

HIP HOP:

A name for the 4 elements of the late 70’s New York City renaissance which includes break dancing, emceeing, (rapping) graffiti, and turntablism.
Rap is something you do Hip Hop is something you live- KRS One

So we should use the word ‘rap’ only to define the music and ‘hip hop’ to talk about ghetto culture.

The roots of rap music can be found in the New York Bronx. You get some more precision about rap history here:

http://rap.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Frhino.com%2FFeatures%2Fliners%2F72851lin.html

It goes back to the Jamaican tradition in the early 70’s as a form of protest against poverty. Dj Kool Herc, Africa Bambataa and Grandmaster Flash are the pioneers of rap music. KRS One has also been very influentialtial to rap music:

http://www.houseofnubian.com/IBS/SimpleCat/Shelf/ASP/Hierarchy/0100.html

To me a rapper is certainly not a singer and it angers me when people talk about rappers as if they were singers.
Rapping is speaking rythmically words and it cannot be confused with singing.
The culture in which rap music was born is amazing. It requires a lot of artistic qualities.
To me, graffiti is art. Because it comes from the streets, graffiti has often been demeaned by people. Maybe also because the grapher exposes his art in an unconventional way and often on forbidden places. Taggers and graphers are rebels who may shocks so many comfortable conventional people
Most of the graffitis are beautiful and so various in their colors. It is complex work that requires lots of talent.
Not everybody can claim to be an expert breakdancer. Break dance is truly an art.
You will find some info about the birth of breakdancing on this website:

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/breakdancing/
The DJ’s have made an instrument out of the turntable. The scratches helped the DJ’s to refine their sound.

DJ Babu defined turntablism in 1995 this way:

“My definition of a Turntablist is a person who uses the turntables not to play music, but to manipulate sound and create music.”

There are two major elements in turntablism:

-scratching: it is the technique during which the turntablist moves the vinyl recors back and forth against the needle in order to produce various sounds.

-beat juggling: it is the technique that consists of using two different records and arranging the different elements in order to create a new rhythmical composition.

Although many people use rap and hip hop to refer to the music, it doesn’t refer to the same concept. KRS One gave us the right definition for us to make a real distinction between both words:

‘Rap is something you do Hip Hop is something you live’

One thought on “What is the difference between hip hop and rap?”

  1. hey i like what eminem said about, hip hop and rap, i was looking for stuff for my college paper, on difference in rap and hip hop and i was needing some lyrics to show how thye are alike and not alike, hard to do that

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