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The History Of Rap Music

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This paper will trace the history of rap music (also known as hip-hop). The origins of this music are found in the experiences of urban African Americans during the 1970s. One of the most unique elements of rap music is its vocal style. In 1979, the record “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang defined this style with its use of “speedy staccato word play and verbal dexterity” (Perkins 11). However, as pointed out by one of rap’s early leaders, Afrika Bambaataa, the true roots of this vocal style are found in the previous developments of African American culture. These developments include not only the traditional musical and storytelling styles brought over from Africa, but also such things as the style of speech used by the civil rights leader Malcolm X. Summing up Bambaataa’s views on the roots of rap, Perkins says: “The rap tradition has been nurtured on the accumulated and residual forms of African and African American music, verbal art, and personal style as well as the constant process of self-innovation within each of these elements” (5). In addition to its unique vocal style, rap music is also characterized by its innovative approach to creating a musical background for the lyrics. This musical style was developed in New York City during the 1970s by various DJ’s (disc jockeys) such as Kool Herc, Kurtis Blow, and Grandmaster Caz. In particular, many people credit the New Yorker Grandmaster Flash with the important innovation of creating a rhythmic beat
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