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”

8 thoughts on “What is the difference between hip hop and rap?”

  1. A rap is a beat (like rapping a stick on a hard surface, a drum for instance). Interestingly enough, I believe that impoverished people (those lacking in the arts, specifically) — since they are hungry for music and it isn’t taught to them by their culture — actually recreate music from the ground up… without studying it in school (graduates from the “school of hard knocks” as it were). As such, it seems that rap is at the foundation of music just like drum beats are the rudiments of a song. In this sense, however; rap doesn’t describe a song (or rather, it is an incomplete example) though it might describe a music!

    This is also to say, the rapper must surely have the beat and hear the rhythm of words in order comprehend LANGUAGE (which is also not taught to him in his culture… by the schools, for example).

    So: In addition to RAP (spoken rhythm) there exists lyrical rap (rap poetry, which may be no more or less than grunting — emotions set to a beat). And in such a case, you solidly arrive at the “foundation” of rap … tribal dancing, or animism (to animate matter by imitating it, a rain dance, for instance). In this way, rap becomes the IMITATION of sound.

    Perhaps then you have bitching (women who repeat words without listening to the meaning of them)… or “bum rap” (probably a reference to the repetative sounds of one’s Miranda Rights being read to them when they are being arrested and the feeling of meaninglessness this might inspire).

    Rap has come to mean more than bitching, though (not withstanding the fact that “bitching” seems to adequately sum up what empoverished African Americans [and other repressed cultures, including women and convicts] might do so as to insure their rights). It has come to signify “wrapping up” a matter (putting a beginning and end to it, and tying a bow on top). This is to say: The success of rap (as an art form) suggests that empoverished people everywhere can now look forward to “affirmative action” (defined — the positive effect of bringing cause, via reason, to the public consciousness).

    In this progression, rap becomes another name for communication (spoken word). Our search for the tradition of music can now further be traced to preaching… even Gregorian Chanting and / or the orations of a High Priest (Egyptian, and prior).

    This understanding does suggest that the worship of a High Priest preceded animism* (that the king was worshipped before people started worshipping animals and trees), and further suggests how the failure of a king to secure food for the tribe might have led to his demise. And though this might seem irrelevant to the unfolding of our topic; my assertion that Eminem is the (literal) King of the World is explained thus: Eminem has resurrected the tradition of the High Priest through his recreation of music from the ground up.

    Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.

    *see King of the Woods, Frazer (The Golden Bough)

  2. I AM FROM SANTO DOMINGO AND I READ THE ARTICLE,IF THE HIP HOP IS THE CULTURE
    AND RAP IS THE MUSIC WHY ALL THE RAPPERS FROM USA SAY HIP HOP.
    AND WHY THEY USE BOTH WORD. I DONT UNDERSTEN. THANKES.

  3. It seems to me that you guys are either white people who only know of what you see on TV, or people ignorant rappers. I happen to love Hip-Hop and despise rap. Let me explain why.

    Rap is what you see on TV. It’s what sells. For the most part it’s blacks acting out a stereotype. It’s blacks killing each other, doing dugs, and degrading themselves to make buck. After all, isn’t that what mainstream likes to see? Stereotypes acted out.

    Hip-Hop is art. It’s poetry set to rhythm. Hip-Hop Artists tend to speak on much serious topics than how much money they have and what type of car they drive. Consequently, they don’t get airtime. Talking about politics and social ills aren’t going to get you heard by mainstream. Hip-Hop is more focused on the artistic side.

    I just thought somebody who has actually submersed themselves in the music should clear that up for you.

    Also if you don’t know about something you probably shouldn’t speak on it. I know nothing on chemical engineering so I don’t alk about it. Just a suggestion

  4. FUCK WHO EVER DOESN’T LIKE RAP. RAP IS THE BEST MUSIC THERE IS NOT LIKE THAT LOVY DUBY SHIT I LIKE HEARING THE HARD CORE SHIT NOT HEARING SHIT ABOUT FAGGETS. IF U DON’T KNOW WHAT TYPE OF RAP I BE LISTENING TO. YOUR STUPID LISTEN TO MAC DRE, E40 AND ALL THEM NIGGAS FROM THE BAY AREA, AND YOU’LL KNOW WHAT THE FUCK IM TALKING ABOUT.

  5. Way to be ignorant. People like you: i.e the consumer, ruined the hip hop industry. What happened to the positive social change associated with hip hop? Im not saying all rap is bad. I think there is alot of talent out there but i believe it could be used in a better way.

  6. The difference is one was experienced by Jews and they got the most recognition and reparations for it, and the other was the “middle passage” created by the same people who where holocausted and exploited to make those who finance it all rich. Difference is like the Jewish Hitler thing and the Middle Passage. Who’s getting the credit and all the money these days?

Comments are closed.