photo credit: "Banksy Hip Hop Rat" by Tim Fuller
The terms "rap" and "hip-hop" are often used synonymously. Hip hop, however, is a multi-faceted culture that includes rap music as well as DJs, dance, parties, fashion, and graffiti among other elements.
Hip hop began, as many popular music genres do, as "the dominant rebel yell of youth culture in New York City" (Cepeda xvi). Today there are many sub-genres and distinct styles resulting from geography (
Old-School rap artists/MCs/DJs such as Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, and Coke La Rock created a foundation for hip hop, coalescing with the emergence of Run-D.M.C. The success and innovations of Run-D.M.C in the '80s changed the aesthetics of rap music and hip-hop culture. A definitive history of hip hop is impossible as each author/artists/record label has a different interpretation. No one, however, argues that the Sugarhill Gang’s single “Rapper’s Delight” was rap’s first emergence into the mainstream market. “Rapper’s Delight” was released in October 1979 and made it to Billboard’s Top 40, at number 36.
The '80s were rap’s golden age; record labels were commercializing street sounds and marketing it to the public. Aside from
Hip hop's hold on culture continues to unfold after almost forty years. This research guide divides rap and hip hop materials into styles, artists, record labels, histories/criticisms, and the actual music. Click on the tabs, and pull down menus to find a variety of information. Enjoy!