History of Rap – The True Origins of Rap Music

Rap music is undeniably one of the most popular music genres to date but how well do you know the history of rap? Join me as I take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the origins of what we know today as Hip-Hop.dj kool herc

What does rapping mean?

Rap is actually a very old word. You can find the term popping up as early as the 15th and 16th century in Britain. Initially the word rap meant to strike or to hit.  A few centuries later a slight variation of this definition appeared which meant to speak or talk. In America around the 1960’s it began to pop up in the black community and was used as a slang word to mean that someone was talking or having a conversation.

The roots of rapping

Thousands of years ago in Africa “griots”, where village story tellers who played basic handmade instruments while they told stories of their family and local current events. This style of talking while music is playing is rap music as we know it at its root form. The griot is still a major form of communication in Africa still to this day.

slavesThis griot tradition carried over when Africans were captured against their will, transported to America & forced into slavery. One way they would cope with the tremendous amount of pain & heartbreak of slavery would be to sing. While they were working in the fields they would often sing using “call to answer”. One leader would call out a certain part of a song and the rest of the slaves would answer with the next line. In modern times performing artists call this emceeing or crowd participation.

History is about to be made

On August 11, 1973 in the Bronx, New York history was about to be made. DJ Kool Herc (now known as the first DJ & founding father of hip hop) & his sister Cindy began hosting back to school parties in the recreation room of their building. It was these gatherings that would spark the beginning of a new culture we know today as Hip-Hop. One night during history of rapDJ Kool Herc’s set he tried something new he called “merry go round”. He used two turntables playing the same break beat section of the James Brown record “clap your hands”. When one turntable would finish playing the section he would switch to the other turntable and play the same section. This allowed him to extend that section of the song as long as he wanted. This technique is now referenced to as looping and is used by record producers in almost every beat.

From emcee to rapper

how-did-rap-start
Left – (Coke La Rock) Right – (DJ Kool Herc)

As DJ Kool Herc continued to do more parties he realized that speaking on the mic was just as important to keeping a party live as DJing was. In order to keep up with the demands of the crowd he reached out to his good friend Coke La Rock to be the first dedicated MC of these parties. During one of these parties Coke La Rock spit his very first bar, ” There’s not a man that can’t be thrown, not a horse that can’t be rode, a bull that can’t be stopped, there’s not a disco that I Coke La Rock can’t rock”. This one bar made Coke La Rock the very first rapper in Hip-Hop and birthed a new genre of music we know today as Rap music.

 The first mainstream rap song emerges

Within the next few years DJ’s & Rappers was popping up at every block party to showcase their talent but record companies considered rap music a fad & was not compelled to invest into it. Rap music finally  reached mainstream recognition in 1979. The first rap song to get commercially released was “King Tim III (Personality Jock)” by the Fatback Band. However this song was pushed to the b-side of the tape but after getting a huge response from the clubs it was later released on the a-side and became a top 30 hit on r&b charts.

In the winter of that same year a rap group emerged called Sugar Hill Gang suger-hill-gang-rappers-delightcomprised of Englewood, New Jersey natives Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. They released a rap song  titled “Rappers Delight“. This song was over 14 minutes long and used the “Good Times by Chic” sample in the background. Rappers Delight went on to achieve the top 40 billboard spot in 1980.

The rest is history

And the rest is history. What record companies thought was just a fad rapidly grew into the most popular music genre of this decade. Rap music’s beginnings were humble and focused on bringing families together and uplifting each other’s spirits in times of heartache and pain. Since its inception much has changed and evolved but the essence of its heart and soul remains. What are your feelings on the current state of Hip-Hop? Please leave your comments below.

Comments

        • Nia says

          Because the African Americans manifested their slave ancestors chants and rhythmic use of words that rhymed.
          It’s the way of slave language. And not many outside of the race could completely do what the African to African American ancestors did.
          There isn’t a problem with people other than black people it’s the fact that once someone outside of the African American race starts rapping he or she is automatically held higher than the MC’s and kings of rap.
          For example Eminem he’s got his keep in rap and he’s really good. But, now he is called the God of rap and he’s the best in rap. Which is highly untrue.
          All the original beat mashers and busta’s are swept to the side for a white man.
          It happened with Macklemore and also yello wolf.
          That’s why the African American community is very defensive about who they deem true rappers and who aren’t.

          • says

            Hey Nia, thanks for reading my article and commenting as well. I understand where you are coming from but what about Jay Z and LiL Wayne? Both have sold and earned more than Eminem. Also Eminem is signed underneath Dr.Dre who is the highest paid rapper of them all. – Cole Mize

          • la barbi says

            Hey, just curious what about White Iverson, that guy he’s kind of in the middle of black and white, right?

  1. brooklyn says

    Yes thank you for that, I thought I knew my history, that informed me even more :) Hip Hop was born as a release from gang culture, violence and drugs so rappers rapping who condone drugs such as ASAP Rocky and French Montana bring shame on the genre, both ironically from New York, plus they are awful rappers. What happened to the importance of being good, this is a city which gave birth to Biggie, Nas and Jay Z who drove each other on to be better. Today they compete over who makes the most, who has the biggest chains, the biggest watch.

    • says

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad that you enjoyed it! And I agree totally with what you said about the change in a lot of mainstream hip hops subject matter. It really is a shame to see an art form who’s beginning was very positive and socially aware to becoming all about vanity and ignorance on the mainstream level. However technology has enabled us to make and release music independently so there is more music being released now than ever before but the more positive and conscience music usually doesn’t get mainstream exposure. My attitude towards it all is just to focus on being the change that I wish to see and try and do my part to not only make this genre a better place but my world as well. Thanks again for reading and providing your feedback on everything. I hope this finds you well :)

    • Maddy says

      Ha that’s funny how you’re pretty much saying rap and hip hop are the same thing and how rappers like Asap and French Montana bring shame on the genre. You are correct about how “Hip Hop” was born as a release from gang culture, violence and drugs but Rap wasn’t born like that. Brooklyn your just mixing the two genres together that are not the same. Also Asap and French are both amazing rap artists and bring no shame on the rap genre and are both very successful. Also beside the subject I think Hopsin doesn’t get enough credit for rapping because he’s also a very talented rapper. Also Great article by the way!

      • says

        Thanks for chiming in Maddy! I agree about Hopsin as well! Not only as being a talented rapper but producer, mixing engineer and entrepreneur. He’s truly an inspiration and a highly talented individual. Thanks for reading my article and I appreciate your positive feedback on it as well. :)

        • Rosie4 says

          Rap began in Jamaica from 1960s. Fact. Thus DJ Kool (Jamaican born). Jamaicans have this culture for so many years and has evolved.

          • says

            Thanks for the heads up Rosie. I’m looking forward to digging more into the early Jamaica rap seen. Is there any 60’s Jamaican rap songs that you’ve found on the internet? I’d love to check them out. :) – Cole Mize

    • says

      Hey Tammy! That’s awesome! I’m glad that this article was a good resource to aid you in your discussion :) Was their any interesting points that were collectively made about the change in music?

  2. isiah says

    Hey Cole,

    I might not be a good writer but i’m only in 8th grade. I’m doing a inquiry at school and I did it on rap and how rap came to be. This was very useful and i’m using your site to make a bibliography and i’m writing about your site and presenting it thank you a lot! very useful information!

    • says

      Hey Isiah,

      That’s awesome! I’m honored that you are using my website as a resource to write your bibliography at school! I’m wishing you the best with your project and I hope you have a lot of fun in the process. If you have any questions let me know.

  3. says

    At 55, white, and female, I’m not the typical audience of rap music, and to be honest, I’ve not listened carefully to much of it. But recently I was able to sit and really give a couple of songs a good listen and I was delighted at the discovery of stories! (I will admit I’m a little leery of listening to most rappers, as the snippets I’ve heard tell less of a story and more of braggadocio). But the stories! I love those.

    Thank you for this article that reinforced what I heard many years ago when someone said rap was a form of communication and sharing. Now I get it, and I like it. I’m going to listen (carefully) to more and see what else I can discover.

    • says

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! And don’t feel bad I completely understand where you are coming from. Rap has a very negative connotation and rightfully so. Much of the rap you will hear on mainstream radio and television is negative, vain and heartless but it’s only a very small portion of the collective body of rap music that exists. I’m a rapper myself and I tend to make very positive, encouraging, and thought provoking songs. If you would like you can check out my artist page on this website at http://colemizestudios.com/cole-mize I could also give you some recommendations on raps songs I think you would really appreciate. Just let me know if your interested in that. Thanks again for showing support on this article. Much love! – Cole Mize

  4. marcos says

    Hey, thank so much! This really helped me. I was doing a project on how rap first started and I got a lot of facts and I thank you.

    • says

      Hey Marcos, thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad this article was a helpful resource for your project! Wishing you the best! Sincerely, Cole Mize

  5. Ali Ausajja says

    Well. From where I belong people don’t even know the H of Hip Hop so rap is still very far far away to be recognized, but for me back in school close to 1999 rap is a different thing and matched with my mood. That time I had only a radio of my grand father that helped me a lot to explore this genre. I was listening to rap music on radio by extending the length of radio’s aerier by adding a silicon wire to get height as much as i can to catch signals……….. Boring huh!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing this, today I came to know the history of rap so that I can explain to my other homies to bend there taste towards this genre.

    • says

      Hey Ali, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading this article! And I thank that’s pretty cool how you extended the wire in the radio to get a better signal. lol You gotta make the most of what you’ve got :) Thanks for taking the time to drop a comment and letting me know you stopped by. Take care and stay awesome! – Cole Mize

  6. Busybee says

    Very inaccurate! Completely wrong information. Telling a story over a beat still happens in many areas over the world…But that does not mean that it’s rap music. Be careful what you mean when you say rap music. Rap music originated in America …and full credit to the black Americans. All instrumental music involves a beat and singing talking etc over the beat. But that does not mean that all music is rap music. All modern music (involving instruments) can be traced back to a beat and poetry.So why do u pick out rap music as the only music that originates from the ancient beat and story telling.

    • says

      Hey Busybee,

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my article. I admire your passion for music and can hear your enthusiasm in your comment. You’re exactly right! Telling stories over a beat still happens all over the world! Rap music definitely originated in America by black Americans no doubt about it. I think you may have misunderstood my angle in my post because I agree with everything your saying and my article supports it as well. I was simply sharing some of the root forms of some of the techniques found in rap such as using call backs in live performances in correlation with slaves copping with the difficulties of life. I never said all music is rap music nor that rap music is the only music that originates from ancient beat and story telling i’m simply highlighting rap and expounded on it’s roots that’s all. Thanks again for reading and commenting I sincerely appreciate it! Take care! :)

  7. Nick says

    Great article.! I’m a rapper myself as well. I was actually in the middle of writting a rap on how rap has changed into something it was never intended to be. All these new rappers today have the same style if you consider mumbling to where no one can understand you and shouting random words a style. I personally believe that rap was intended to inspire and bring light to the darkness. Not cause the darkness. I also believe it was intended to get others through hardships by the writer becoming vulnerable with himself and his fans and writing about the struggles of life others wouldn’t dare too talk about. There are so many great rappers out there that don’t get noticed due to the fact that there music is more uplifting and positive then these mainstream rappers. It seems the only way to get noticed these days is to exploit women rap about drugs, money, guns, and cars. Which is honestly the easiest stuff to rap about. Anyways I just felt like a hypocrite for sitting here writting a song about how rap has diagressed over the years and I didn’t even know it’s true roots. Thanks for the information and good luck with your rapping if you intend on persuing it as a carrier.

    • says

      Hey Nick,

      I’m glad that you came across my article and enjoyed it as well! I love your perspective on rap as well! The beautiful thing now is that the internet has leveled the playing field for everyone and now independent artists such as ourselves can compete with the majors. The major goal of what I’m doing with my website is to help equip the next generation of rappers to perfect their craft and grow their tribe. There is hope and we live in great opportune times! :) You may find these articles helpful as well how to get a record deal without selling your soul and why most rappers never make it

      Thanks for your best wishes and I am wishing you the same as well! Keep up the great work Nick!

  8. Scott says

    I remember being in Jamaica in the early eighties and hearing,rap before I heard it in the United States. It was essentially a very political kind of rap with an anti-government theme. Anybody remember that?

    • says

      Hey Scott, thanks for reading and commenting. Tho I was just being born in the 80’s, while doing my research on the history of rap I inevitably found myself studying the first rappers to hit the scene. Like you said it was more about speaking out on behalf of their community instead of making music about tearing it down with drugs, violence and crime. I feel like the purest form of rap is found in independent artists who don’t have to sensor their music for corporations.

  9. Peaches says

    As a 63 year old Black female who just saw the movie, “Out of Compton” I appreciate your article and thoughts about rap music. I frowned on rap music in the past because of the language and because I could not decipher the words being said, but I now have a new interest and appreciation for this form of expression. I know that the movie probably takes many liberties with the facts, but it has opened the door to me realizing that there were real people behind the lyrics. Thank you for the recommendations of tracks to check out

    • says

      Hey Peaches, I’m very happy to hear that you enjoyed this article and have a new appreciation for rap music. Unfortunately many people have a prejudice towards rap music because their only experience with it is what main stream corporate record labels are pushing which are typically the most visible and are often negative and ignorant. But there are way more good, positive, and wholesome rappers out here you just have to dig a little in order to find them. Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you enjoy my music recommendations.

  10. says

    Cole,

    I really appreciate the historical details of your article. What impressed me the most when viewing your page was the way you responded to each and every comment. The positive and encouraging tone in your responses have me wanting to start rapping! … For the safety of friends and family I will refrain however.

    I lived through the birth of modern rap and started listening in the mid 1970s. I remember how excited I was when I heard Rapper’s Delight played on a POP music radio station. Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious Five as well as groups like The Fat Boys, Whodini, Run DMC and of course DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince helped me express my feelings as I navigated my teenage and young adult years.

    I would very much like to post a link your article on my website. I am very cautious however, in my old age, and need to understand the source of any material I share. Though your article has a ring of truth to it, I would appreciate further explanation of your sources for this information

    Finally, I would like to say I am proud to see what you have accomplished. I spent years mentoring teenagers and young adults. The world today is insidious in it’s harsh treatment of those trying to self produce or publish. While the tools to make it are readily available, figuring out how to stand out is a little more of a challenge. Keep up the great work. I have been around for almost five decades and I can attest to the fact that “You gotta live to see”.

    • says

      Hey William,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and respond back with such a thoughtful comment! Yes, the favorite part of what I do is interacting with people all around the world who have consumed my content. It can be challenging at times to keep up with everyone’s responses through e-mails, social media, YouTube, and my website but it’s worth it :) I’m glad my positive vibes had you considering rapping! I bet you already have about 6 completed albums tucked away in a file cabinet somewhere. You’re just trying to keep them low key like a midget locksmith and I respect your humility lol

      I think it’s awesome that you was able to witness first hand the rise of rap music. That must have been incredible! I didn’t make my entrance into this world until the mid 80’s so by the time I was old enough to discover rap music I had already missed about 2 1/2 decades of it. And I didn’t really start digging into the history of rap music until a few years ago. I find history fascinating as it gives us a better understanding of our origins.

      As far as my sources of information for my article I used a lot of them. Before writing this article I spent hours doing research and found my most helpful resources were interviews done with DJ Kool Herc, KRS One, & Coke La Rock

      And thanks so much for your positive acknowledgement of what I’m doing. I sincerely appreciate it! And thank you for your selfless service of mentoring teenagers I think that is a major accomplishment on you’re part. Very few teens have mentors to help them navigate this world and they need all the help that can get! And I couldn’t agree with your closing statement more! The tools are available we just have to know how to use them. And thanks for checking out my song “You Gotta Live To See”. I hope this finds you well and thanks once again for all of your positive feedback! If you have anymore questions about anything please let me know.

  11. Michael French says

    Just want to say thanks for writing. I’m not all that into rap music but I work with at risk youth in a day treatment program. They have so much anger and struggle to deal with just how to survive. To understand them, you have to understand some of the music they listen to which is pretty much rap…I thought it would be fun to do a powerpoint presentation on the history of rap. It was fun doing the research because I learned some things. I found your website very helpful and hope you don’t mind if I use some of your material. I will credit your website. One question, Why do artists feel like they have to cuss so much in the rap music. I know some artists don’t want to be role models but kids are listening to this stuff and having worked with youth, I see how it effects them. The boys talk about girls like they hear the rappers talk about. How can we expect them to treat and show women respect when this is where they get their examples from? Most of our students come from dysfunctional homes…Dads are often not around. Dysfunctional parents mean dysfunctional kids which make our jobs so much harder. The cycle continues. Anyway, I appreciate your writing and thanks again.

    • says

      Hey Michael,

      First off I want to thank you so much for the work you are doing with the at risk kids. That’s an awesome service that you’re doing for your community and I commend you for your selfless service you are offering to enrich your community!

      This is somewhat of a complex issue. I believe a community is made up of each and every single household. Broken households tend to manufacturer broken people. People who are broken are looking for something to fill that void. With fathers being absent in many cases boys are looking for a male role model that they identify with to follow after and that’s why they tend to latch on to rappers who are in many cases a product of the same environment.

      Also these rappers who are signed to record companies are employees for the company they work for. In many cases they are told what kind of product “music” they are expected to release in order to maximize sales. In some cases these rappers really live the life they portray in their music but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s just an act or an alter ego if you will.

      But here’s my main point. The mainstream is ran by major corporations who have heavy influence on what is played on the radio and television. but we live in a new age where mainstream isn’t “it” anymore. Youtube has become the #1 source where people go and listen to music. And some YouTube channels ran by individuals are starting to out perform major syndicated programming.

      There is tons of positive rap music being released all the time, you are just not going to see much of it on mainstream platforms. Take Hopsin – Fly for example. Tho he does cuss in his lyrics the message he is bringing is profound. Or Lecrae Just Like You doesn’t cuss in this lyrics and brings a positive and christian perspective through his raps. Or 2 Pac Changes 2 Pac Dear Mama Field Mob ft Cee lo All I Know DMX Slippin DMX I Miss You These are just a few examples of rap songs filled with conscience and positive overall messages.

      Oh and yes feel free to reference to my article in your presentation and thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I hope this finds you well and am wishing you the best in all that you do! Much love and respect! – Cole Mize

  12. says

    Hey Cole what’s going on man? Quick question you know some really good inspirational rap songs, nothing really gospel like or too spiritual but songs that when you hear them, you don’t sing along, you just have to sit and really let the lyrics and wordplay soak in along with a pretty good melody in the background. I’m trying to get inspired to keep up the music side of myself and push my lp (More Than An Obsession) mixtape.. if you could check out one song of mine on soundcloud.. https://soundcloud.com/elidakid/frank-sinatra-remake-at-bells
    one of my songs I’m workin on remaking. let me know what you think and if you have some songs that fit what I’m looking for. Thanks a ton brother!

  13. Jonathan McClelland says

    Cole, thank you for the great information. I am an older white guy, 63, and not generally a rap fan though I love many different genres of music and am a guitarist. I wondered if you’ve ever heard of The Lost Poets. They were an African American group who “spoke” their lyrics to music and would seem to be at least predecessors to rap if not actually rappers. They were active in the late 60s to the early 70s, I believe in New York city. God bless you in your endeavors, Jonathan

    • says

      Hey Jonathan, It’s awesome to hear from you! I actually had never heard of The Lost Poets before and just finished checking them out. Thanks for sharing them with me. I really enjoyed listening to them and found them to be quite “revolutionary” :) Tho I’m an 80’s baby, listening to their tracks was almost like traveling back in time. I could imagine dudes walking around with bell bottoms with the first few buttons of their shirts unbuttoned :)

      I’m glad you enjoyed this article. I’m a music lover myself and enjoy many different styles so thanks for sharing this group with me. And it’s awesome that you play guitar! Do you have anything uploaded to the internet I could check out?

      Thanks for your kinds words and I’m wishing you the best in all your endeavors as well! God Bless you as well! :)

  14. Jose Villegas says

    Cole, thank you I appreciate the information it is really going to help towards a project and assignment in class.

    • says

      My pleasure Jose! I’m glad that you enjoyed this article and found it helpful and I am wishing you the best on your assignment! Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

  15. Gretchen says

    Hey cole.
    Thank you so much for this website. I am in 5th grade but have been listening to rap music since I was a toddler. I was inspired my brother and really recommend his music. Go to SoundCloud and search kingmoofasa and click on the first one. Please do listen, and again thanks an bunch!

    • says

      Hey Gretchen, my pleasure bro! I’m glad you’re enjoying my website! Wow 5th grade? That’s awesome man! I started rapping when I was in 5th grade! Thanks for sharing your brothers music with me. I really enjoyed what I heard on soundcloud. Really good tunes! Tell him I said great job and to keep up the good work! Enjoy being a kid and try not to grow up to fast :) Much love!

  16. Ethan says

    Hey Cole i was wondering if u could give me some tips on how to become a better rapper. I started out as a “gangsta rapper”if thats what you wanna call it but i am trying to become a better christian rapper and i have a friend named jj who wants to be a christian rapper with me also, so i was just wondering if u could slide me some tips about how to become a better rapper for the glory of God…

    So if u get this just shoot me a reply and lets have a little chat alright? thanks for this article also man….

    • says

      Hey Charlie, I’m glad you enjoyed this article and that you have an appreciation for old school rap as well! Wishing you the best on your next studio session! :)

  17. elizabeth says

    hi Cole,
    I really appreciate the information you gave us, and this is really helping me as an information for a german project.Thanks a lot!

  18. says

    Hi, Cole!

    First of all, let me congratulate you because of such good article. It is so useful to know more about rap true origins!

    I’m student from a major on Literature and Orality in Mexico, and I’m working with freestyle rap, and I need to prove (the must I can) that freestyle or improvised rap was the origin of actual rap. I have some questions and I think you could answer them as they need to be ansewered (because of this article, I think you can help me a lot with my research):

    -Because of the game that you exposed, which was played by black slave people in the camps, was the very first sign of rap (“call to answer”), do you think that those “proto”-bars were improvised? I mean, spontaneous answers?
    -As the first bar spit by Coke La Rock was firstly said in a party, do you think it was an improvised bar?
    -Do you think that rap had its origin in improvised bars or improvised/freestyled raps? I mean, we can say that improvised rap was the very first origin of rap?

    Congratulations for your work, Cole! Blessings!

    Juan Juárez.

    • says

      Hey Juan, It’s great to hear from you and I’m glad that you enjoyed my article. I think improvising is where all things start. We never really know what we’re doing when we first start trying something new. I think planning comes after we have a greater understanding of whatever it is that we’re trying to get better at. I can’t say for sure exactly how rap began but I’m inclined to think that it was initially improvised just as so many other things are. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help lol that’s the best I’ve got on that :) Thanks again for taking the time to read my article and I’m wishing you the best on your research! Much love and blessings to you as well!

      – Cole Mize

  19. Terrell Foster says

    This really doesnt got nothing to do with the page that much i just wanna ask you something. What would you do if you where 16 in very talented in your ryhmes but dont have enough money for a personal studio in your in a stuck spot

  20. steph says

    you should add information about the evolution of the content and context of rap at that time of 1973 and how the main purpose was to speak of social issues going on in the communities of that time such as: poverty, drugs, and most importantly the ongoing race issues. Hip hop now serves as a multi purpose safe zone to promote awareness, great music, and love.

    • says

      That’s a great Idea! Perhaps I will do another article in the future focusing on the content of the lyrics, and the different eras of rap to show it’s evolution. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  21. Sofia Martinez says

    thank you so much! this helped me so much. i had a to write a speech and i chose to do it on the evolution of rap. I found it really hard to find a reliable site to refer to and this site is exactly what i was looking for! I got so much information from this site and i used it all in my speech!!!

    • says

      My pleasure Sofia! I’m really glad to hear that you have found the content on my site helpful! That’s what it’s all about! I get a lot of students in schools using this article on their class projects which is awesome! feel free to stop by anytime and I’m wishing you the best on your project! :)

  22. Charlie says

    Hey! I’m doing a speech at my school and am using some facts off of your website. I’m very thankful for this information! I’m 15 and just started listening to rap more frequently… So I talked to my teacher about it for my speech and she didn’t like it but approved anyway. So I’m hoping to change her mind on rap, So Thank You for this info!!

    • says

      Hey Charlie, I’m glad that you came across my website and have found the information here helpful! That’s what it’s all about! I think it’s awesome that you’re doing a project at school on rap and I hope it’s a big success for you! Thanks for reading and commenting and I hope you’re able to change your teachers perspective about rap :) Much love and respect!

  23. Ayymar says

    Hi Cole! I was wondering if you had some sources which supplied this information. Not to criticize you or anything because I want to use this for my senior year paper. I don’t think they’ll say that this site is a credible source, even though all of us know it’s all facts. Great article btw!

    • says

      Hey Ayymar, I completely understand trust me! :) I have a lot of students who are working on school projects use this article as one of their resources. This article as also been featured on other websites as a reference and you are certainly not the first to ask for references. As far as my sources of information for my article I used a lot of them. Before writing this article I spent hours doing research and found my most helpful resources were interviews done with DJ Kool Herc, KRS One, & Coke La Rock I hope this helps. Thanks for reading and commenting! and I’m wishing you the best on your project! :)

  24. Joy H. Fisher says

    Thanks for the information and history. I teach struggling readers in the 9th grade, and we have a unit on music. I’ve been able to educate myself and my students a little more on the history of rap music. I remember well ‘Rapper’s Delight’ and I was under the impression that was the beginning of rap music. Your article offered great insight, and I was able to pass that along to my students. Thanks again! Great resource!!

    • says

      Hey Joy, I’m really glad that you found this article to be a helpful resource on teaching your students. That’s really awesome! I salute you for giving back to your community in the manner that you are! I’ve continued to dig deeper into the history of rap music and I have found songs that have people rapping in them as far back as the 40’s from a group here in Georgia. The song is called The Gypsy by Emmett Miller & His Georgia Crackers. Here’s the link http://buff.ly/20TrKF1 I think you will enjoy it! Thanks for reading and commenting and I appreciate all the love and support! Best wishes in all that you do!

  25. brandon says

    This really helped me because im doing a project on rap and I stumbled across this as I was looking up the origins of rap. Thank- You so much.

    • says

      Hey Brandon, I’m really glad that you found my article to be a helpful resource for your project. Thanks for reading and commenting and I wish you the best on your project :)

  26. cpoots says

    Hey Cole mize

    Would you be willing to send me some of your sources for this article? I’m doing a research paper on rap and it’s influence and why it’s so popular, so i’d love to dig deeper into it’s origins. Any info is appreciated.

    Thanks
    C Poots

    • says

      Hey C Poots,

      Thanks for reaching out. Please read the comments section below, I’ve had several other people ask me to provide some of my references and I did so in my response to their comments. Wishing you the best on your paper! :)

  27. Jennifer Greene says

    Too funny!! I was researching some information and I ran across your website. My brother and I grew up in the S. Bronx in the mid ’70’s – late ’80’s. We clearly remember walking to White Castle and hearing music coming from somewhere when we decided to follow the sound. We came up on a block party where 7′ speakers were stacked on top of each other on both ends of the block and old ladies were selling BBQ plates for $3.00 ea. complete with potato salad, beans etc. I only remember listening to the Cold Crush Brothers but can’t remember any other artists over the years because back then, it was just for fun or money to bail someone out of jail. Echo Park was a frequent place for these gatherings and I often wondered how we were able to seal off a city block or an entire park without the authorities interfering. These outdoor parties stopped when almost 2 yrs. before, “Rapper’s Delight” came out, there began shootings at these events. We all knew it would happen. It was just a matter of time. I had many friends who taught me how to ‘scratch’ and knew a lot of people who were learning to perfect the craft. I later became a foster child in the NY system and joined the Zulu Nation. I’d (by then) become very troubled when due to extreme neglect and abject poverty, as my brother and I had to be separated. He in the juvenile prison system and me in foster care. As I progressed in the Zulu Nation, I learned many things and hung out with many of the early rappers. I reconciled with my brother and entering college, I maintained contact with my friends that were diligent in giving me, a young black scholar all the advice and tools needed to survive on the streets (especially when I declared I had a large inheritance and was tired of the responsibilities of trying to raise my brother. I’d already lived in 30 foster homes). I said I wanted to kill myself (like mom did) but 1st raise my brother. Then when he was settled and near college graduation, I would have gone thru the money (using cocaine) so nobody else could spend it after I was gone. I just wanted to be with my mom. I met many heavy hitters and while in college (only to be an example to my brother), I majored in TV Production and Film. I worked across the street from the ABC studios. Time, Newsweek and Penthouse were around the corner and I’d often do my homework in the dressing rooms while waiting for my shift to begin. I was a hostess in a pub where media moguls and stars frequented. In the ’80’s, many people were doing freebase and I can’t say on this site what went on. Because of my street sense, money and intelligence, I was asked to procure and partake. Studio 54 was a must, Nell’s, Limelight (when it 1st opened), the Roxy (which hosted the world’s 1st rap ‘convention’). I was there. I knew everyone. At the ‘convention’, some guy with lots of feathers on and fur stepped on my foot. He apologized but looked me up and down and said, “Damn bitch youse fine!” I corrected him loudly and said that if it’s a bitch he wanted then that’s all he could expect to get but if he wanted a real woman of substance, then he’d better learn how to respect one!” Turns out it was Grand Master Flash. So what, I still remembered the $3.00. BBQ plates that maybe his own mother cooked and I’m sure that type of behavior would be frowned upon (me being self-righteous). Anyway, we all watched stories of how Richard Pryor burned himself up doing freebase and ether became a controlled substance banned from common street use. Hello crack! I can’t say that I was blessed to see this phenomena take place in the heart of my S. Bronx neighborhood, but the explosion of unimaginable degradation that ensued shocked even the suppliers! Women rented out their small children or outright sold them for the stuff, families lived in empty apartments as even picture frames were sold off for this new cheap, more available and addictive high. Bronx property taxes were raised up to 5 times what they were and the chaos and destruction prompted property owners to simply burn their buildings and collect the insurance rather than make costly repairs or raising rent from delinquent tenants (who were stripping the copper pipes to support their habit). Thus coined the phrase, “The Bronx is burning”. I walked the streets at night to score while witnessing the shootings, explosions, fires, rapes and raids by police on 5 story buildings turned into crack ‘compounds’. The cops would line everyone up outside the building (after shooting some) and the perps would have their hands on the wall, legs spread, dogs, ambulances, paddy wagons and SWAT, all around and SO MANY police patting them down. The last perp on the end of the line was allowed to be uncuffed and still sell crack to whoever wanted it without repercussions for either him or the buyer. This became a common scene in my ‘hood’ and after buying right in front of the cops, many would backtrack and spit on the cops and keep walking. I befriended a ‘compound’ leader near my home during the influx of Cuban refugees at the time. I was honest, trusted and low drama with cash (for those stars I knew downtown). I was dating a well-known commercial artist and was introduced to Mario Van Peebles and still have photo slides of buildings he wanted before choosing a location for, “New Jack City”. I am in some music videos like, “What People Do For Money” and my college final exam 30 sec. music video was shown on MTV, VH1 and BET. I left NY in ’88 to join the military. I couldn’t see any other way out of the NY madness. I somehow passed the entrance exams in the top 10% in the U.S. and was offered intelligence. I never trained at the Presidio (now DLI) as a combat Spanish linguist. If not for one word I got wrong, I would have been the only one in U.S. history (Spanish or otherwise) to pass the combat Spanish warfare intelligence joint Army/Air Force linguist test with 100%. I learned my combat Spanish from the streets of NY while dealing with what I had to during the emergence of rap. I got to see the ‘sagging’ of the pants and asked so many what was up with that. I missed how we girls would admire our black male physiques and giggle. Even the least of our men is usually physically admirable and with the ‘sagging’ it diminished our admiration. Finally, my dad told me that since so many black men were trying hard to make a living but arrested and humiliated, taken to jail and having their shoelaces and belts taken and when released, had to walk home with no shoelaces or belts and hold up their pants during the most humiliating time of their lives, they simply began to sag and hold up their pants as a norm. As a public display of their status. A message of the ‘drums’ that told our stories of old. It is a form of rebellion and a visual by product of what is produced in our community. I got to see how this message has been perverted and misinterpreted even within our own communities as the elders once again fail to educate the youth. I spent 10 yrs. in prison following my military career. I know for a fact that ‘sagging’ has dire consequences in male prisons (to include new charges, a longer sentence and solitary confinement). The rumors that ‘sagging’ is an advertisement for gay relations is absurd and misguided. Most that ‘sag’ are not gay at all. The rap community adopted this thing as a natural progression of the social climate and street fashion while the evolution of rap began to include the bragging rights to pimping and drug dealing that brings money into our decimated ghettos. Most societies have profited from the misfortune of the weaker and since blacks are the weaker in the U.S. with drugs infiltrating our communities (we don’t typically have major shipping or international connections to infiltrate our own communities with drugs) we display our victimization and self-exploitation as a mirror of the nations that produce the same historically. It is the secret ‘drum’ that still beats within us. And like as slaves, the secret ‘beat’ is only to be heard by the few that can. Not our oppressors. We should be proud and vocalize our message, as rap is an amazing impression on the world born of the least of us who only needed 2 turn tables and a microphone.

    • says

      Thanks so much Jennifer. I don’t know if it would be appropriate to refer to your response as a comment or an article in and of it’s self but regardless I found it to be fascinating, vivid and expertly written. It could literally be a full length article! Thank so you much for taking the time to add tremendous value to my article and I’m honestly humbled by your writing skills! I appreciate you sharing your story with me and I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed into your world during the duration of your writing. Since your writing is already published on my website would it be okay if I published it as an article and gave you credit as the Author? It really is that good!! Feel free to contact me via http://colemizestudios.com/connect

      Sincerely – Cole Mize

  28. canty says

    hey im doing a report for school and i was wondering if there was ever a part of killing when the
    africans sang.

  29. AmbyDread says

    Your “origination” seems to have skipped an important episode. As most original rappers have confessed, they 1st were introduced to “rapping” by attending Jamaican house parties here in the US where they heard Jamaican DJs talking/singing “through” the music of other artists that were being played. This stimulated them to do a more upbeat version of what they were introduced to & thus “Rap” emerged. I’m a 55 yr old Jamaican that grew up on Jamaican house party music & am fully aware of this evolution since Jamaicans have been doing this for decades … but don’t take my word for it: Kool Herc, Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Sugar Hill Gang, Ice Cube, Dr Dre, et al, have always said the same when they’re crediting the origins of Rap.

    • says

      Thanks for your feedback on my article AmbyDread. I’ve heard the same as well and Kool Herc whom I mention in this article is Jamaican. Do you have any sources I could check out that are stating that rapping was taking place at Jamaican house parties before Kool Herc? I’d be very interested in checking them out. Thanks :)

  30. alonso says

    I love your site men thanks and keep informating pepole like me.

    BTW, who do you think is the best rapper right now?

    • says

      Thanks for the positive feedback Alonso! I’m really glad you have been enjoying the information on my site! Man there’s so many dope rappers out right now! It’s impossible for me to say or name one that’s the best. I think many of them are elite in their own unique ways. :)

    • says

      My pleasure Pema, feel free to use my site as a source I’ve also listed sources I gathered information from for this article in the comments section.

  31. Taylor says

    Hey man, absolutely loved your article, some great, great info here! I’m a Christian so I’m not really in the rap scene, but I do listen to plenty of Christian rap, and your article was very enlightening. I totally recommend NF (he’s like Eminem) and Andy Mineo, I think Andy Mineo will impress you very much he’s so talented, if you do check him out, look for his song, “The Saints.” God bless you, and keep up your great work!

    • says

      Hey Taylor, I’m glad that you enjoyed my article and found it to be helpful. Thanks for your recommendations for artists to check out. I’ve actually been aware of Andy from back when he went by C-Lite. Thanks for your positive feedback and encouragement! :)

  32. Taylor says

    Great article bro! I’m doin’ a project of rapping/hip-hop and yours was the first website that popped up, I didn’t need no other website after! I’m a Christian so I don’t like to listen to all the negative raps these days, but I do hold up Eminem. If you would like to try out Christian rap, I highly recommend NF (he’s like Eminem) and Andy Mineo. Andy is a suberb rapper, check him out man. Thanks for your article, God Bless You! :)

  33. Yahya Rahim says

    I was wondering if some of the rappers in queens got their startup from any of the gangsters back in the day? Like Fat Cat Nichols, Pappy Mason, or Frank Lucas. I know they were around when Run D MC, and others initially started out.

    • Yahya Rahim says

      I know some gangstas like to feel good by sponsoring basketball tournaments and potential celebrities sort of like an investment. I believe this is how some record labels got started. Sparking rivalries between the East coast and West coast that usually lead to some gun play and death.

      • says

        That’s a good question Yahya. Any rapper trying to gain mainstream exposure will certainly need an investor unless they have the funds themselves to invest into their career. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that gangs have funded earlier rappers of even current rappers of today. I know I’ve heard certain label owners hint to having started their empire with drug money. If you find anything out please feel free to share it here. Thanks for reading and commenting. :) – Cole Mize

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