Rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something you live!
KRS couldn’t have said it any better. Nowadays, people have the tendency to debate Hip Hop vs. Rap as if they carry a huge difference behind the definition. They both feed off each other. Can’t have one without the other.
Started in the South Bronx, Hip Hop is a sub-cultural lifestyle you live. It allows you to express yourself through elements that were originally street entertainment. DJ Afrika Bambaataa (former of The Zulu Nation) outlined these elements as emceeing, deejaying, graffiti art and dancing.
Rhythm and Poetry which are better known for Rap, is a main ingredient to Hip Hop. Rap is a music genre which allows a person to deliver spoken word or rhymes on a beat. They are several types of rapping styles such as hip hop, rap, rock/rap, old school rap, Latin rap, dirty south rap and so on and so fourth. Having a content, flow and delivery are all components included in a rap. There’s also a slight talent to rappers (besides the amazing wordplay and syllables) they use four beats to “catch the beat” to get a better understanding of what I’m saying, Derek Attridge quotes “lines with four stressed beats, separated by other syllables that may vary in number and may include other stressed syllables. The strong beat of the accompaniment coincides with the stressed beats of the verse, and the rapper organizes the rhythms of the intervening syllables to provide variety and surprise” in his best-seller Poetic Rhythm.
There’s a strong debate surfacing our new era on Hip Hop loosing it’s culture due to the strong transitions in the Rap genre. I personally think an upcoming artist, needs to understand the root of the Hip Hop culture and the Rap genre thoroughly. This allows them to differentiate sounds, which helps them clearly define the type of music they produce that’s not only satisfying to the audience but in-sync with its origin!
I decided to have a little fun and randomly ask a few people “What do you think of today’s Rap music — and do you think it still correlates to the Hip Hop lifestyle?” Check out some very debatable answers below!
“I believe that hip hop is a culture an entire movement, because our culture has changed as in what we believe in, who we believe in, and how we interact with our surroundings. Our culture has changed therefore hip hop is always changing, as the world spins so will the evolution of hip hop….There are some artist that still believe in the same, so they give that “old school ” feel still.” -Amirawh, IG- @amiraw.h
“Today’s rap music is just for the money and what’s hot now. There’s no creativity or great lines. Honestly, today anyone can be a rapper; you don’t have to be a Lyricist. All you need to have is a great beat and a dance and BANG!” -Abena Bonsu, IG- @dudette___
“I think today’s rap music is very diverse. There’s a mixture of old school and contemporary rhythms which indicate the evolution of music. A lot of the modern sounds we hear in rap today, are sounds that cater to this generation and to sounds that we’re familiar with already.” -Helen, IG-@Blkisacolor
“Son, this question is hard for me ’cause today’s rap music is so all over the place [laughs] There’s different vibes going on” -Kodi W. IG- @Kiloloki_
“Rap today has definitely shifted from its more aggressive and politically active roots. A genre once used to “give the people what they want,” is now used to flaunt the success of the ones who have attained success. Still, there are a few rappers (J. Cole, Kendrick, Jay Electronica, etc.) hell bent on staying true to the name of the game. Personally I’m not sure how I feel about rap, as listeners I realize we have become complacent with what we accept as good rap…it may be time to establish sub-genres, time to distinguish between concept and content as it is all getting blended together. The definition of great rap has been demeaned and rap deserves better. We deserve better.” -Leelah, IG- @leelah_lawless
“Hip hop is the new expressional connective tissue of our time. It’s making life easier to find common ground with people from any race, country or condition similar to what weed does at a party. I don’t smoke, but we both feel that vibe when any Drake or Kanye intro drops. It’s changing all culture with every mixtape & album release”.
-Garique Jeffers, IG- @Renaissance_Rique
“I think today’s rap music is really innovative and I like where some of it is going and the sense of freedom it is embracing and taking which is breaking a lot of barriers and norms. I think some of it correlates to the lifestyle but it’s also watered down by corny niggas talking bout street and trap shit that they know nothing about just to sound cool. So on one end you got slot of niggas being themselves and on the other end you got a lot of fakes and culture vultures.” -Khalil, IG-@khalileyo
“Rap music today is in another state of transition; which is a normal thing for any type of music genre. It’s current state can be thought of as a manifestation of the drug culture (trap music) in my opinion which is weird if you’re not a drug user.” -Kenneth Norwood, IG- Puert0rico
“Rap music itself has definitely changed as far as the sound goes but the essence and the culture of hip hop is still there even if the sound isn’t the same. I think it does correlate to the HIP HOP lifestyle but as far as the origin, I feel as though there are a lot of fakes either following a trend or finding the quickest way to earn a check. But at the same time, I can’t knock them for being heard. I mean the man has to market someone.” -Jomal Jacques, Tumblr-@ChrisxConscious
“I think today’s rap music is very intriguing and compelling on endless levels. The hip hop roster for the past 5-10 years has definitely revolutionize the way an artist today can come into the game and be themselves on a whole new level in my personal opinion. It definitely still correlates with the Hip Hop lifestyle because tracks out now still have that edgy tough flow to them but with a twist. As we grow with each generation behind us so does our character, mindset, lifestyle, preference, life experiences,etc and that will always be a beautiful thing to convert into the music with new innovative ways and techniques. Yeah we will forever miss hip hop the way we experienced it, as kids growing up but life is about evolution….We have to praise the rap game of each generation before the one today because without it, there will not be any artist right now that are or were inspired to do things differently…..I wasn’t fully for change at all but I will be lying to you if I said I don’t like hip hop for where it is now today. I love Hip Hop!” -Janel C., IG- americasbest
“I may not agree with all of the rap music that is coming out of this generation’s hip hop culture, but I cannot discredit it. Rap music has always been evolutionary since the 1960s. There are times that I’m in the mood for a Kendrick album and there’s times where Future Hendrix is the guy to go to. while rap music is evolving in sound, the hip hop culture is still alive in SOME aspect. I feel that the roots of it as far as producers crafting organically, streetwear fashion being outrageously shifted frequently, the graffiti are still appreciated…The only thing is, it lost it’s unity! I feel like there’s more unity amongst collectives individually instead of the entire rap game. I feel like we could shoulder our female emcees, our real lyricists and limelight those who can only promise a “hit”. We’ve ran into a divided streak, but there’s hope. The culture still breathes.” -Flo Kennedy, IG- FK.NYC