Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rap: The Genre
Rap music first gained commercial visibility with the SugarHill Gang's “Rapper's Delight” (1979), but it had been circulating locally in private tapes and public performances since the early 1970s. Currently the music genre arguably most widely associated with African American performers, it owes its origins to practices of the African diaspora, though not all of them, strictly speaking, African American: toasts (from both the United States and Jamaica), disc jockey incantations, and earlier artists such as the Last Poets all contributed to some strands of early rap music. This entry looks at the history of the musical genre. Rap proved innovative in featuring both new techniques of DJ-ing (especially sampling) and a new kind of vocal delivery (emceeing). The music's origins in the South Bronx, New York City, paired with that neighborhood's notorious media image after U.S. President Jimmy Carter's (1977) visit, immediately tagged it as quintessentially “urban” music—meaning, essentially, ...