The Different Kinds of Hip Hop Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Hip hop music has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the Bronx. Today, there are many different subgenres of hip hop, each with its own distinct sound and style. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most popular types of hip hop music, from old-school to trap.


Hip hop music is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. The term “hip hop” refers to a variety offormsthat encompass rap music, DJing, and graffiti art.1

Today, hip hop is everywhere—on the radio, on television, in movies, and on the internet. And it’s not just American anymore; hip hop has gone global, with artists from all over the world incorporating elements of hip hop into their own music.

If you’re new to hip hop, or if you’re just curious about the different types of hip hop out there, this guide is for you. We’ll give you a quick overview of the different styles of hip hop music, and we’ll also introduce you to some of the most popular artists in each category.

Old-School Hip Hop

Old-school hip hop is a style of hip hop music that was developed in the late 1970s. It is characterized by its simple, four-beat rhythm and its catchy hooks. It was the first style of hip hop music to gain popularity and is still considered to be the most important kind of hip hop.

Hip Hop Origins

Most people associate hip hop music with the rappers who perform it, but the genre has its origins in the 1970s, when DJs in New York City began playing funk and disco records at block parties and dance clubs. These DJs, such as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa, created a new style of music by cutting between different tracks, adding their own commentary, and using turntables to create new rhythms. This new style of music soon came to be known as hip hop.

Over the next few decades, hip hop would evolve into a variety of different subgenres, each with its own distinct sound and style. Some of the most popular subgenres include gangsta rap, trap, and conscious rap. While gangsta rap is often characterized by violent and misogynistic lyrics, trap focuses on the drug trade, while conscious rap is known for its socially and politically aware lyrics.

Hip Hop Culture

The original Hip Hop music was created in the 1970s by African American and Latino youths in the Bronx, New York. This new style of music incorporated elements of other genres, such as jazz, funk, and soul. Hip Hop quickly spread to other parts of the US, and by the 1980s, it had become a worldwide phenomenon.

There are four main types of Hip Hop music: old-school Hip Hop, gangsta rap, alternative Hip Hop, and trap. Old-school Hip Hop is the original style of the genre and is characterized by its funky beats and simple rhymes. Gangsta rap is a more aggressive style that often contains lyrics about violence and crime. Alternative Hip Hop is a more experimental style that incorporates elements from other genres, such as rock and pop. Trap is a subgenre of Hip Hop that originated in the early 2010s and is characterized by its dark beats and lyrics about drug dealing and other criminal activities.

New School Hip Hop

New school hip hop is a subgenre of hip hop music that includes rap artists who rose to prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term “new school” was coined in 1983 by Kool Herc. It has been described as having a “thoroughly modern sound,” featuring drum machines, synthesizers, and digital sampling.

Hip Hop Today

New school hip hop is a subgenre of hip hop music that refers to the second wave of hip hop music, mainly produced in the mid-late 1980s and early-mid 1990s. It is characterized by its use of samples, drum machines, and synthesizers. New school hip hop is often credited with helping to diversify hip hop by introducing elements from other genres of music, such as pop, rock, and salsa.

In contrast to the relatively bleak and often violent themes found in gangsta rap, new school hip hop was often more lighthearted and optimistic, with synth-based beats and party-oriented lyrics. Artists such as Doug E. Fresh, Salt-N-Pepa, Beastie Boys, and Run–D.M.C. were among the first to gain mainstream attention with this new sound.

Hip Hop Artists

New school hip hop is a genre of hip hop music that emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s, characterized by more complex rhyme schemes, innovative sampling, and a general return to more traditional song structure. As the commercial hip hop industry expanded and grew throughout the 1980s, artists became increasingly more adept at crafting hits and finding crossover success. By the late 1980s, a new generation of artists had come to prominence, including Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions, EPMD, Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and Gang Starr. These artists eschewed the party-oriented style of mainstream hip hop in favor of more cerebral themes and complex arrangements.


In conclusion, hip hop music has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the Bronx. Today, there are many different subgenres of hip hop, each with its own unique style and sound. Whether you prefer the hard-hitting sounds of trap music or the smooth flows of conscious rap, there is sure to be a type of hip hop that you can enjoy.

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