You Tube Music Video: Hip Hop vs. Rap

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Wondering what the difference is between hip hop and rap music? Check out our latest You Tube video to find out.


Hip hop and rap are two genres of music that have had a profound impact on popular culture. Both genres are often characterized by their use of electronic music, samples, and loops, as well as their lyrical content. However, there are some key differences between hip hop and rap that should be noted.

First and foremost, hip hop is a cultural movement that began in the late 1970s in the United States, while rap is a genre of music that emerged from this movement. Hip hop culture encompasses elements such as fashion, art, dance, and language, while rap focuses primarily on the musical aspects of the genre.

In terms of musical style, hip hop is generally slower and smoother than rap. Hip hop tracks often incorporate R&B or soul samples, while rap tends to be more minimalist in its production. Lyrically, hip hop songs typically tell stories or positive messages, while rap lyrics often focus on braggadocio or verbal battles.

Finally, it should be noted that not all rap is hip hop; similarly, not all hip hop is rap. There are many subgenres of both music styles that further complicate these distinctions. However, understanding the basic differences between these two genres can help you appreciate the nuances of each one.

What is Hip Hop?

Hip Hop is a music genre that originated in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s. It is characterized by four key elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Hip hop music has become a global phenomenon, with elements of the culture being adopted by people all over the world.

The Origins of Hip Hop

Hip hop as a music and cultural phenomenon originated in theBronx, New York City in the 1970s.Latin American immigrants, African American youths, and other marginalized groups in New York City began to create a new form of music by combining elements of their respective cultures. This new type of music is now known as hip hop.

The four main elements of hip hop are MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching, break dancing, and graffiti writing. These elements are often used in combination to create a complete hip hop performance. For example, an MC might rap over the beat created by a DJ, while a break dancer performs acrobatic moves in the background.

Hip hop is more than just a type of music; it is also a culture that includes fashion, art, dance, and language. Hip hop fashion often includes baggy clothes, bright colors, and gold or platinum jewelry. Hip hop art often takes the form of graffiti or illegal street art. And hip hop language can be very colorful, with its own slang and vocabulary.

The Elements of Hip Hop

Hip hop is a musical genre with four elements: MCing,DJing, break dancing, and graffiti writing. MCing, also called rapping, is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay containing similes, metaphors, and other figures of speech. DJing is the use of turntables to create new rhythms and sounds from existing recordings. Break dancing is a style of dance that includes moves such as freezes, head spins, and footwork. Graffiti writing is the use of spray paint or markers to create street art.

What is Rap?

Rap is a genre of music that often consists of rhyming lyrics that are spoken or chanted. It can be considered a subgenre of hip hop, which is a broader cultural movement that includes elements of DJing, MCing, and graffiti.

The Origins of Rap

Rap music is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States in the 1970s. The term rap is often used interchangeably with hip hop music, but hip hop is actually a broader cultural category that includes various musical styles, DJing, break dancing, and graffiti art. Rap music is typically composed of rhyming lyrics that are spoken or chanted over a backing track of instrumentals. The lyrics often address social or political issues, and they are often performed in a call and response style between the rapper and the audience.

Rap music first gained mainstream popularity in the 1980s with artists like Run-DMC and Public Enemy, but it really exploded in popularity in the 1990s with the advent of gangsta rap. Gangsta rap is a subgenre of rap music that often glorifies gang violence, drug use, and other illegal activities. Some gangsta rap artists, such as N.W.A., were controversial due to their explicit lyrics about violence and crime, but many others found success with more positive messages about black pride and empowerment.

In the 2000s and 2010s, rap music remained extremely popular with both mainstream audiences and underground audiences. Mainstream rap artists like Eminem and Jay-Z achieved tremendous commercial success, while underground artists like MF Doom and Tyler, the Creator found critical acclaim among more alternative fans. In recent years, trap music has become one of the most popular subgenres of rap, thanks to its heavy beats and catchy hooks.

The Elements of Rap

Rap is a type of music that emerged from hip hop in the 1970s. Rap is characterized by rhyming lyrics spoken or chanted over a backing beat. It can be performed with or without accompaniment. Rap is often used as a form of social commentary or political protest.

Differences Between Hip Hop and Rap

Hip hop and rap are two genres of music that have a lot in common, but there are also some significant differences. Rap is often more focused on lyrics and storytelling, while hip hop is more focused on the beats and the overall sound of the music. Both genres originated in the African-American community, but hip hop has since become more popular with people of all races and cultures.

The Music

The music of hip hop is created from a process of sampling, looping and layering sounds from other recordings. This might be a drum break from an old funk record, or a vocal hook from a soul track. These sounds are then repeating using a drum machine or sequencer, often with additional instrumentation and effects added to create a new arrangement. Rappers will often write their lyrics to fit the beat of the music, and will often improvise their delivery to add more personality and flair.

Rap music, on the other hand, is more focused on the lyrical content than the musical backdrop. The beats are often simpler and more minimalistic, giving the rapper more space to deliver their message. Rap lyrics are often more complex and dense than those found in hip hop, with multiple rhyming schemes and intricate wordplay.

The Lyrics

Lyrically, hip hop is marked by braggadocio, Afrocentricity, and improvisation while rap is characterized by Complex metaphors, Advanced Vocabulary, and Rhyme schemes. In terms of their subject matter,Rap song tend to be about Money, Drugs, and Sex while Hip Hop song tend to be about Social issues, personal experiences, and storytelling.

The Culture

Hip hop is a subculture that originated in the 1970s amongst inner-city African American youth in New York City. It has since grown to become a global phenomenon, with fans and practitioners all over the world. Rap, on the other hand, is a form of music that originated in the 1980s and is closely associated with hip hop culture.


In conclusion, Hip Hop is a subgenre of Rap, that originated in African American communities in the 1970s. Rap is a genre of music that often tells stories or has a message, while Hip Hop is often more focused on rhythm and rhyme. There are many different styles within both genres, and there is overlap between them. Ultimately, what defines Hip Hop and Rap is up to the artist and the listener.

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