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Hip Hop And Rap History And Development Drummers Guide Part One

Typically, Hip Hop music consists of one or more rappers speaking or chanting semi autobiographic tales, or coded information in an intensely rhythmic lyrical form, making abundant use of techniques like assonance, alliteration, and rhyme. Though rap may be performed a cappella, it is more common for the rapper(s) to be accompanied by a DJ or a live band providing an appropriate beat. The Popularity of Rap Music and the Hip Hop culture has increased immensely over the past 20 years.

With its roots in the earliest forms of African influenced call and response vocalizing, Hip Hop and Rap utilizes the advanced technology of electronic sampling and sequencing and has become a leading force in the music industry. Hip Hop and Rap music can be traced back to two sources: spoken lyrics (usually rhyming) and a Rhythm and Blues and Funk musical base. The reasons for the rise of Hip Hop are found in the changing urban culture within the United States during the 1970s.

Perhaps most important was the low cost involved in getting started as the equipment was relatively inexpensive, and virtually anyone could "Rap" along with the popular beats of the day. One of the most prominent early examples of spoken word technique (in a call and response format) in a popular song is the chant "Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho" from Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" in 1931. While early Hip Hop arose through the decline of funk and disco while still employing their musicianship, there was rise of artists who employed the use of the turntable as an instrument in itself. Hip-hop Turntablist DJs use turntable techniques such as beat mixing and matching, scratching, and beat juggling to create a base that can be rapped over.

Turntablism is generally focused more on turntable technique and less on mixing. By the 1950s, early forms of Rock n' Roll and Do Wop utilized spoken word technique in sections of songs ("Little Darlin" written by Maurice Williams). Within the next few decades, popular songs such as "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band, not to mention countless Country songs, had lyrics primarily in spoken word format. In the 1970s, African American musicians coupled the spoken word format with the sounds of Funk to produce the earliest easily recognizable antecedents of Rap music.

Artists such as Lou Rawls, Barry White, James Brown, The Brothers Johnson, and Isaac Hayes helped define the earliest sounds of this musical style. In addition, Jamaican Djs in New York City began incorporating improvised rhymes over Reggae music and rhythms. By 1979, the style began to find a wider audience through its first recordings, most notably "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugar Hill Gang. At the close of the decade, drum machines such as the Linn Drum and slightly later the TR-808 appeared and helped create the first significant electronic grooves to accompany the Rap style. The success of MTV in the early 1980s exposed original forms of Rap to a worldwide audience through artists such as Grandmaster Flash, Blondie (with her top ten hit "Rapture," though she's not considered an essential Rap artist), and the immensely popular Run DMC.

By Eric Starg. Eric often discusses Rogers Drum Sets and Rogers Snare Drums at Drum Solo Artist Drum Forum.


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