Inspired by soul and funk, rap is a form of popular song, chanted on a jerky and repetitive rhythm. The texts of a rapper are generally engaged and can evoke the themes of poverty, drugs or trafficking in the cities.
Rap appeared in the African American ghettos of New York (mainly the Bronx and Queens) with spokesperson The Last Poets, a group of young black activists who transcribe their rage using rhymes and percussion.
This movement appeared in the 1970s in the United States of America and only emerged in France in the early 1980s. At the beginning of this decade, rap in France developed thanks to free radios and a TV program broadcast on TF1 "HIP H.O.P. "
It was in the early 1970s that this "speaking in rhythm" was dressed in urban tones by a Jamaican from New York, DJ Kool Herc, one of the pioneers of the genre. According to musicologist Eugène Lledo "it is also likely that dirty dozens, a kind of verbal ping-pong from the streets based on sarcasm, contributed, by their rhythmic approach to the birth of rap".
Today it is an extremely popular musical movement (millions of records sold worldwide, and especially in France and the United States) which mainly affects adolescents and young people up to 25 years of age for the majority (this does not mean that there is no thirty listening to rap).
It is a genre of music claiming to be the style and music of the people "from below", which talks about the problems experienced in everyday life: drugs as well as firearms or problems of poverty or racism.
The musical accompaniment is often provided by samples (in English samples), that is to say extracts from already existing pieces possibly deformed by scratch techniques consisting in manipulating with the hand the disc on which the reused piece appears . It is rare to meet instrumentalists in these groups.
Rappers use several social codes to enhance their lyrics and stand out like their language or their attire.
Rap is a subcategory of hip-hop, a lifestyle whose music is only one aspect among others such as breakdancing or anything related to painting with graffiti and tags.
Typical rap instruments are synthesizers, DJ decks and voice. Then you can find the percussion and the bass. But what is typical of rap is the use of the sample which is the fact of taking an end of an already existing piece that we modify, then another end of another modified piece also that we put at the same time as the first or following and so on to create a loop of this melody.
For the rhythm, the rap uses very little the rhythms 2/2 and 4/4 but much the use of the syncope, that is to say the fact of making the rhythm unstable because this note will be played more quickly. On the other hand, the singer does not especially follow the rhythm.
Rap is at around 95 beats per minute while electro is at 130 beats per minute for example.