The History of Rap Beats

The origin of rap beats or hip-hop music in general is traced back to the ancient tribal years in Africa. During the early civilization, rap beats was often referred to as diverse chants, drumbeats and foot-stomping sounds performed from African tribes. They made use of chants and drumbeats as a form of signaling the start and end of war, as well as birth and death of their tribe leaders.

The development of rap music started during the 1960’s when several African tribes migrated to Kingston, Jamaica. Along with impoverished Jamaicans, the tribes gathered together to form a group called the “DJ Conglomerates”. The latter primarily focused in communicating their target audience using their cultural roots. In the late-1960’s, a Jamaica-based African named Kool Herc made use of traditional blue records and spun rhythms to please the people in their community. Herc also made use of personal touches to communicate with his target audience. When the people responded to his technique, the “Call and Response” in music was born and since then, it has been primarily used during Methodist and Baptist church services in Kingston. Several music historians compared Herc’s call and response technique to the origin of Jazz music development under the renaissance years in Harlem.

Rap music began to emerge around the world during the 1970’s when it was first introduced in the South Bronx area of New York City. Famously known today as the “Bronx”, the latter is considered as the city’s haven from gang violence and other criminal activities. The early Bronx residents embraced the music by making use of samples and drum combination. The residents accompanied the combination using “Spoken Word”. In the mid-1970’s, rap music was predominantly used in block parties to promote peace and harmony in New York.

The 80’s decade signaled the diversification of rap music. “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” was the first rap song released worldwide. Afrika Bambaataa’s 1982 hit, “Planet Rock” connoted the use of synthesizers in rap music. “Beat Bop” by K-Rob and Rammellzee was the first rap song that made use of dub and mellow sounds. The middle of 1980s became a prominent year for rock and roll after the global success of Run DMC and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” in 1985. In the late-80’s, a sub-genre of rap music called “New School” was introduced. The second generation wave of Hip-hop music was originated in 1983 – 1985 when Run DMC and LL Cool J started recording rap songs. Among the Hip-hop musicians classified under the New School sub-genre are Cypress Hill, People under the Stairs, A Tribe Called Quest, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and Beastie Boys.

The “Golden Age of Hip-hop” or simply known as “Jazzy Hip hop” was introduced during the mid-90’s. The sub-genre primarily focuses in making use of Hip-hop and acid jazz to spread messages of “Afrocentricity”. Some of the recognizable jazzy hip-hop artists are Gang Starr, Common, Digable Planets, Talib Kweli, Eric B. & Rakim and Jungle Brothers.

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