The History of Rap

Rap music has a long and controversial history, unlike a wrapped student.

Hannah M.

Rap music has a long and controversial history, unlike a wrapped student.

Rap music is incredibly popular, and it has become one of the main genres of music today. However, rap did not look like it does today. MCs (rappers) in the 70s initially didn’t have actual songs, but instead, they kept the crowd hyped at parties and introduced DJs. In the late 70s, people started to rhyme over the DJ’s songs, and rap first started to become popular. Rappers like the Sugarhill Gang and Kurtis Blow pioneered the rap game and made huge songs like “Rapper’s Delight” and “The Breaks.”


In the 80s, rap was taken to the next level by rappers like Rakim, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, LL Cool J, Ice T, Grandmaster Flash, Salt-N-Pepa, and more. Rap became more diverse, and gangsta rap became very popular. Eazy-E, or Eric Wright, was nicknamed the Godfather of Gangsta Rap and he was part of the infamous group N.W.A. Eric B. and Rakim, and Salt-N-Pepa were two of the most famous rap duos, Eric B. and Rakim being a classic mix of DJ/MC, and Salt-N-Pepa was one of the most famous female rappers. During the late 80s, the group NWA had 2 of their most famous members leave, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. Dre went on to create his label (Death Row Records) with Suge Knight, and Ice Cube became a solo artist.


Then the 90s came, and rap improved yet again with MCs like 2Pac, The Notorious BIG, Big L, Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Scarface, Nas, Eminem, and more. 2Pac and Biggie (Notorious BIG) were the leaders of 90s rap and made famous songs like “All Eyes On Me,” “Changes,” “Dear Mama,” “Ambitionz Az A Ridah,” “Hypnotize,” “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” and more. Eminem was starting his career, and Dr. Dre’s label, Death Row Records, started to become one of the most popular rap labels ever. 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, and more were rappers under Death Row’s Suge Knight, and Dr. Dre on the west coast and Biggie was under Bad Boy Records with P. Diddy on the east. 2Pac and Biggie were once friends but became rivals after 2Pac was shot multiple times and survived. 2Pac, thinking it was Biggie, wrote the infamous diss track “Hit Em’ Up.” Biggie responded with the song “Who Shot Ya,” and the rap war continued. Sadly 2Pac was shot to death during a drive-by in Las Vegas on September 13, 1996. Biggie was killed six months later because of another drive-by in LA on March 9, 1997. 2 of the greatest rappers ever were murdered, yet still, no one knows who killed them.


The 21st century started, and Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, and more started their rap careers. Eminem was known as one of the greatest rappers ever, as was Jay-Z. Mumble rap started to popularize with people like Future. Rap now has many genres, and the number of rappers has heavily increased with new platforms to release music. Rap has come a long way, and it could not have gotten to where it is now without pioneers from the past decades.