Kanye West
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Late Registration
OutKast

Rap

Rap's germination is sometimes attributed to the righteous street poetry of the Last Poets and the Watts Prophets, but it didn't begin to take full shape -- and earn its tag -- until after the Sugarhill Gang released "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. Since then, rap spread from its New York epicenter throughout the remainder of the U.S. (with each region taking on its own specific flavor) and then to countless countries. Rap's core components are beats and rhymes, but that simplicity belies the wide range of sounds that have sprung from them. Instrumentalists, a sampled breakbeat, or a drum machine can form the backbone of a track, while an arrangement can be spaciously spare or chaotically dense, and a chorus can range from atonal shouting to a sweet melody. Detractors were still calling rap a fad in 1985, when LL Cool J released his first single. They were doing the same thing when, roughly 20 years later, the same MC released his tenth album, and they'll probably continue to do so as long as the genre exists. Should rap ever die, which isn't likely, it would be far too late to prevent its effect on most other music forms, from R&B to rock to jazz.

Rap Artists Highlights

Kanye West
Kanye West
OutKast
OutKast
Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
Eminem
Eminem
Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan
Grandmaster Flash
Grandmaster Flash

More Rap Artists

Rap Album Highlights

It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Public Enemy
It Takes a Nation of ...
Late Registration
Kanye West
Late Registration
The Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem
The Marshall Mathers LP
Doggystyle
Snoop Dogg
Doggystyle
Ready to Die
The Notorious B.I.G.
Ready to Die
Aquemini
OutKast
Aquemini

More Rap Albums

Rap Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Fight the Power Public Enemy
It Was a Good Day Ice Cube
Nuthin' But a "G" Thang Dr. Dre / Snoop Dogg
Big Poppa The Notorious B.I.G.
California Love 2Pac
The Message Duke Bootee / Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five / Grandmaster Melle Mel / Melle Mel
The Breaks Kurtis Blow
Straight Outta Compton N.W.A
Ms. Jackson OutKast
Planet Rock Afrika Bambaataa

More Rap Songs

Rap subgenres and styles [+]