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Hip hop is a type of culture/art style that started in the 1970s in the Bronx. It began in Jamaican American, African American, and stateside Puerto Rican urban areas in some of the larger cities of the United States. Hip hop uses rapping, where the rapper or group chants or says words with a rhythm that rhymes. The lyrics of hip hop songs are often about the life of urban people in the big cities. Some hip hop song lyrics are about gangs, violence, crime, strippers, partying, money, sex and illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, promethazine, xanax, percocets, ecstasy and molly. Hip hop music also uses musical styles from pop music such as disco and reggae. Rap and hip hop music have become successful music genres.
Hip hop as a culture involves the music as well as a style of dressing called "urban" clothes (baggy pants, Timberland leather work boots, and oversize shirts); a dancing style called breakdancing or "B-boying"; and graffiti, a street art in which people paint pictures or words on walls. In the 2000s, hip hop music and hip hop culture are very popular in the United States and Canada. Hip hop musicians usually use nicknames. Many of the popular hip hop musicians from the 2000s use nicknames, such as Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Eminem, Lil' Wayne, and 50 Cent. Cities that produce the most hip hop are New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Memphis. Despite most rappers being of African American or black descent, hip hop’s audience is mostly white. 60% of rap buyer are suburban, middle-class White Americans. Hip hop culture was banned in China in 2018.
Rapping is a form of singing. It is a mix between singing and talking. The words are spoken with rhythm and in the text there are rhymes. The urban youth made rhyming games based on rap. The beat in the background is a simple loop that is sometimes made by the rapper themself or sometimes copied from a sample CD. The simple loop carries out through the entire song usually, except for the chorus. It developed in the ethnic minority urban (city) areas, as an American form of Jamaican "toasting" (chanting and rhyming with a microphone).
Run DMC and The Sugarhill Gang were early popular hip hop groups in the 1980s. When rappers began to use violent language and gestures, the music was then liked by gangsters. This kind of music was called "gangsta rap". Gangsta rap often has lyrics which are about guns, drug dealing and life as a thug on the street. This genre also began in the 1980s and is still produced.
Some well known early rappers include: Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Sean "P-Diddy" Combs. During the 1990s there was a rivalry between the two big record labels "Death Row Records" and "Bad Boy Records". The rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. were murdered. Later, the two record labels stopped the rivalry. Because most of the rappers who rapped for "Death Row Records" were from the West Coast of the US and most of the rappers who rapped for "Bad Boy Records" were from the East Coast, this rivalry was called "the West Coast – East Coast beef".
More modern rappers include Lil Wayne, 50-Cent, Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas, Drake, Travis Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Tyga, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Kanye West. The top selling hip hop artists of all time are Eminem, Drake, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Flo Rida and Tupac Shakur. Rap is now produced in almost every nation of the world. Hip hop emerged in the 1980s and the 1990s in African countries like Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The fastest rapper according to Guinness World Records is Twista. In 1992, he rapped 11 syllables in one second. In 2013, the song Rap God by Eminem took the record for most words in a song; 1,560 in a little over 6 minutes, which is about 4 words per second.
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- Lee, Sammy (14 January 2020). "5 of the top fastest rap songs in the history of hip-hop". Red Bull. Retrieved 29 June 2020.