Is it Rap or Hip-Hop?

I am organizing my mp3s on iTunes and am having trouble establishing genre. Is there a difference between hip-hop and rap? Is hip-hop the culture and rap the music or is hip-hop also the music? This specific name designation has been bugging me for a while now. Thanks to anyone who can set it clear to me.

Hiphop is a culture. Music is a part of this culture, thus music which belongs to the culture is Hiphop music. Even though the music is more than likely to be Rap, it still belongs to the Hiphop culture.

Rap as Rap alone does not belong to the Hiphop culture but will sound very similar. Generally Rap music with negative messages and representations is not Hiphop. Hiphop has positivity and knowledge.

As an example, using my limited musical history knowledge, Rhythm and Blues stems from Gospel singing, predominantly Black Gospel obviously. Now, not all R&B could be classified as Gospel, though R&B music that is Gospel is generally only referred to as Gospel. See what i mean? I hope so because i’m confusing myself a little.

Also note, not all Hiphop music is Rap music just as not all Gospel is R&B.

Hip hop is a cultural movement. It’s mostly associated with music but the three founding elements were DJing, graffiti and breakdancing. MCing or rapping came into the fold very early on. It was all about the block parties and the DJs were the driving forces of these parties combining reggae, funk, rock and disco.

It didn’t take long, however, for rapping to take the forefront. While rapping has splittered off into other genres, most is still associated with hip hop music. But there is a lot of hip hop music that has no rapping at all.

Like blues and jazz, it’s about the mood of the music. How it makes you feel.

[Old Geezer Mode]Yeesh!, these kids today and thier Hippity-Hoppity[/OGM].

(sorry, I have been itching for a reason to use “Hippity-Hoppity”).


In a similar iPod genre theme - what’s the difference between Dance, Electronica-Dance and Electronica? I’ve got all three. Does anyone at the Gracenote CDDB service oversee genre descriptions, in which case the distinctions escape me, or are people free to describe music however they want, leading to these three shades of dance music?

I was recently employed in an environment with a huge number of young African-Americans. I can most certainly assure you that they called the music “hip-hop” and considered “rap” an indicator a of Clueless Suburban White Kid. Culture? Not hardly.

So according to MZA662 and ftg, it is the message that is conveyed through the music that determines if it is rap or hiphop? So 50 cent and Jay-z is rap while Talib Kwali and Jurassic 5 would be hiphop? I have heard of phrases like conscious rap to describe A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul. Is that another way to describe real HipHop music? Thanks for those that reply. I have few IRL friends that would discuss this topic intelligently.

Here’s what I’m getting out of your post. “Rap” refers to a musical technique. Say, sorta analogous to scat singing? It’s not a genre, it’s a style of vocalization. Hip-hop, in contrast, is a genre, one that prominently features rapping?

Care to clarify what this means?

Since this is about the arts, I’ll move it to Cafe Society.

DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

(Sometimes, you know, I just wonder …)

I repeat: The college-age African-Americans (drawn from around the country) I knew used only the term “hip-hop” to refer to the music. None used the term “rap” at all. They considered anyone who did use it a poser. There was absolutely no concept of “culture” involved.

The preferred term MAY now be hip-hip but old school hip-hop is still rap. I say rap, and I dare anyone to call ME a poseur.

No sense of hip-hop culture at all, eh? No one listens to Nas, The Roots, Tweet, Missy, Nelly? They don’t buy RocaWear, Sean John, FUBU, Pelle Pell, Phat Farm or Baby Phat for their kids? Nobody wears kicks like Tims, Lugz, Nikes, Marc Ecko or Adidas? They don’t use hip-hop slang like “booty call,” “tip drill” or “butterheads”? Nobody wants to drink Cristal or Courvousier, Red Bull or Mad Dog 20/20? There’s no preference for music from the Dirty South, Miami Bass, and the old East/West dichotomy? No luv for Buffy, Poetic, Easy E, Biggie, 'Pac, Aaliyah, Lisa Lopes or Jam Master Jay? No grafitti artists, turntablists, beat producers, breakdancers, DJs? No one’s using the latest iPods, cellphones with hiphop ringtones, PSPs, watches Snoop Dogg porn or Urbanworks DVDS? No Daily Show or Boondocks? No blinging? Don’t front.

Hip-hop culture is global, insidious. If they don’t consider themselves part of the culture, either you or they have not honestly considered the term, “culture.”

Askia, I don’t think that we need to argue whether hiphop is a culture or not. My posting is not trying to change the mindset of the ignorant. What I want to know is how do people define the music of hiphop? Do i describe it as belonging to the genre of hiphop or rap, or is there even a differentiation between the 2?

Is a butterhead anything like a butterface?

Ludicrous. Can I call you “Luda?” Well, I get it, but we’re supposed to be dispelling ignorance. I thought it might help the cause to throw up a few dozen artifacts, aspects and artists in American hip-hop culture. Anybody who tells me young blacks in college don’t think hiphop is a mainstream culture is offering suspect disinformation.

Hiphop music as a really, really, really broad category that includes subgroups such as Philly neo-soul R&B, Spanish hip-hop, dirty south rap, West Coast gangsta rap and everything revered as New York old school rap. It may or may not include MCing, DJing, sampled vocals and beats, beatboxing, breaking and battling. But it can also include music as disparate as Wu Tang’s solo artists like Ghostface Killer, The RZA and Ol’ Dirty, or the Neptunes, or Outkast, D-12 and Wyclef’s jams with Bob Dylan, Santana and that Puerto Rican mami from City High whose name I’m forgetting because she and that group just seemed to drop off. So if your music contains, say, three or more of these elements, it’s probably hip-hop – that, or some of these weird rock/rap/disco/pop/r&b/whatever hybrids.

Rapping, MCing and singing are vocal hip-hop forms. Turntabling, sampling, producing beats are generally hip-hop instrumentations. Beyond that you’re own your own.

Silver Fire. LOL. I hadn’t heard “butterface” – but yeah! Prolly! Only Butterhead is little worse because it can mean the girl’s face as well as her hairstyle or earrings or piercings or makeup or whatever.

“Let’s give it up for all the butterheads! Cuz eveything looks good – but her head.”

it’s hard to define the difference, but there most certainly is one.

rap…gestures…that’s the shit you hear on the radio. the one hook played over & over again, yelling, generally incomprehensible or about 5th-grade vocabulary, and corresponding lyrical themes (pussy, bling, & alcohol about sums it up, with some occasional blasting-on-fools). and yeah, mostly that IS what white kids listen to… there is some, however, that definitely cannot be considered hip-hop if only based on the musical aspect, that many black (and non-black) people who like hip-hop listen to proudly. these few might get mislabeled as hip-hop simply because of the negative connotations associated with rap anymore.
hip-hop as a genre is less concerned with a tough or powerful appearance, more introspective, and more musical… might actually have a beat or melody with some complexity, might utilize more than five keys on a keyboard/piano, might be concerned with topics outside physical pleasure or notoriety, might even express societal or political viewpoints.

the separation is harder to describe than to practice, for me. I hear a song, or several songs by a group/artist, and something in my head just goes “that’s rap” or “that’s hip-hop”. except Outkast. for some reason they are just right on the fence for me.

Call me Luda, Askia ; I’m down with the whole brevity thing. Yeah i guess you have a point. HipHop encompasses a variety of music. I just have trouble putting Gangstarr under the same genre as say Juvenile. I do feel as Nevermore and others allude to, that “rap” is starting to embody bad connotations. It seems that eventually it will be: pop is to rock as rap is to hiphop. I do feel that some songs by ear appear to be either strictly rap or strictly hiphop, yet occasionally i hear a song that can go anywhere, or even the same artist will jump the fence and how do i deal with that when categorizing my music?

see, this is one of those clear-cut cases. Juvenile = rap; Gangstarr = hip-hop.

shrug if it’s very distressing, make two copies of it & put one in both :wink:

The rap vs. hip-hop dichotomy as presented above is ridiculous.

Just because a rapper has a “better” message or vocalizes in a superior manner or comes at you with “big words” or whatever doesn’t mean that he’s hip-hop and Juvenile is rap.

It’s a style of vocalization, plain and simple. The most avant-garde conscious rap is still rap. Having spent a good bit of time around the scene, the assertion that “young African-Americans refer to it exclusively as hip-hop” is ridiculous and completely off.

There is rap music. There is hip-hop music. Juvenile is rap music. The Roots are rap music. Both are hip-hop music. By the same token, DJ Krush is not rap music. DJ Krush is hip-hop music.

i think a quote from someone who is very involved in Hiphop could sum it up pretty well.

“Rap is something you do, Hiphop is something you live” - Krs-One