This would seem a simple question. While we can’t say for sure, there’s a good chance it was an eventful time for rap, with artists like Snoop Dogg, KRS-One, and Tupac Shakur all releasing solo records, and the birth of Death Row Records.
This is a question, though, that many will likely never get into, and we hope you can appreciate the fact that we’re going to ask it anyway. This is because so little has been written about the genre — despite its obvious importance to our culture — and when you hear rappers talk about their music, you hear about everything. It’s a big deal — a “thing,” if you will, that transcends time. The difference between then and now is that the era we’re talking about has been so well written about yet so lacking: it’s only in retrospect that we’re even beginning to understand even how important rap was to the rise of hip-hop as a whole.
Rap has always been about violence, it’s just not widely known or spoken about. But it’s been one of those things that’s come to mean so much more now, especially in light of its impact on culture as a whole. Whether that’s from the music itself or the media, though, we’re still talking about a cultural event.
So what happened?
The question of when and where the genre started has been so complicated because it’s complicated to talk about. Many of the stories surrounding the genre, from the time of its inception in the mid-’70s on, are still unknown. Some of them, like the era of Wu-Tang, have already been published. But there are no authoritative studies, and the best we could come up with were studies of the mid-to-late ’60s in which rap was more or less the same thing as the music of the time.
There are two primary theories about where the genre started.
One is a mix of two, which we’ll call the first theory because of how strongly we feel that it holds the key to understanding the second theory. The second theory, which we’ll call the second theory for this very reason, may explain some of the things we can’t do. Regardless of who’s right, it’s still important to understand that both theories seem to hold a lot of weight in the grand scheme of things.
First theory: the boom-bap sound
This theory first grew out of an original
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