Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (2023)

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (1)

Although you can trace your roots earlier,rap and hip hopemerged in the late 1980s and 1990s.

With its emphasis on rhythm and words, one could argue that rap is a modern form of poetry.

With famous rappers regularly selling out venues and concerts, it's obvious that rap is a popular music genre.

From its emotional and raw nature to its ability to relate, here are 10 reasons why rap is so popular.

Why is rap so popular? (10 reasons)

1. Talk about injustice

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (2)

One of the reasons rap is so popular is that many tracks have lines about injustice.

Rap as a whole tends to defy the injustices observed and felt by specific communities.

It sheds light on specific injustices and brings listeners together to address them.

More importantly, rap gives its listeners a little hope.

When someone feels they have suffered great injustice, they can feel lonely, angry, and frustrated.

They may feel isolated from the rest of society because society has chosen them.

Listening to rap can give them comfort and hope.

The lyrics acknowledge their struggle.

While rap often contains violent lyrics, they don't obviously inspire viewers to take action.

Instead, they acknowledge the listener's pain and offer a harmless way to process their feelings about the issue.

There are several communities, especially minorities, that experience injustice every day.

Rap gives them something to share.

They can release their frustration and anger in a healthy way by listening to the music or singing it out loud themselves.

It can become cathartic for them.

Rap is popular because it helps victims of injustice stand up and keep fighting to find a place in the world.

2. A melting pot of culture

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (3)

Rap is a unique blend of different cultures.

although it ismainly associated with Africa, also has its roots in Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.

These countries often had chiefs or shamans who spoke to the beat.

Some created poems, then set them to music and spoke or sang them.

These traditions eventually found their way to New York and other major cities.

They mingled and formed the basis of rap.

With a diverse mix of cultures coming together to create rap, it stands to reason that many see rap as something that brings people together.

Artists like Eminem broke even more barriers to introducing music to white audiences.

Rap is popular because it's available to everyone.

Even if you haven't lived a life of poetry, there will surely be some lyrics that speak to you.

The mixture of different cultures also makes it unique.

It allows rap to change and bring different styles out of it.

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It's a versatile kind of music.

3. Insider-Genre

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (4)

When rap first hit the streets, it wasn't mainstream.

It was something that only certain people or groups of people would hear.

For example, rap was something gangsters mostly listened to because many gangsters or former gangsters were rappers.

His songs referenced the gangster lifestyle.

He spoke to those who were also part of the lifestyle or had associations with the lifestyle.

As rap started to grow and move beyond gangsters, it was still something not many people heard.

You can think of it as an internal genre.

Only those who knew him listened to him or watched his performances.

Since rap was neither widely known nor universally accepted, enjoying rap made you feel part of something special.

It's no different than other music subgenres that don't have large audiences.

The feeling of being part of something small and intimate is special.

Although rap is mainstream today, or at least some genres of it, there are still some rap traditionalists who stay true to what rap used to be.

Fans of these particular rap artists probably still feel part of something small and intimate.

Even mainstream rap fans are likely to feel part of a special community, as older generations are still particularly negative about rap.

It is considered rebellious to enjoy rap music.

It also attracts a certain type of person.

They do not like to belong to a larger group that is considered socially acceptable.

They like to go against social boundaries and restrictions.

Rap is popular because its fans feel part of something small and special.

4. Emphasis on singing

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (5)

Rap means “rhythm and poetry”.

Listening to certain rappers proves that rap in its purest form is really like listening to poetry set to music.

That's because rap's emphasis is on lyrics and vocals.

It's about how someone announces the words and uses them to set a tempo.

Some of the ways rappers use words are remarkable.

They are able to create a melody simply by using syllables and sounds.

However, rap isn't just about how the words sound together.

It is also about the meaning of words.

Some might consider rap low music because of its themes, but if you were to listen to some of the greatest rappers of all time you would find that they use a significant amount of high vocabulary.

Rap is as informative as it is educational.

It's popular because people appreciate the kind of skill it takes to put together a rap.

Not only do rappers have to put words together to rhyme or create rhythm, they also have to memorize those words.

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Because rap is a sequence of words, it doesn't have a recurring structure.

Then you get into areas like pop music and hip-hop.

Rap is an endless stream of conscious words that the rapper must remember when performing.

When the rapper takes part in an impromptu rap battle, his skills and talent really shine.

A rapper who can create a rhythm while stringing words together into a great poem is something to watch.

Rap is popular because fans realize how difficult it is to put together great rap.

5. Spread quickly across the internet

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (6)

To determine why rap music is popular, you also need to consider when it started.

Rap became very popular in the 1990s.

This was right at the time when computers were becoming more advanced and the Internet was just beginning to take shape.

In the 1990s, people could burn CDs and share music much more easily than in previous generations.

This made it easier to share music and introduce others to music.

When the internet took off, rap became even easier to spread.

Whether it's streaming music, posting indie raps to YouTube, or sharing music on websites, rap emerged at a time when it was easier than ever to listen to, find, and share music.

This has certainly helped increase its popularity.

Older music genres like rock didn't have that luxury.

It slowed down because their fans had to wait for the band to release an album.

So they could only listen to their music with turntables, cassette players or CD players.

They couldn't share their music over long distances because the internet didn't exist yet.

As a result, it was also more difficult for new rock acts to catch on unless they were already signed to a record label.

Rap came at just the right time to reach a wider audience via the internet.

People could record and post rap battles happening on the street.

Because it has a wider reach, it has historically been able to garner more fans faster than other genres.

6. Rappers aren't always tied to a record label

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (7)

Another reason rap is so popular is that rappers aren't always tied to a record label.

Thanks to the internet, rappers can gain exposure and develop a following outside of a record label.

Although it's difficult, it's not impossible.

sites likeSpotifyeYoutubeMake it easy for a rap artist to go out without a record label.

Because they're not tied to a label, rap artists can be authentic.

They are relentless in their uniqueness.

This appeals to a lot of fans who don't like music artists who represent a label and not their true selves.

For example, when some rap artists are signed to a record label, there can be some pressure to act or look a certain way.

They can also have limitations on what they can rap.

Fans may not like these artists because they contradict what rap is really about.

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You can feel the same way about other genres of music as well.

Labels push their artists to be similar because that sells.

Rap artists have an easier time standing out on their own.

They can win fans just by rapping about their truths and being authentic.

It's authenticity that makes rap popular.

It offers the kind of unfiltered music fans love who experience watered-down lyric fatigue.

7. Relevant

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (8)

Another reason rap is so popular is that many find its content relevant and relatable.

Even if not everyone roams the streets like a gangster, they can still identify with other letters.

For example, many rap songs describe feelings of being overwhelmed.

Almost everyone is likely to feel oppressed at some point in their life, although the level of oppression varies.

If you're frustrated in life because you can't change something, rap is something you can identify with.

There are songs about the frustration of not being able to change the system.

There are songs about living in a violent world.

If you grew up in an abusive home or were in an abusive relationship, these lyrics could speak to you.

Even the rap songs about making money are relatable.

Everyone wants to make lots of money and spend it worry-free.

When rap talks about the police, it's probably also addressing certain communities.

When he highlights state and federal government corruption, there are those who identify with the lyrics.

It speaks to them more than certain pop or rock songs.

Not everyone can relate to breakups when they're too busy surviving to date.

Rap is popular because people can identify with its lyrics.

It's relevant to her life.

8. Different styles

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (9)

People unfamiliar with rap often say that everything sounds the same.

This couldn't be further from the truth.

Just listen to Eminem, Kanye, Biggie, and Tupac to instantly see the differences between them.

Like many other genres of music, rap hasdifferent styles.

You could even say it has different subgenres.

This is what makes rap popular because even if you don't like a certain style of rap, you might like another.

It's no different than being a rock fan.

You might like classic rock but might not be a fan of metal or country rock.

Since rap is all about rhythm and lyrics, there are many different styles out there.

It's popular because people probably like at least one style of rap.

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Even if they don't like rap as a whole, there might be a certain artist who uses a certain style that they like.

It's versatile, and that versatility allows rap to reach all types of listeners.

9. Complex

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (10)

A lot of people like rap because they realize how complex it is.

A rapper's ability to break a word down into its syllables and string them together to create something that has a certain rhythm is remarkable.

It's even more impressive when it's freshly made and improvised.

To be able to do this requires a high level of intelligence.

Great rappers are essentially wordsmiths.

Rap fans may like the music, but they also admire the talent that it takes to rap.

Rap is much more difficult than other genres of music.

Pop, for example, is primarily concerned with creating catchy phrases that get into people's heads.

Most genres of music focus their attention on rhymes.

That's not the case with rap.

Rap requires a lot more analysis and thought than just looking for words that rhyme together.

While rhyming is an important part of rapping, the words must also make sense.

You have to make an impact.

Because there are so many variables involved in rapping, fans appreciate the effort the rapper put into a great song.

10. Emotional

Why is rap so popular? (10 Reasons) (11)

A final reason rap is so popular is that it's emotional.

The lyrics of a rap song can evoke strong emotions in people.

Rap artists who are part of the gangster lifestyle can write lyrics about losing friends to the lifestyle.

Those who are also part of the lifestyle can relate.

Even people outside of the lifestyle can relate to it as everyone loses someone at some point in their life.

Lyrics can evoke feelings of sadness and loss.

Some may also speak of healing from such losses.

This can evoke feelings of hope and catharsis.

Other artists might rap about drug use and their battle with addiction.

You can get caught up in the heavy details of isolation and feel out of control.

Those who have experienced the same thing can feel certain things when listening to these lyrics.

Others may rap about injustices they have faced and persecution because of this or that.

It can elicit anger or understanding from your listeners.

Rap can evoke emotion in its listeners because its lyrics are often quite raw.

They are real, authentic and often based on true events in the rapper's life.

Because of their rawness, they often strike a nerve or tug at the listener's heart while other genres of music may not.

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When music moves the soul, it only makes sense that people would like it.


Rap is a popular form of music that incorporates rhythm and poetry.

There are many different styles and genres of rap, which helps it appeal to a wider audience.


Why did rap get so popular? ›

They often represented the lower socioeconomic classes and lived in low-income areas. The music was their way to make themselves heard and noticed. It was also a way to deal with the difficult reality and find like-minded people. By the 1990s, rap music wasn't only a new and popular genre in music but also a culture.

What are 5 characteristics of rap? ›

Hip Hop's Five Pillars: MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Graffiti, and Knowledge, were born out of the collective spirit of excitement and innovation that describes this moment in Hip-Hop's history.

What is special about rap? ›

The components of rap include "content" (what is being said), "flow" (rhythm, rhyme), and "delivery" (cadence, tone). Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that it is usually performed off-time to musical accompaniment.

Where is rap most popular? ›

Unsurprisingly, the biggest global audience for hip-hop music is found in the United States.

What rap does to the brain? ›

During freestyle rapping, the researchers observed increases in brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for motivation of thought and action, but decreased activity in dorsolateral prefrontal regions that normally play a supervisory or monitoring role.

What are 4 characteristics of rap? ›

Rap is an African-American term that describes a stylized way of speaking. Salient features of a rap include metaphor, braggadocio, repetition, formulaic expressions, double entendre, mimicry, rhyme, and "signifyin'" (i.e., indirect references and allusions).

How do you explain rap? ›

rap, musical style in which rhythmic and/or rhyming speech is chanted (“rapped”) to musical accompaniment.

How did rap start? ›

Rap as a genre began at block parties in New York City in the early 1970s, when DJs began isolating the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs and extending them. MCs tasked with introducing the DJs and keeping the crowd energized would talk between songs, joking and generally interacting with the audience.

Who started rap Why? ›

Rap began in 1971, in the Bronx, with Kool Herc, who was from Jamaica. At block parties, Kool Herc would play two turntables by hand and manipulate the sound to create an entirely new sound, while he rapped the lyrics from the song he was playing.

Who made rap first? ›

The major pioneers of rapping were Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Kurtis Blow, and the Cold Crush Brothers, whose Grandmaster Caz is controversially considered by some to be the true author of some of the strongest lyrics in “Rapper's Delight.” These early MCs and deejays constituted rap's old school.

Who made rap popular? ›

DJ Kool Herc is widely credited with kicking off the genre. His back-to-school parties in the 1970s were the incubator of his idea, where he used his two record turntables to create loops, playing the same beat over again, and extending the instrumental portion of a song.

When was rap most popular? ›

Hip hop became a best-selling genre in the mid-1990s and the top-selling music genre by 1999.

What is the impact of rap? ›

Rap opens doors for young artists to express themselves. Rap also allows for young blacks to articulate a certain cultural perspective and help others understand what is going on in the minds of young black people in the urban environment, he said. Price said the music was about expression.

Why is rap a good influence? ›

The influence of rap music until present day has been strictly positive as it provides an alternative to violence, drug use, and gang activity for Black American youth growing up in the inner city as well as a resource for understanding the discriminatory world they live in.

Why is it called rap? ›

Initially the word rap meant to strike or to hit. A few centuries later a slight variation of this definition appeared which meant to speak or talk. In America around the 1960's it began to pop up in the black community and was used as a slang word to mean that someone was talking or having a conversation.

Who is Number 1 in the rap? ›

The top 100 most-streamed artists of 2022 is experiencing a rap takeover. Sitting at number one is Drake, who is now this year's top-streamed artist so far with at 6.7 billion in streams.

Is rap music good for mental health? ›

Many popular rap artists are incorporating their experiences with anxiety, depression, and PTSD into their lyrics. Black culture experts believe that these messages will help to remove the stigma from mental health and encourage more people to seek help for their disorders.

Can rap music help you study? ›

If you're like many students suffering from anxiety and stress, try listening to rap music while studying. A study done by Cambridge University showed that hip-hop music provides an uplifting effect on its listeners that can help them accept, manage and deal better with mental health issues.

Does rap boost confidence? ›

Rappers give an unwavering message of embracing their true self and being authentic—they don't care about what other people have to say and aren't afraid of any judgement. They teach listeners to be confident in their originality and express themselves in whatever way they want.

What was the first rap? ›

The Sugar Hill Gang's 12-inch single "Rapper's Delight" - released in 1979 - became the first rap song to be played on the radio.

What is rap structure? ›

Nearly every rap song consists of three basic parts: intros, hooks (choruses) and verses. Occasionally, you'll see some other elements, but usually rappers stick to these three. Most songs begin with some instrumental bars, which are typically followed by a verse, although some do start with a hook.

Is rap easy to learn? ›

On the other hand, rapping is a skill that can be learned. Those who know nothing about it or who seem to have no internal rhythm or flow can still practice enough to become good, though unlike their more gifted counterparts, they have a much more difficult journey ahead of them.

What is an rap answer? ›

R.A.P (Restate Answer Prove) Presentation

You can say a lot in less time by restating what your question is and then answering it, or proving it with evidence.

What is rap music called? ›

Hip hop music, also known as rap music, is a style of music which came into existence in the United States during the mid- 1970s, and became a large part of modern pop culture during the 1980s. It consists of two main components: rapping ( MCing) and DJing ( production and scratching).

Why do rappers have gold teeth? ›

What began as a dental necessity soon became a fashion item. It's not obvious who the first rapper to wear a grill was — some credit Atlanta rap pioneers Kilo Ali and Raheem the Dream — but when Slick Rick released his debut album in 1988, his glittery grin changed hip-hop forever.

What year did rap start? ›

Rap as we know it first came into being in 1973, in the Bronx, New York. DJ Kool Herc, the founding father of hip-hop, used to host events such as school parties.

Who was the first female rapper? ›

Sharon Green (born 1962), considered the "first female rapper" or emcee, known by the rap moniker MC Sha-Rock. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, she grew up in the South Bronx, New York City during the earliest years of hip hop culture.

How old is hip hop? ›

The birth of hip hop is believed to date back to Aug. 11, 1973, where DJ Kool Herc, real name Clive Campbell, and his friend hosted a back-to-school party in Bronx, New York. Eighteen-year-old Campbell and his friend Coke La Rock are often referred to as the fathers of hip-hop.

Who first sing rap song? ›

As with most genres of music you can argue for hours about what "rap" actually is, but the first incontrovertable "rap" record would be "Rappers Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang which came out in about 1979.

How popular is rap 2022? ›

Overall, total equivalent album units in the U.S. music market grew 9.3% so far in 2022 over the same period in 2021, with on-demand streaming up 11.6% over that span as well. And R&B/hip-hop led the way as both the top genre and the one with the most growth by volume, pacing the market once again.

How popular is hip-hop now? ›

Luminate's mid-year report revealed that R&B/hip-hop still has the largest overall market share of any genre in the United States with 27.6% — but that's a decline from last year's 28.4%, even though it widened its lead at the top in terms of overall equivalent album units.

What was the first #1 rap song? ›

On Nov. 3, 1990, rap cemented its finally unignorable mainstream influence with its first-ever No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100: Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby." Here are 15 more of the most…

Who are the big 3 in rap? ›

Ranking the 'Big 3' (Kendrick Lamar, Drake, J. Cole) Every Year Since 2010 | Complex.

What is modern rap called? ›

Right now mainstream hip-hop—and really mainstream music in general from country to pop—is all about that trap beat. Trap has many, many subgenres that we'll unpack later, but in general, the genre originated in Atlanta and was pioneered by producers like Metro Boomin and Zaytoven.

When did rap become so popular? ›

In the early 1990s, the "hip-hop/rap" genre exploded to become, by far, the most common genre of music on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for two decades (see the graphs below).

Who started the rap trend? ›

DJ Kool Herc, the founding father of hip-hop, used to host events such as school parties. In one of these events, DJ Kool wanted to try something new, and with the help of his two turntables, he was able to extend a children's song breakbeat section as long as he wanted.

Why did rap become popular in the 80s? ›

By the mid-1980s, hip hop music was becoming popularized because of artists like Run DMC who incorporated rock music into their raps in order to appeal to different audiences. Rappers like LL Cool J began adding melodic hooks to their songs to add a “catchy” or memorable part.

When did rap become the most popular genre? ›

Hip hop became a best-selling genre in the mid-1990s and the top-selling music genre by 1999.

Who is the father of rap? ›

SIMON: Gil Scott-Heron's pointed lyrics punctured consumer culture and racial inequality in America. He's been called one of the godfathers of rap, and his lyrics inspired hip-hop artists who followed with their own messages.

Why is rap important to society? ›

Oftentimes, people allow the stigma surrounding hip-hop to overshadow the power of the music. However, people may be missing the point of the messages that can be expressed through music. Hip-hop can bring awareness to many significant cultural issues such as racism and sexism, while also evoking emotion.

Why is it called hip hop? ›

Hip-hop combines two slang terms. Hip, which means “in the know,” has been a part of African American vernacular since the late nineteenth century. Hop represents the hopping movement exhibited by hip-hop performers.

How did rap get big? ›

Rapping first gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1970s as a kind of street art, especially among African American teenagers. But it wasn't until 1979, when the Sugarhill Gang released their breakaway hit, "Rapper's Delight", that record producers took notice of this emerging musical genre.

Who listens to rap the most? ›

PART ONE: The Hip-Hop Audience

Almost two thirds of the audience is between the ages of 18-34. Very few are over the age of 65. There are slightly more women than men in the audience, but there are slightly more women than men in the general population.

Which is more popular rock or rap? ›

Rock music is still the most popular music in America — just not among young people. While it is the clear favorite among Americans overall, adults under the age of 30 rank it third, behind hip hop and pop music.


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