Rap is a type of American music of African American origin in which words are recited rhythmically and at a fast pace to an instrumental background. Rap is a type of hip-hop, which is subculture made up of four elements – DJing, b-boying or breakdancing, graffiti writing and MCing or rapping. Rappers became the face of the hip hop culture in the 1980s.
A rapper or MC (emcee) rapped from his heart. Though the famous rappers prepared and rehearsed their rhymes, it is displayed as if being created spontaneously. One thing that makes it stand out is that rapping is all about the singer, his view of life etc.
Rap instrumentals are also called hip hop beats. They are the cornerstone of every Rap song. They determine the tempo and tone of the lyrics. Thirty years have seen this genre evolve as they have inspired and influenced and like someone said, the ‘impetus for a million neck breaking nods’!
What are the Rap Instruments? Evolution
Early Rap music was made with drums, synths, guitars for bass and lead using more and more synthetic sounds in the 1980s as was the practice for other kinds of popular western music.
Def Jam, a popular recording label for hip hop music used more of the drums and used drum computers called TR 808.
Sampling which was taking a portion of a sound recording and using it as an instrumental in another piece of music became popular in rap music soon after. It was the first genre to use this sort of thing. It carried on through the eighties and nineties becoming more sophisticated with tools to assist.
The Jiggy Era followed of the late nineties and early 2000s with the use of live and synth instruments and the introduction of syncopation or the introduction of stray rhythms to take you by surprise, as in where a note is expected on a beat, it happens before or after, a disturbance in the normal flow of rhythm
Since then, rap instrumentals have been a mixture of electronic, sampled and live produced music generally put together electronically. They are recorded with a computer program called DAW. These music producers who sit at their DAWs, can alter the sounds to sound like whatever they want.. But the modern rap instrumentals are basically a DAW connected to a keyboard.
A rapper uses his voice to create effects like pitch shift, harmonizer, telephone voice effects, etc. There is also a lead guitarist of a rock band. Basslines are played by bass synths or the keyboard, sometimes the bass guitar. Drum machines have replaced traditional drums and pre programmed beats layered with realtime beats of the performer can be achieved. A DJ is present with his turn tables for remixing.Sampled and live music is used too.
Hard is a word that carries great meaning in rap instrumentals. It stands for the drums that punch you in the face, or a horn that seems like it is blasting in your ear. The best rap comes with a wall of percussion. These are called the hard rap beats