Rap is a kind of music that is characterised by a sort of “speech” on musical base (beat). “R.A.P” is an acronym for “rhythm and poetry”. This is the typical music of the American ghetto, where people challenges each other in what is callled “freestyle battle”; in these battles people “rap” on a “beat” without a text, they have to talk about something that could be a free choice or there could be a theme.

Rap music is based on a search of rhymes, assonances, metaphors and retorical figures sung or spoken on a musical base characterised by uniform rhythms. Making rhymes is not easy but this is the typical feature of this music. It allows “rappers” to talk about everything, there is not a main theme for everyone, but the most popular is criticising the society in which they live. This kind of music is used to denounce discriminations and injustices and rappers, who come from different social contexts, show a rebel and aggressive image.   

Rappers come from the streets, so their language is full of threath words, but this is only to show in a rough way their point of view about something. Lots of rappers have had a troubled past, some of them come from American ghettos but “rapping”  allows them to dispatch that rough world. “Eminem” is an American rapper considered now one of the biggest on the American rap scene thanks to some songs like “Love the way you lie”; Rihanna, with her “Lose your self”, has got diamonds certifications and founded his own record house ; “50 cent” has been described as a “master of the nuanced art of lyrical brevity”, and he has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and won several awards, including a Grammy Award; “Dr. Dre” is a very famous discographic producer that became famous with his musical hit “Still D.R.E” ; Snoop Dogg, getting diamond certification; “Tupac”, murdered when he was 25 years old, is now considered the icon of American anti-racist rappers.

From rap, another genre of music was born: Trap music. This is similar to Rap music, but it is more catchy at the expanse of the content of songs. “Trappers” are the habit of talking about jewelry, gold, alchool, drugs and something else. A lot of trappers talk about social, political, personal problems and love too. In the American scene, the most important are “Migos”, “Post Malone” very famous with singles like “Congratulations” and “Rockstar” and for the “Spiderman: in to the Spider-verse”, soundtrack: “Sunflower”; “Travis Scott”, one of the biggest American trappers,  became famous with a lot of singles, expecially with “Goosebumps” and others. Trap and Rap are not two music genres that are divided from others: so there are some collaborations between rappers and trappers but also there are collaborations (featuring) with no-rappers: Eminem collaborated with Rihanna for the single “Love the way you lie”, Snoop Dogg collaborated with Katy Perry for the single “California girls”, Post Malone collaborated with Justin Bieber for the single “Dejà vu”.

This type of music is not only a male music: in the American scene there are some female singers that are very famous and sometimes are better than male singers. The most famous is Nicki Minaj, that is not only a rapper, so some of her songs are not rap songs, but pop songs. She also mixes rap and other musical genres in her songs. She became very popular singing “Starship” in 2012. Nicki is considered the queen of the rap music. The year 2019 was a great time for women of rap. The doors opened to all female artists and femmininity in rap music was more alive than ever. Different sounds, images, messages and personalities succeded in the mainstream music and top artists like Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rapsody broke multiple records. Cardi B has become very famous with the song “Bodak Yellow” and featured a Maroon 5’s song called “Girls like You”; Megan Thee Stallion, one othe biggest stars, has brought the power to the famale rap music  and Rapsody mixes witty lyrics over smooth soul beats like in “Eve” an ode to powerful black women before her.

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Gabriele Maccari


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