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Music Facts: Rap

  • The origins of rapping can be traced back centuries to griots — traveling poets, storytellers and musicians from West Africa. 

  • Rap in popular music started in the Bronx in New York City in the 1970s. It has since gone through multiple evolutions throughout the decades including: the emergence of "new school hip-hop" in the mid-'80s; the "golden age" of hip-hop and the rise of gangsta rap and West Coast rap in the late '80s and early '90s; the commercialization of mainstream rap in the late '90s; the alternative rap movement in the 2000s; and the global explosion of trap music and the so-called "SoundCloud rap" era in the 2010s. 

  • In 2017, rap and R&B became the biggest music genre in the U.S., in terms of total consumption, surpassing rock for the first time ever. 

  • Rap legends include JAY-Z, Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj, and the Notorious B.I.G. 

  • At the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2021, the Recording Academy introduced the Best Melodic Rap Performance category, formerly known as the Best Rap/Sung Performance category, to "represent the inclusivity of the growing hybrid performance trends within the rap genre."

All GRAMMY Awards and Nominations for Rap