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Flashback Friday: Rappers Define Rap (1990)



Photo: YouTube


What’s the definition of rap?


I had a conversation with a film director while attending the Seed & Spark film workshop Saturday, Oct.20. Our topic of discussion, what is the definition of real rap? The director grew up on the sounds of LL Cool J, Slick Rick, KRS-One, and many more. For me, Tupac was my main introduction into hip-hop, however growing up in Decatur GA, the sounds of Crunk and now Trap plays a significant role in my thoughts on the genre. During our conversation, the film director brought up the term “mumble rap,” which I don’t necessarily believe in.


For me, I’ve always understood Atlanta rappers and their lingo. However, that’s beside the point. The film director didn’t believe that today’s rap is real rap or represents the definition of rap. His “Aha” moment came when I told him that different generations are going to have their opinion on what real rap is or the real definition of rap. Hip-hop has been able to live on for decades because of it’s ever-evolving sound. While I love the sounds of Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Tupac Shakur, and many more, I also enjoy the rap of today.


Years from now, there will be another sub-genre that’s added to hip-hop whether it be another form of Crunk, Trap, Gangsta, Hyphy, East Coast, or whatever. Still, the point is everyone’s going to have their definition of rap. For me, hip-hop and rap go hand in hand. It’s the beat, the lyrics, the feeling; it’s everything together to create one perfect harmony. I said it before, and I’ll repeat it, it’s the most beautiful storyteller.


For this Flashback Friday, check out this 1990 video of rappers like Ice T, Chuck D, Lakim Shabazz, and more giving their opinion on the definition of rap:



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