Rap Styles

Learn about different rap styles from hip-hop performer Chris Kazi Rolle in this Howcast video.

So, like anything, martial arts, dance, there are styles of rap. And these styles of rap can be categorized in many ways. One way they can be categorized is in regions. So, rappers from the east coast rap differently than rappers from the west coast. Also, rappers from the Midwest or rappers from down south. So, that’s first. Because the slang, the dialect, the cadence, it’s very much connected to the region in which you live.

Another way to categorize rap styles is in tempo. Some rappers rap slower and some rappers are more up tempo. You find more up tempo rappers in regions like cities, where the pace of life is very fast. And in regions like the south, you have rappers who rap much slower because the tempo of life is much slower.

Another way to categorize styles is specifically in content. You have what some may call conscious rappers, who are politically aware, that are activists in the community, so they rap specifically about what’s going on in the community to create an awareness. The hip-hop legend, Chuck D, called rap "the CNN of the ghetto". It was the way that rappers began to communicate what was going on in their community to somebody else in another community.

Another style, or category of rap style, is the party MC, who is not particularly talking about anything in particular. Their subject matter can go anywhere, from fashion, to lifestyle, to having fun, to dance. So, their whole focus is to just make people have a good time.

Another rap style is one that some may call gangsta or street rap. That is all about confrontation. It’s all about being hard, about gang culture, it’s about fighting against other crews. And the purpose of it is to degrade and break down somebody else, but on the street level. Because, also, you have a battle rap style that’s more about word play and the way of being super creative about one’s self and how incredible that person is. And so those are various ways that you can categorize rap styles and find your own style.