Hip Hop Central


Best Rap Songs in 2016 (so far)
July 17, 2016, 10:29 am
Filed under: General

Choosing the best rap song in 2016 (so far) is harder than it sounds. Naturally, this is going to be a completely subjective list at the best of times, since people are going to naturally argue which rap song is better or worse. People do have to pay attention to the rap songs that seem to be doing better in the charts, which can help people when it comes to deciding which songs are the best. Naturally, people will argue over the genre boundaries of rap in order to determine which songs really qualify as rap songs to begin with, which complicates things more. Arguments over definitions can make lists like this controversial.

Further Reading: 50 Saddest Rap Songs

However, this method is always going to create a situation where all the hidden gems get shortchanged and the same names come up over and over again. Rap fans can only use the best rap songs in 2016 (so far) list as a guide, and a very temporary one at that. However, even these kinds of guides can introduce people to lots of great new songs.

 

Best Rap Songs in 2016 (so far)

 

  1. Once Dance by Drake

 

Much as its title suggests, this is just the sort of catchy song that is going to liven up any dance floor. Its driving beat and straightforward lyrics should manage to wake anyone up, making this one of the most perfect fast songs available today. The lyrics even seem to speak of the healing power of music, which is certainly a theme that many listeners are going to be able to relate to on many different levels. This song seems to present that sentiment in a didactic manner while also embodying this basic principle.

Further Reading: http://hiphopredux.com/2016/02/09/6-different-types-of-rappers/

 

  1. Famous by Kanye West

 

Songs written by famous people about fame are nothing new, but this one does manage to stand out in many different important ways. The chorus of the song combined with the sharper lyrics related to the price of fame manages to give people all that they need emotionally to understand the wages of fame. Many of the rhymes that Kanye West uses in the song are very effective and self-referential. People will often give artists a certain degree of credit for being willing to criticize themselves if necessary. A willingness to criticize oneself and one’s industry can mean a lot.

Further Reading: 10 Best Rap Hits Since 2000

 

  1. Law by Yo Gotti

 

Many rap songs are famous for the fact that they have great lyrical and rhythmic hooks, and this one is no exception. People will hear it once and they will be repeating the hooks to themselves over and over again. This hook has an effective simplicity to it as well, which means that the song lends itself well to a lot of different parody versions. Fans of the song seem to make up their own parody versions off the bat, which seems to indicate that this is a song that makes it easy for people to stay engaged with.

 

  1. Kiss it Better by Rihanna

 

This song has a strong driving beat behind it and is more melodic than a lot of rap songs. Some people would say that Rihanna’s music strains the boundaries between rap and other genres, but this one has more of a rap feel than many of her other songs. The lyrics have an ambiguous feel to them, which can leave them open to interpretation for the people who are either looking for a dark love song or a song that is more about the dark side of love and attraction.

 

  1. Needed Me by Rihanna

 

Rihanna’s beautiful vocals manage to balance out some of the darker aspects of these lyrics. The rap lyrics themselves almost have an improvisational feel to them, which makes them feel more traditional than some modern rap lyrics that people enjoy today. While the lyrics do open themselves to interpretation, they also manage to express some straightforward sentiments that people will find in many rap songs. This is a song rap fans will really appreciate.

 

  1. No More Parties in LA by Kanye West

 

This song has an excellent start to it that will lead people in right away. From there, the song seems to practically explode into the rapid-fire rapping that has made many rap artists famous. Kanye West is a somewhat divisive figure in the rapping community, but this is one of the many songs on the Life of Pablo album where he really demonstrates that he does have real talent as a rapper. This is a song that people will have to listen to twice at least.

 

  1. Glowed Up by Kaytranada

 

This is a song that feels like two songs in one that have been combined for artistic reasons, and both of them are effective. The first half is more languid, and the second half is much more pleasingly energetic and powerful. Both halves have clever lyrics that people will have to really listen for, and they both benefit from strong synths or percussive beats. The music video for the song is just as good in terms of managing its conflicting emotions.

Further Reading: Evolution of Hip Hop

 

  1. Zoney by Wiz Khalifa

 

People who are looking for rap music that is more socially progressive and that deals more with issues of poverty will like this song. It isn’t heavy-handed about the issues that it deals with, but people will still walk away thinking about the issues. Wiz Khalifa’s opening to the song even touches on some universal themes about big dreams that everyone can understand and that then become tragic in the context of the rest of the song.

 

  1. Yeah, I Said It by Rihanna

 

This song has a meditative feel to it that makes it very effective. Rihanna’s vocal talent once again shines through. The nature of the song and its basic rhythmic hooks have a defiance to them that people will find appealing. This song is once again melodic enough to set it apart from some rap songs, but many people appreciate the genre-bending approach. This is a song that people will be humming to themselves all day long.

Many artists have made multiple appearances on this list, and for good reason! Let’s see what the rest of 2016 will bring now that we’re past the halfway mark!



Flow in Rap Music
March 21, 2016, 2:34 am
Filed under: General

What is Flow in Rap?

There has been a long old dispute on the definite meaning of flow in rap. What is flow in rap and how come each single rapper possesses a different one?

For anyone who may want to learn how to rap and freestyle perfectly, they should know it is an easy technique when worked on with the appropriate tips. The following ten tips and lessons on punch lines, wordplay, battles, flow and battles will be of great help. Freestyling is spitting the lyrics in which one makes up on there and then. While one may sneak in a single line or two which have been written earlier, most of the flow should be creative, spontaneous and improvised.

The Meaning of Flow in Rap

The easiest definition of flow in rap is to describe it as the way a person is rapping. However, that definition is pretty much vague and may be interpreted in several ways. Another explanation is needed.

“Flow is the blending of two elements, which determine the entire sound of any rapper. The two basic elements being intonation techniques and rhyme schemes.”

This is flow. Therefore, if you wish to determine a person’s flow, you simply pay attention to their intonation techniques and rhyme schemes.

Rhyme Schemes

  •  What type of rhyme words would you use
  • How many rhyming words will you have
  • Where will you place them

This is the basic of rhyme schemes.

Intonation Techniques

Intonation is the voice’s rise and fall. It is the fluctuations of someone’s voice. For instance, you can tell that the phrase “I cannot wait to see you.” may have 5 unique meanings, depending largely on the intonation made. Therefore, intonation stems from emotion and feeling.

Feel the Instrumental

Each rapper has some unique (sometimes similar) intonations style and this is since each of them possesses a different demeanor and attitude. Each rapper is viewing him in a diverse way. Therefore, the level of intonation of their bars may be different.

Think of intonation technique as the heart of the rhyme schemes. A rhyme scheme with no intonation is boring and lifeless, but once you add a good intonation pattern to it, you spring life into it.

There are Always Unique Frontiers to be Established

There is no given number or set limit of flow in rap. There are several different combinations which can be employed or introduced for something special and better still to be created.

Conclusion

Remember that if a number of rappers write a similar rhyme scheme, but make use of different intonation techniques, they will sound different totally from each other. Recent studies finds have shown that when the rappers improvise their verses, parts of their brains which are linked to organization, motivation as well as integration become active, while the portions that are responsible for self-control and monitoring become inactive.

Do not think that you are too late, because true mavericks only build on what was built already. This gives rappers a great flow and the tips above will help guide to freestyling perfection.



Evolution of Hip Hop
March 8, 2016, 3:15 am
Filed under: General

What is Hip Hop?

Hip Hop is four words… MC-ing, DJ-ing, Graf and B-Boying.

Hip Hop is a way of life. The true evolution of Hip Hop as a culture can be traced to sometime around the 1970s. Hip Hop started at block parties that were famous with African American (and Puerto Rican) youths from poor families living in South Bronx, NY City.

Hip Hop is expression through music, graffiti and dance, voicing out issues through poetic rhyming lyrics, living the life of a “hip-hopper”. But how did Hip Hop really start and where are we on Hip Hop today?

Hip Hop artists today learned and developed their path to success in many different ways. Rap music itself is an expression of poetry and rap, and some of the most successful artists of all time have learned how to become successful from their Hip Hop roots. Hip Hop Redux has a great wealth of knowledge on how these artists developed their skills and how you can too. If the following history on inceptions and present day hip hop climate inspires you, then head over there and learn more about the rapping craft and how to rap yourself!

“I hate it when they tell us how far we’ve came to be; as if our people’s history started with slavery.” – Immortal Technique

 

The Genesis: Where it All Began

As pointed out in the small intro, Hip Hop began in North America during the 70s. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1955 as Clive Campbell, DJ Kool Herc (you probably remember him as Kool Herc from the EX-Vandals graffiti crew) is arguably the “father of Hip Hop”. One thing we know for sure is that Herc used his turntabling skills to create patterned and extended “percussive” breaks with two turnatables using existing songs to create the long lasting loop effect in a flowing beat. He played this recorded music which was also accompanied by “toasting” at the block parties. This was in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue before he went on to play for local clubs later in life before retiring after a club brawl that ended up with his being stubbed.

The first time Herc did this was with music from popular genres at the time which included Disco, Funk, Soul and some bit of the Caribbean “toasting culture” when he played at a back-to-school party he hosted with the help of his sister in 1973. We can therefore safely assert that the Hip Hop culture is a combination of different borrowed life aspects that meant something to youths in the Bronx during the early 70s.

“Keep in mind when brothas start flexing the verbal skillz, it always reflects what’s going on politically, socially, and economically.” – Davey D

DJ Kool Herc later popularized the Hip Hop culture by introducing breakdancers who he called B-girls and B-boys to dance at his gigs. His toasting over the music he played (given his Jamaican descent) and the breakbeat DJ-ing style he used gave birth to Hip Hop music (beats and rap) as we know it today.

Other major players around this time were the founder and leader of the Zulu Nation, DJ Afrika Bambaataa Crew (former leader of the Black Spades street gang) who gave meaning to the four pillars of Hip Hop (B-Boying, Graffiti, Dj-ing and MC-ing). Bambaataa realized that the street gang culture could be remedied using the four Hip Hop pillars to direct the fierce competition between gangs into more socially constructive battles as opposed to the widespread violence.

More DJS who helped popularize Kool Herc’s style of DJ-ing included Jazzy Jay, Grand Wizard Theodore and Grandmaster Flash. They took what DJ Kool Herc had created and made bolder steps by incorporating sampling, scratching and cutting into the breakbeats technique. All this led to the 1979 release of the song “Rapper’s Delight” by Sugar Hill Gang which is without a doubt the first ever successful commercially produced Hip Hop song. Run DMC made “Sucker MCs” while Grandmaster Flash featured Melle Mel in “The Message” and the rest as they say… is history. It was however Lovebug Starski “Busy Bee” who gave Hip Hop its name.

The battle between DJs and their MCs had begun and there was no stopping it! Come the birth of a different dance (breakdancing) with moves possibly inspired by Earl Tucker A.K.A Snake Hips (1925) and the Hip Hop movement became a force. Hip Hop soon became poetry of the street.

 

Hip Hop Reaches Out from the Gutter

The popularity of Hip Hop grew like wild fire during the late 70s and early to mid 80s. Impoverished and unemployed African American youths together with their Puerto Rican brothers and sister who covered much of the Bronx identified a lot with this new sub-culture. Graffiti art from rival gangs and social groups were splashed all over the borough in a bid for every group to out-do the other (and own blocks) thus the rise of battling.

Since its inception, Hip Hop has not only influenced music but also the dress-code, language (dialect), and the way the youth view life or relate to social issues like economics and politics.

Hip Hop’s cross-over appeal was its driving force and the main reason why it quickly spread from the crime choked Bronx to the rest of the world. Current statistics place non-black Hip Hop audience at a staggering 75%! It moved from the “Ghetto” to suburban neighborhoods and later to boardrooms before big names like Coca Cola, McDonalds and Nike among others capitalized on the Hip Hop craze as a selling point to capture the members of this fast growing urban culture.

Today, hip-hoppers have no color or ethnicity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Asian, Hispanic, Arabic, Black or White; if you’re my “dawg” or my “nigga” then I will refer you as such without the derogatory meanings attached to it. I will lay my life down for my peoples and I’ll burst a cap in a “nigga’s arse” for messing with my fam… period!

There have been numerous non-black hip hop groups and individuals throughout time since this sub-culture hit the scene. From the Latinos we have Fat Joe, CYPRESS Hill and Big Punisher while the Asians are represented by among others the Seoul Brothers, Bubula Tribe, Bo-Yaa Tribe and Asiatic Apostles. The Whites have Vanilla Ice, The Beastie Boys and more recently Eminem who is arguably the greatest rapper who ever lived.

The spread of Hip Hop culture and associated forms of art can be attributed to the need for a particular group of people to voice their woes from the underground. This culture was also used to send messages of encouragement, love, anti-racists oppression and peace among others.

Hip Hop Spreads its Wings

Hip hop has become big business. Many record labels have signed hip hop artists who’ve turned from street life to being millionaires. One of the first successful rappers was Kurtis Blow who went on to sell more than a million copies of “The Breaks” record.

Somewhere between the early and mid 80s saw the emergence of different sub-genres of Hip Hop like Gangster rap that was pioneered by rapper Ice T from the West Coast. This was about the same time that one of the first known hip hop millionaires, Russell Simmons and Rubin (Rick) formed the ever so important recording label, Def Jam Records. This was also when cats like LL Cool J and T La Rock hit the scene and the hook was introduced to hip hop music.

Since then hip hop has grown into different territorial sub-genres such as Jazz Rap, Gangsta Rap, G-Funk, Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap, Conscious hip hop, and later alternative hip hop.

 

Hip Hop Today

Hip hop has come a long way since the 70s. The 90s were dominated by hip hop artists from LA and New York but later cats from the South like Luda Chris rose to challenge the status quo with new sounds that made hip hop even more appealing since the battles in different boroughs were now tighter. Midwesterners like Kanye West and Eminem also became icons in the hip hop business with even more sounds and styles of delivery.

Here is what the English club website says about contemporary hip hop:

“Hip hop became a major genre of popular music in the 21st century, with hip hop singles and albums topping the charts worldwide. Local hip hop scenes developed in many countries and produced successful artists like the UK’s Dizzee Rascal and Canada’s Drake. Many female rappers also became successful, including Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, Lauren Hill and Nicki Minaj. Hip hop has had a strong influence on 21st-century pop music, with many pop songs including elements of hip hop. Pop singers and rappers often collaborate to produce tracks with catchy pop choruses and rapped verses like the single See You Again, a collaboration between pop singer Charlie Puth and rapper Wiz Khalifa that topped the charts in 96 countries in 2015.”

 



10 Tips for Freestyle Rapping
March 7, 2016, 7:44 am
Filed under: General

For anyone who may want to learn how to rap and freestyle perfectly, they should know it is an easy technique when worked on with the appropriate tips. The following ten tips and lessons on punchlines, wordplay, battles, and flow will be of great help. Free styling is spitting the lyrics in which one makes up on there and then. While one may sneak in a single line or two which have been written earlier, most of the flow should be creative, spontaneous and improvised.

  1. Start Easy.

There is no need to begin with rhyming. One should actually forget anything else and make a good flow. The rhythm may be easy, with second grade level words, but still free-styling as long as the rapper is making it up. Another great resource for learning all about how to freestyle rap and become an overall better rapper can be found at Hip Hop Redux. Specifically I believe that a beginning artist should read this article entitled: How to Rap.

  1. Keep Flowing.

Mistakes are bound to be made and one may even sound stupid. Make the first rap verses the stupidest verses in order to do away with them. Despite all, keep flowing. Even if still unable to think of any rhyme, just keep flowing and stuttering over words. It is definitely inevitable that at a point some of the lines will not rhyme or will not make any sense, or even funny enough one may inadvertently diss themselves. Maintaining the flow helps in mastering it. When a mistake has been made, the rapper should do their best to incorporate the mistake into the next line or even curb all the mistakes.

  1. Rhyme

Not each line in the freestyle has to rhyme. However most of the lines probably will. Words which rhyme form the rapping foundation. As soon as one knows the word to end first line with, the mind should begin racing to find the word to use at the end of the second line. One should think of anything that rhymes, and may also be related.

  1. Rap over beats or rap over anything.

Try to flow over one of any free rap beat instrumentals or even pop in any preferred hip-hop cd’s and do it to your best. You should also rap over jazz, classical music, techno, rock, Rap even in the shower or on bus, before going to school, at lunch break, and even after dates. You can even freestyle rap when jogging in the morning and rocking the iPod.

  1. Rapping about the surroundings.

This is indeed the best type of way to show to the mass that the freestyle is real and the spit is not something that is prewritten. It also greatly pleases the crowd as it is impressive makes everyone appreciate you. One should rap about the things that are in the vicinity and also include the objects, people, actions, situations, clothing, and even sounds into the rap. One may even rap even in the shower about the type of soap being used. This is very important one has to spit things specific about the opponent. These should be the toughest-hitting punch-lines.

  1. Include Metaphors.

The use of similes and metaphors are an important part of free-styling but also advanced. They are at most of the times found to be the rapper’s cleverest and funniest lines, and they certainly differentiate the beginners from the skilled rappers. The metaphors and the similes are definitely the strength of a rapper who is advanced. He will spit relatively many more comparisons. One should ensure to learn how to appropriately use the metaphors and the rhymes will be smarter, funnier and also sound better.

  1. Reference current events.

Apart from being amazing in rhyming and using dope metaphors, the thing that is most impressive in a freestyle rapper is the ability to make timely references to the culture and incorporate them in current events. For instance, being in a cipher, rapping with about four friends a good rapper would be able to relate any trending events and able to diss each of them uniquely to add on the creativity.

  1. Pass the microphone like it is contagious.

It is good to rap in ciphers; groups of 2 or more rappers who are playing off on each other, exchanging verses. It is a major way of improving and it is indeed a lot of fun. One of the friends may beat box, and you throw a beat on the stereo, or even just freestyle over anything. Take turns on cutting in when you want or whenever someone passes the microphone to you (you may probably lack an actual microphone. One should never drop this invisible microphone. They should instead Pick it and pass it! It is also advisable to work off of other rapper’s rhymes to show off on skill. If a topic about the bible is thrown in, pick it up that free-style along the subject. Try to remain in the similar topics or shift from topics ways that are highly creative. You should expand or reference their lines.

  1. Listen to great hip hop and learn.

The best rappers around the world know how to freestyle rap on an advanced level. One should listen to their favorite rappers and even copy, though not permanently, their flows and styles to get how it is done. Check out online for videos of the best rappers free-styling and learn from them the techniques of approaching the beats and ensuring the flow is smooth, impressive, attractive and also free of verbal mistakes. This should also exhibit the manner of use of rhyme which is a major point in freestyle rapping.

kid-beats

  1. Practice.

This is all that is more important in the step towards perfection. The rapper has to get a perfect flow and the best way to achieve that is free-styling over many things and occasions as a way of practice. It becomes a time to take the rap to the streets. Rap many times and practice all day and night. Practice may not make perfect. It is however makes better results at the freestyle rapping.