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contrary to most of the shit posted here, i have supplied the ACTUAL definition:
Rapping is one of the elements of hip hop as well as the distinguishing feature of most hip hop music. It is a form of rhyming lyrics delivered rhythmically over a musical backdrop of sampling, scratching and mixing by DJs. Originally, rapping was called MCing and accompanied DJing.

Rapping (as a self-conscious artistic school) began as a variation on the toasting found in reggae, funk and dub music, mixed with influences from jazz-related performance poetry (Langston Hughes's album Weary Blues being an important example; the Beats also notable), radio DJ patter, and the tradition of playing the dozens. Among other predecessors were talking blues records and the work of artists such as James Brown and Parliament. The original rappers probably can be said to have been The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron with their recordings in the latter 1960s and earliest 1970s (such as Scott-Heron's famous "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and "Whitey on The Moon"), but, slightly later, MCs (from "Master of Ceremonies") would improvise rhymes over the beats created by dancehall and club DJs. Early raps were frequently merely a sequence of boasts, or attempts to upstage the other MCs. See roots of hip hop music for earlier forms that also contributed to rapping.

The first contemporary hip hop song released on a major label was 1979's "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by the Fatback Band (featuring the rapper King Tim III). The Sugarhill Gang followed the same year with "Rapper's Delight" (based on Chic's "Good Times") which became a major hit and opened the floodgates for the nascent genre. In 1980, Blondie became one of the first acts to feature a rap sequence in a pop song, resulting in the #1 hit "Rapture."

Descendents and influence
Rapping is one of the four elements of hip hop: MCing (rapping), DJing (mixing, cutting and scratching), graffiti (tagging), and breakdancing. However, in the course of rap's history, new musical styles developed that use rapping - especially rapcore, also known as rap/rock or rap/metal, first introduced by crossover pioneer Run-DMC's collaboration with Aerosmith in 1986. Some alternative rap has musically very little to do with mainstream hip hop music. Often consisting of bizarre soundscapes and vivid lyrics, abstract hip-hop has developed, largely in the underground.

Music outside of the United States has taken the rap style and blended it with completely different elements. Japanese dance music, for example, often uses rapping to complement or break up the singing parts, with lyrics containing upbeat themes set to energetic rhythms and clean, warm synths. Rap was instantly popular in the United Kingdom, perhaps building on the great popularity of dub and reggae toasting. MCs also became a fixture at Jungle and UK Garage events, whilst a recent offshoot of garage, dubbed Grime, has focused on rapping, making stars of rappers such as Dizzee Rascal and Wiley.

The importance of rhyme
Undoubtedly, the most important element of rap lyrics is rhyme. In other forms of poetry, rhymes that span many syllables are often considered whimsical but in hip hop, the ability to construct raps with large sets of rhyming syllables is considered a sign of intelligence and achievement. For the same reason, rap music is sometimes referred to as "street poetry" or "street rhyme". To accomplish rhymes of this sophistication, rappers can use single rhyming words (intellectual/ineffectual) or they can use multiple words whose constituent syllables rhyme (octoroon/Doctor Dooom). Rap lyrics often contain long series of lines each of which rhyme with each other. Occasionally, entire songs are composed in this fashion where all lines rhyme with each other. Of course, the more intricate the rhymes are, the more abstract the song becomes. This is because the more focus given to impressive rhyming, the harder it becomes to write coherently. Battle raps can be written with complex rhyming techniques easier than raps that tell a story or convey a message because a battle rap can employ a vast array of metaphors to conjure images of rapper to rapper combat.

Rhyme is also integral to Freestyle battles. These contests pit two rappers together to lyrically insult and intimidate each other with impromptu lyrics. The ability to construct clever rhymes to insult the opponent "off the top of the dome" (dome being slang for head) is a critical skill to winning these contests.

Different types of rhymes
Not all rhymes used in rap are clear cut. Often, consonance, assonance, half rhymes, and internal rhyme schemes are employed. Making a distant word with similar sounds at some points sound like a rhyme is sometimes considered a sign of a good rapper. An example of a rapper who makes heavy use of assonance is Eminem.

Importance of various techniques
Although rhyme is the essential required element of all raps, there are other literary techniques that are often employed. To use many of these techniques while still maintaining a meaningful rhyme is considered by most rap listeneres to be signs of a good rhyme.

Cadence is the overall balance of a rhyme in relation to the beat, as far as emphasis and speed (and in some cases, changes in melody). It is also known as "riding the beat". Cadence plays an especially large role in the raps of West coast hip-hop. Many hip-hop listeners find Snoop Dogg to be an example of a rapper with varying -- but always strong -- cadence in his raps. He is seen this way because of his ability to ride slow, fast, melodic, or hardcore beats equally well.

Unlike many other forms of poetry, rappers typically don't think about metre and feet very heavily. Instead, the goal is to unconciously develop a flow. A good flow is a metre that doesn't drag along, but rather, draws the listener into the words. Big Boi of OutKast is considered to have a good flow by many fans. It is important to note that rappers sometimes do use forms such as iambic pentameter.

Speaking clearly is important because rap is said outloud unlike many other forms of poetry. Enunciation in rap is sometimes exaggerated to a cartoonish level, which is actually a sign of skill. Ludacris is considered an example of a good enunciator.

Style, voice, tone, attitude, and soul
These terms are essentially the emotions carried by the rapper in his music and lyrics.

To some, the speed of a rapper's words are an example of skill. A rapper who can rap quickly and coherently is considered skillful. However, rapping slowly doesn't necessarily mean a lack of skill, nor does rapping fast mean quality; some raps become incomprehensible when performed at a high tempo. An example of a fast rapper is Twista, who is considered both fast and skillful in his rhymes.

Wordplay include double entendres, alliteration, and all forms of playing around with your words. Wordplay is subjective -- whether it's done well or poorly is up to the listener.

Other techniques
There are several other techniques used in rapping, such as: enjambment and hyperbole.

The message
Wordplay shows skill, but the message of a rap is more important. A rapper who talks about nothing with excellent wordplay doesn't show as much skill as one who has a message, because his or her creativity has no frame around it. The message can be about one's life, about politics, about philosophy, about bragging, and anything with meaning. It can tell a story or show imagery that occurs in the rappers everyday life. Nonsense or dadaist rappers such as Aesop Rock are often looked down on by the purist HipHop fans for not having a real soulful message, and for "watering down the sound of the ghetto" (Kool Keith).

Traditional forms
In many traditional cultures there exist lyrical forms that could loosely be described as rapping. Examples of these include:

Mor lam in Laos
Chastushka in Russia
Tsiattista in Cyprus
Enka Slamta in Ethiopia
Tassou in Senegal
Rhapsody in Ancient Greece
Gstanzl in Bavaria and similar traditions in Austria and Switzerland.
Urdu Rap from Pakistan
Kuai ban in China
rap is good stuff to listen to
by dsssgfhdgsfhghgfdljd;hg October 03, 2005
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An upbeat song that usually rhymes. (W)rap, a type of bread you put things in. Chicken wrap, sauce wrap.
(W)rap, To wrap an bendable object around a object, wrapping up toilet paper and wiping it on my arse for a good clean.
Rap, Bones beat crack, ( uh huh ) Bust that back ( nu-uh ) Back cramp ( Mm hmm ) Back cramp ( Mm hmm )
(W)rap, I like putting lettuce and chicken in my wrap.
(W)rap, I like wrapping up presents for people.
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once was a genre of music which is very amusing to listen to, but right now its gone to shit. right now, the best definition for rap is "read a paper that says you are a rich gangster who has too many cars and hoes, auto tune your voice, and earn money! make sure you look like a gangster inyour song, because if you dont look like you're from the ghetto then you are lame. make sure the paper you are reading has you're group name in it". rap had really glorious days, but now thanks to young money and other lame artist, its now nothing but shit. great artists in this genre include eminem, biggie, 2pac, nas, ice cube, etc. lame ones include lil gayne, nicki garbaj, whack khalifa, prick ross, and other fake asses that wear skinny jeans wherever they go.
lil wayne fan: man rap aint shit without TUNECHI MUDA TRUCKA
old school fan: no, lil gayne is fake, talentless and makes no sense when he rhymes
lil wayne fan: FUCK Y'ALL HATERZZ
by COLD ICE BOX August 29, 2012
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Ok, wow, I know alot of you people are defensive about rap, but you don't have to slam the rockers about it, because you are just contradicting yourselves! Rap is a form of music, and so is Rock, they both sound very different, but sometimes you can't distingish the difference in some songs! Seriously, the only thing that bothers me about rap is how some of the artists just put a "lil" before a name, made a few songs and became superstars! Alot of rockers have mad it easy by going with a fad as well, but i can't think of any right off hand. There are alot of different forms of rap and rock, like punk rock, grunge rock, gangsta rap, hip-hop! So no, not all rockers are hillbilly rednecks, so you guys can back off, and not all rappers are killer niggers with gats and hoes, so you guys can back off! Just remember, Racism can go BOTH ways!!
1st guy: Rap is GREAT
2nd guy: Rap sucks, Rock RULES!!!
1st guy: wutever, all you idiots do is complain about stupid shit!
2nd guys: and all yoe retards do is talk about gats and hoes!
then I show up!
Me: You're both stupid, acknowledge both forms of music and quit raggin on eachother just because you both have wacked opinions of something!!
by Ponyboy OH YEAHH!!! January 06, 2006
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After reading a lot of the definitions written here for rap, I've decided that most people are woefully misled as to the true nature of rap. It would appear that many of you have only heard commercial rap. That's alright, I'm not judging, I'm just here to inform. Anyways, these commercial rappers are not real rappers, rather an indictment of what rap/hip-hop has become in recent years. True rappers have a certain poetic flow and are probably more proficient in English than most people on here, but I digress. Real rap has deep and meaningful content and is basically poetry, only with more emotion- listen to Tupac, he has amazing sensory appeal in his songs. Contrary to popular belief, it takes a lot of skill to rap. If you listen to a real rap song, you will hear unprecedented control of the English language. A great example of this would be Nas or Busta Rhymes- they are true lyricists. Furthermore, many rappers, such as Nas, KRS-One, and Tupac, are actually very intelligent. This brings me to my final point. Yes, a lot of rappers do talk about the streets and drugs. This is because they are talking about what they had to overcome. Many rappers can actually be considered a rags to riches success story. Anyways, I think I've effectively communicated my argument (without using any kind of slurs or being insulting). To conclude, don't judge rap until you've listened to a couple of skilled rappers, otherwise you're just being hypocritical. Thank you.
If you want to listen to real rap, I have a few suggestions; Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan, Non Phixion, Big L, KRS-One, Big Pun, Busta Rhymes, and many more.
by November 07, 2011
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Music genre that is looked down upon nowadays. Right now thruthfully, the rap world is full of new artists that make one hit and now think they are good examples being Young Joc, Young Dro, & Dem Franchize Boyz. Nowadays most rap comes from the south and has no meaing to the genre like it used to. Today IT IS all about grills, cars, and hoes. But back in the day artists called it hip-hop which is a lifestyle that actually took skill to make. They actually sung about life in and out of the streets. Today there are some hip-hoppers like back in the day. Examples being Common, Talib Kweli, and Nas. Today rap is all commercial and rappers thinking they have skill when they are taking pop and r & b beats and rapping over them examples being 50 Cent, Ja Rule, and Nelly. I wish hip hop can take over again and not be underground which all real hip hop is now.
Yo you wanna check out this new 50 Cent rap CD I got!?
Response: Nah fuck 50 Cent, I would rather listen to some Wu-Tang Clan, or Nas. Real hip hop bitch!
by YungA.S. August 16, 2006
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Rhythm And Poetry.

Rhythm: the pattern of regular or irregular pulses caused in music by the occurrence of strong and weak melodic and harmonic beats.

And: used to connect grammatically coordinate words, phrases, or clauses along or together with; as well as; in addition to; besides; also; moreover.

Poetry: the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
Rap is not a genre. It is a culture. People need to learn to accept this.
by DizzaleG January 14, 2007
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