Hip hop is a musical genre that is based on rhythm and a vocal style that is called rap. The performance is accompanied by pronounced beats. A hip hop performance therefore, may or may not include a rap song while a rap song may be performed without the hip hop dance and music. Rap is just the vocal part of an entire hip hop performance. Hip hop instrumental presentations without an accompanying rap song are not very common though.
Hip hop music comes from a culture of the same name that developed in the 1970s in the Bronx region of New York City. It was common among African-American and the Latin American communities in the area. Today, rap has become almost synonymous with hip hop.
In a rap song, the performer sings or speaks a rhyming song and beats have been compiled from several other songs. Rap performers may also choose poems or improvise upon the lyrics of another song spontaneously.
Stylistically, rapping was also part of the Afro-American dialect of English in the 1960s. The Griots of West Africa had story-telling traditions in a rhythmic fashion which accompanied drums and some simple instruments. Rap songs or music traces its roots to those traditions way before hip hop became popular.
Modern Blues genre of music has been strongly influenced by the rap form and hip hop forms. An amalgam of the Afro-American and Caribbean music forms is what hip hop and rap have come to signify today. Rapping is also known as Emceeing or rhyme spitting.
Rapper Keith ‘Cowboy’ Wiggins coined the term hip hop in 1978 when he was joking with a friend who had just enlisted into the American army. He sang the words ‘hip/hop/hip/hop’ as mimicry of marching soldiers. Later, Wiggins included the cadence into his stage performance and that’s how the term took off inspiring an entire culture of dance and music.