Friday Night Videos
Though its roots trace back to the mid 70's, it wasn't until the early 80's that rap would establish itself as a mainstream music genre. Often told as the story of disco d.j.'s offering rhythmic wordplay between songs, rap is often overlooked as a tangent of the soul and funk genres. Rap music in the 80's was a name that tune of sampled James Brown and Chic riffs, including the genre's first official hit, the Sugarhill Gang's 1979 tune "Rapper's Delight."
Released a few years later, Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" would also be seen as one of rap's most influential singles.
With the breakdancing craze, rap was given an cool image to go along with the music. The two were near synonymous in the early 80's. Here's Grandmaster Melle Mel with "Beat Street Breakdown" from the popular breakdance movie.
'Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge' - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five with "The Message."
Here's Grandmasters Flash and Melle Mel together with the unique "White Lines." Rap, later to be referred to as hip-hop, would grow from its mere rapping, sampling, and beatboxing stereotype to a genre that would incorporate singing, instrumentation, and genre-mixing.
Another example of a rap song with a singing chorus, Kurtis Blow with "If I Ruled the World."
One of the most influential rap groups of all time, and the first to become a household name, Run DMC with "Its Like That," "It's Tricky" (featuring Penn and Teller), and "Walk this Way" (featuring Aerosmith).
Similar to other other genres, rap music produced a few entertaining offshoots. One was novelty or fun rap like the Fat Boys' "Wipeout" or DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince's "Parents Just Don't Understand."
And like other genres, there's a fine line between fun rap and bad rap. MC Miker G and DJ Sven with "Holiday Rap."
Morris Minor and the Majors with "Stutter Rap."
Careful with this guy, you just might get blazed. Viral video sensation Danny Hazen with "Average Homeboy."
Not solely a man's game, the girls got in on the fun too. Here's J.J. Fad with "Supersonic" and Salt-n-Pepa with "Push It."
One of the few 80's groups to remain popular into the 90's, the Beastie Boys were the first (and still one of the very few) white boys on the rap scene. From their 1986 release Licensed to Ill, here's "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" and "Fight for Your Right."
By the middle of the decade, where rap styles were diversifying, so were the individuals creating the music. All these competing personalities also meant heightened levels of suave and swagger.
LL Cool J - "I Need Love"
Kool Moe Dee - "How Ya Like Me Now" (live)
Eric B & Rakim - "Paid In Full"
Young MC - "Bust A Move"
Tone Loc - "Funky Cold Medina"
Maestro Fresh Wes - "Let Your Backbone Slide"
By the late 80's, rap music's image was far removed from the colorful breakdancers shock popping through the harmless graffiti adorned streets. Inner city neighborhoods were nothing like this, even in the early 80's. With a more accurate narrative of the street, bands like New York's Public Enemy were one of the first to give rap music a much angrier and aggressive voice. Here's "Fight the Power" and a live version of "Rebel Without a Pause."
From the West coast, rap would find one of its more popular and controversial sub-genres in 'gangsta rap.' Ice-T with "Colors" and N.W.A. with "Express Yourself" and "Straight Outta Compton."