hip hop

Jazz Rap – The Exceptional Hip Hop Rap Sub-Genre


The blend of the 'yesterday-style' with the 'today-trends' is called Jazz. Jazz-rap is hence, a fusion of the early hip hop African-American music and the present-day prominent musical formats.

The word 'Jazz', which was earlier also written as "Jass", was first reportedly used for music in Chicago, in 1915. This musical style originated in the early 20th century as a confluence of African-American tradition and the European musical traditions . The form has always evolved and incorporated the 'present'. Jazz rap is specifically a hip-hop sub-genre which has evolved through the late 1980s and early 1990s. The music is influenced by hip-hop rap beats while the lyrics are sung out in a rap-style. The distinguishing factor here is the type of content in this sub-genre and the musical instruments used.

The lyrics are often Afro-centric; laying emphasis on the importance of African people. They themes also follow political consciousness, historical awareness, intellectual thoughts, conscious rap and the general positivity. One can understand, since, why this genre is not a popular choice or a favorite among many. It talks of reality and the reality that affects all of us. People choose to turn a blind eye to the "ill" of our society because it is a simpler path to take. Jazz-rap on the other hand, makes the bold attempt to lurch forward and uplift the set-up in which we live. One of the most renamed South African groups which laid the foundation for this kind of rapping and influenced hip hop music was the "Last poets".

They emerged from the Black Nationalist thread of the civil rights moments in the late 1960s and went on to make music which understood social commitment. Among other artists and groups who played a poignant role in the emergence of the genre is Louis Amstrong with his 1925 rap song – "Heebie Jeebies", Gill Scott-Heron, and the Watts Prophets. They initiated the use of jazzy tracks. Following the innovative trends, came the band "Cargo" with the single "Jazz Rap" from the album with the same title; and then went down as the first recorded jazz-rap-single. The genre had arrived.

Talking about the instruments, the musical style is distinguished by the use of the trumpet, trombone, clarinet, piano, electric-guitar, electric-bass, drums and turntables. These are a few common instruments basically used for the typical jazz-instrumentation.

The jazzy auditory themes are the real flavor of the music. The lyrics and the rhythm make this form stand a part. For a music lover, with an intellectual aptitude and a hunger for good music this is where we stop.

Source by Apsara Iyengar

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Mitchel Turner



I’m a journalist from Oxford specializing in hip-hop and culture.