Hip hop and rap are both genres of music that have grown in popularity over the past few decades. They both have roots in African American culture, but they’re also distinct from one another.
Hip hop started out as a cultural movement, while rap began as a genre of music. Rappers often focus on storytelling, while hip hop artists tend to be more multi-dimensional. These two genres can overlap sometimes, but not always: Here’s how they differ!
Rap is made up of Bars, while Hip Hop uses Verses
Rap and hip hop are distinct styles of music with different names and histories, but they’re often viewed as interchangeable. The truth is that rap and hip hop are two different genres, each with unique features. What’s more, these differences extend to the structure of their songs.
When you listen to a song by one style or another, you’ll notice that each type has its specific kind of music, lyrics, rhythm, and flow–but what exactly makes these genres so different?
Rap Artists tend to Focus on Storytelling, while Hip Hop Artists are more Multidimensional
Hip hop artists are more likely to include a variety of styles in their music: they may rap over rock and funk beats, sing soul ballads, or even do spoken word. They may also incorporate elements of jazz and blues into their work.
Hip hop artists often come from diverse backgrounds regarding musical influences, which gives them a broader range than rap artists have access to.
Rap music has traditionally been less political than hip-hop because of its roots as an entertainment genre rather than as an activist tool like punk rock or grunge music was/is today.
Hip hop is Less Structured than Rap
Hip-hop began as a spontaneous and improvisational art form with no distinct style or structure. Those who were part of this movement didn’t even consider themselves musicians—they just wanted to have fun dancing!
You can still see this element today when you attend a hip-hop concert: there are usually no stage lights, musicians wear casual clothes, sometimes there isn’t even an audience (sound familiar?).
Rap music is more structured than hip hop because it was created by professional DJs who wanted to profit from their performances. These DJs had more formal training than your average dancer at a block party, so they wrote scripts for themselves that told them exactly what words they should say next to keep their crowd engaged.
There’s some overlap in the music between rap and hip hop, but they’re not the same thing.
Rap and Hip Hop are related but Distinct
Hip hop is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of musical genres, including rap, spoken word poetry, DJing and breakdancing. The main difference between rap and hip hop is the focus on rhythm. Hip hop artists often include melody in their songs—you’ll hear it in the lyrics or their flow (the rhythmic pattern of spoken words).
With all the overlap in rap and hip hop, it is important to remember that they are still distinct genres of music. Rap is more about rhythm, while hip hop includes melody. Hip hop started out as a culture and movement before evolving into its genre of music.
This means there are many differences between how rappers approach their art form versus how hip hop artists do so (or vice versa).