Is Rap Real Music? Why Not

rap music

I frequently encounter this mental state. The most recent occurrence took place at a modest Christmas gathering at a coworker’s home. There were a lot of teachers in attendance. I was involved in a small talk exchange that frequently occurs at these events. A high school principal, a teacher with 18 years of experience, a first-year teacher, another teacher from the same high school, and I were all present. Rap music is an oxymoronic phrase, the high school teacher said.” Rap music isn’t music, he claimed.”

Why Rap Is Not Music

A PoP Theory opinion piece titled WHY RAP IS NOT MUSIC. Neither more nor less is permitted.

Form Not Substance

Please take note that this post is discussing Rap as an art form and NOT a substantive assessment of the merits (or otherwise) of Rap as a genre, in order to avoid any misunderstanding about the opinion I am about to express. Now that that’s out of the way, let us begin.

What Is Music?

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary (1992), music is “the art of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.”

An inadequate and overly general description. So let’s take a look at Jan LaRue’s Guidelines for Style Analysis, which offers a method for comprehending musical compositions.

LaRue’s analysis can be boiled down into five main categories, which I’ve taken the liberty of doing. melody, harmony, rhythm, form and sound (which includes timbre and texture). One might also add lyrics to this.

This is a solid method, in my opinion, for appreciating music. But it also gives us a way to separate music from various forms of art.

Us Political Commentator Ben Shapiro Says

Rapper was subjected to arguments from US political commentator Ben Shapiro that hip-hop wasn’t actually music.

Shapiro, who has been an opponent of the genre for a while, made the controversial statement in the latest Sunday Special episode of his show, The Ben Shapiro Show.

In the most recent episode, he spoke with Zuby, an independent rapper, writer, and podcast host.

“According to me and my father, a music theorist who attended music school, there are three basic components to music,’ Shapiro says in the aforementioned interview. “There is rhythm, melody, and harmony in music.

“Only the rhythm section is satisfied by rap. Both the harmony and the melody are sparse. As a result, it is essentially spoken rhythm. In reality, it isn’t music. It’s a manner of speaking with rhythm. Thus, rap is not music, as I have previously stated, in addition to the fact that I do not particularly enjoy it.”

Shapiro continues even though he freely admits he doesn’t know much about the genre: “I don’t hear a lot of family-friendly messages when I listen to hip-hop from the outside. In fact, I frequently hear messages that are demeaning to women, that promote violence, and that criticize the police.

“Messages that glorify mistreating women and treat male-female relationships as disposable come across in my hearing… the art form overall, which not only has an impact on not just black young people but is disproportionately listened to by white young people. Many of the messages I encounter are not ones I particularly like.”

rap music
three rapper on stage. little noise and artefacts due to high iso

Netizens Say

Rap is not music, period. Rap is a joke, fake music, for cowards who try to come off as tough, they are a joke. Metal is real music, metal always wins, rock will always win. Rap has no chance at all. Rap is NOT music. Stop being what you’re not. Wannabes. You’re not even singing. You making crap up. It has the same beat every time. Change the beat for sometimes. We don’t want to hear the same beat over and over.!

Rap isn’t music, according to a political commentator, and the Internet is coming for him.

How it began

Let’s now clarify what I mean by rap. Listed below is a pertinent NPR quote.

“At early 1970s block parties in New York City, DJs started isolating and extending the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs. This is how the genre of rap was born. In between songs, MCs, who were in charge of introducing the DJs and energizing the crowd, would joke around and engage the spectators.”

This definition is consistent with how I perceive the history of rap, which is based on numerous rap documentaries I’ve seen. Rap is essentially spoken word over a collage of beats and musical snippets from already-existing songs.

Square pegs in round holes

Rap is not music, according to this definition of what it is. There is mostly only rhythm, with no melody or harmony. That observation seems to be fairly obvious. This is a fact and part of the art form’s inherent character; it is not meant as criticism.

After all, the words, not the music, are what make rap so popular. It is crucial to the genre and its development. Nothing wrong with that; this is what gives rap its unique look and force!

Of course, this general rule does not apply in all situations. Rap has evolved into hybrid genres (rap-metal), where the choruses have melodies, and it’s no longer considered to be rap in the strictest sense.


In the end, the goal of this opinion piece WHY RAP IS NOT MUSIC is to hopefully foster a greater understanding of just how distinctive Rap really is. Detractors frequently dismiss the cultural importance of rap by claiming that it lacks musicality.

Rap, which combines spoken word and sound collages to express emotional resonance and power, stands on its own as a distinct art form, so these commentators are missing the point. a legitimate subgenre of pop culture on par with our beloved rock ‘n’ roll.

I anticipate that people will each have their own perspectives on this. Don’t hesitate to share them on the Power of Pop Facebook page. Please, keep it civil.

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