Niche it!
BobbyGs Info

GameStop, Inc.


Music Sound


Back | Home | Up | Next

Pop rap is is the name given to a style of hip hop that has a strong pop music influences. In the pop rap sound, the rougher elements of hip hop music are removed and hooks are used in order to achieve a crossover-friendly sound. By the way of marrying the beats and rhymes with the potent melodic hooks, of course, which would normally be found in the usual pop song structure. It often has the tendency to be less aggressive than other varieties of hip hop.



The style became popular in the early 1990s, as hip hop music found commercial success. Pop rappers were seen as less "threatening" to a predominantly juvenile audience, as against the hardcore gangsta rap gaining in popularity. Performers such as Vanilla Ice were able to harness the general aesthetic of hip hop music to a radio-friendly sound (and subject matter). Many pop-rap hits sampled instantly-recognisable hits as a backing track, "U Can't Touch This" being the prime example, lifting the bass riff from Rick James' "Superfreak." The increasing popularity of hip hop as the 21st century began is often ascribed to pop rap's stylistic matter. Undoubtedly, most of the popular acts by this point were heavily informed by pop rap with their reliance on well-known samples and danceable tunes. However, because some have complained of its mainstream appeal, some hardcore influences were added to it by the mid or late 1990s in order to try deflecting the backlash over their accessibility.


Pop-rap has been popular since its beginning in the late-1980s, after various hip hop artists commenced entering the mainstream. LL Cool J just may have been the very first pop-rapper in history, when he rose to prominence on his 1985 debut album Radio. When he joined Russell Simmons' Def Jam label and decided to try merging rap with pop and R&B influences, some people were skeptical that it would ever work out perfectly. But in the end, one of Radio's singles, the rap-ballad "I Need Love", actually became a success. The origins of Pop-rap lay in artists like Tone-Loc, Young M.C., and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince putting emphasis right on their good-humored, storytelling skills, to great chart success. The were followers who also began recording similarly amiable party tunes and novelties.Since there had been a possibility of accepting this as real music, other M.C.s started to play up rap's connection to pop, R&B, and dance music.

Some pop-rap artists looked to taking samples of songs from other sources in order to supply and support their melodies; others created their own original tunes to go with their lyrics which turned into hits that way. As a result of the former, pop-rap was frequently mocked and taken to court for the use of borrowing hooks from previous songs by other artists without shifting the appropriations very much, if at all. This came to light when hip-poppers like M.C. Hammer and Vanilla Ice arrived on the scene in 1990, and caused controversy by lifting hooks from prior songs for use on their own hits. But pop-rap didn't always get a completely deserved bad reputation, since there have been plenty of pop-rap M.C.s who continued to score hits on the charts while maintaining their own unique sounds: P.M. Dawn, Naughty By Nature, Das EFX, Salt-N-Pepa, House of Pain, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Coolio, etc.

By the late 1990s, pop-rap was ruled by artists they had affected or mentored, as well as artists who blended rap with urban soul. R&B-styled hooks and instantly recognizable samples of well-known soul and pop songs from the 1970s and 1980s were the staples of this sound, which was showcased primarily in his latter-day work for The Notorious B.I.G. ("Mo Money, Mo Problems"), Ma$e ("Feels So Good"), and artists such as Jay-Z ("Can I Get A...") and Nas's ("Street Dreams"). Very little of this commercially minded music was met with acclaim from hip hop enthusiasts or critics, however - Puff Daddy's "loop it and leave it" style of sampling, which most of the time just consisted of rapping over someone else's instrumental, was criticized heavily.

Heavily Pop-inflected gangsta rap continues to be successful into the 21st century, with many artists deftly straddling the divide between their hip hop audience and their pop audience, such as 50 Cent, D4L and Nelly.

Notable pop rappers

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and Will Smith as a solo act
MC Hammer
Vanilla Ice
Kris Kross
Puff Daddy and Ma$e
Bow Wow
Mike Jones
Lil Romeo
Kanye West

Music sample

  • U Can't Touch This (sample)
    • Short sample of U Can't Touch This, by MC Hammer. U Can't Touch This was the lead single from the 1990 album Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, which sold 10 million copies, and is still the top-selling rap album of all time.

See also

Hip hop/Rap
Beatboxing - DJing (Turntablism) - Fashion -History (Roots - Old school - Golden age - Modern) - Production - Rapping
African - American (East - West - South)
Abstract - Alternative - Chopped & Screwed - Christian - Country-rap - Crunk - Electro - Freestyle music - Gangsta - G-funk - Ghettotech - Golden age - Hardcore - Hip hop soul - Hip house - Horrorcore - Hyphy - Instrumental - Jazz rap - Latin rap - Mafioso - Miami bass - Mobb - Neo soul - Nerdcore - New jack swing - Old school - Political hip hop - Pop rap - Rapcore - Ragga - Reggaeton - Snap music - Urban Pasifika
Styles of pop music
Bubblegum pop - Futurepop - Indie pop - Pop punk - Pop-rap - Power pop - Synthpop/Electropop - Teen pop - Traditional pop
Other topics
Boy band - Girl group - Popular music

Home | Up | Christian hip hop | Rapcore | Trip hop | Abstract hip hop | Acid rap | Alternative hip hop | AltNuMet | Baltimore Club | Bamabounce | Brazilian funk | Chicano rap | Chopped and screwed | Conscious hip hop | Country-rap | Crunk | Cumbia rap | Dirty South | Electro | G-funk | Gangsta rap | Ghetto house | Ghettotech | Grime | Hardcore hip hop | Hip hop soul | Hip house | Hip life | Horrorcore | Hyphy | Instrumental hip hop | Jazz rap | Kwaito | Latin rap | Low Bap | Mafioso rap | Memphis rap | Merenrap | Miami bass | Mobb Music | Neo soul | Nerdcore hip hop | New jack swing | Nu metal | Old school hip hop | Political hip hop | Pop-rap | Snap music | Songo-salsa | Trip hop | Turntablism | Urban Pasifika

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.