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RAP

RAP. An informal term associated with inner-city neighbourhoods and popular radio and television, especially among blacks in the US: (1) To talk rapidly, rhythmically, vividly, and boastfully, so as to compete for prestige among one's peers and impress one's listeners. The verse of the American boxer Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay) is an early form of rapping: ‘Only last week / Ah murdered a rock / Injured a stone / Hospitalized a brick / Ah'm so mean / Ah made medicine sick’. (2) The ritualized repartee of (especially young male) blacks, associated with the hip or cool street talk also known as sounding, capping, and playing the dozens, which includes assertions, taunts, and insults. Currently, rapping is closely associated with hip hop, a flamboyant youth style originating in the streets of the South Bronx in New York City in the early 1970s and including graffiti art, break-dancing, and Afrocentric ways of dressing. (3) To perform a rhyming, usually improvised monologue against a back-ground of music with a strong beat: in a street, the music is usually from a portable radio/cassette-player (a ghetto-blaster or boom box); in a broadcasting studio, it is from a background of recorded music or is reduced to a heavy bass beat produced by a drum machine or synthesizer. (4) A song or poem performed in this way, the performer being a rapper and the overall effect being rap music. On television, the background may be a series of fragments of music or video scenes. Jon Pareles observes:
To say that rap reflects television doesn't discount its deep roots in black culture; the networks didn't invent rap, ghetto disk jockeys did. Rap comes out of the story telling and braggadocio of the blues, the cadences of gospel preachers and comedians, the percussive improvisations of jazz drummers and tap dancers. It also looks to Jamaican ‘toasting’ (improvising rhymes over records), to troubadour traditions of social comment and historical remembrance, and to a game called ‘the dozens,’ a ritual exchange of cleverly phrased insults. (‘The Etymology of Rap Music’, The New York Times, Jan. 1990)
.

Pareles considers that rap's chopped-up style reflects the impact of television, in which programmes are accompanied and interrupted by commercials, previews, snippets of news, and the like, as well as by using a remote control to ‘zap’ from channel to channel. See AFRICAN-AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH, BLARNEY, DUB, JIVE, PATTER, REGGAE.

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rap

rap1 / rap/ • v. (rapped , rap·ping ) 1. [tr.] strike (a hard surface) with a series of rapid audible blows, esp. in order to attract attention: he stood up and rapped the table | [intr.] she rapped angrily on the window. ∎  strike (something) against a hard surface in such a way: she rapped her stick on the floor. ∎  strike (someone or something) sharply with stick or similar implement: she rapped my fingers with a ruler. ∎ inf. rebuke or criticize sharply: executives rapped the U.S. for having too little competition in international phone service. ∎  say sharply or suddenly: the ambassador rapped out an order. 2. [intr.] inf. talk or chat in an easy and familiar manner: we could be here all night rapping about the finer points of spiritualism. 3. [intr.] perform rap music. • n. 1. a quick, sharp knock or blow: there was a confident rap at the door. 2. a type of popular music of U.S. black origin in which words are recited rapidly and rhythmically over a prerecorded, typically electronic instrumental backing. ∎  a piece of music performed in this style, or the words themselves. 3. inf. a talk or discussion, esp. a lengthy or impromptu one: dropping in after work for a rap over a beer | [as adj.] a rap session. 4. inf. a criminal charge, esp. of a specified kind: he's just been acquitted on a murder rap. ∎  a person or thing's reputation, typically a bad one: there's no reason why drag queens should get a bad rap. PHRASES: beat the rap inf. escape punishment for or be acquitted of a crime. rap someone on (or over) the knuckles rebuke or criticize someone. take the rap inf. be punished or blamed, esp. for something that is not one's fault or for which others are equally responsible. rap2 • n. the smallest amount (used to add emphasis to a statement): he doesn't care a rap whether it's true or not.

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rap music

rap music or hip-hop, genre originating in the mid-1970s among black and Hispanic performers in New York City, at first associated with an athletic style of dancing, known as breakdancing. The word rap, derived from a 1960s slang word for conversation, generally consists of chanted, often improvised, street poetry accompanied by a montage of well-known recordings, usually disco or funk. Detractors have criticized most rap music as a boastful promotion of violence and misogyny; others have admired it as an inventive manipulation of cultural idioms and credit many rappers with an acute social and political awareness. Early rap groups included Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and the Beastie Boys. Rap has influenced many forms of popular culture, particularly film, and has been increasingly incorporated into pop music. Some influential rap performers include Public Enemy, NWA, Run-DMC, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot, and Queen Latifah.

See M. Costello and D. F. Wallace, Signifying Rappers (1990); G. Nelson, Hip Hop America (1998).

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rap

rap Form of dance music that became popular during the early 1980s. Rap has its roots in the improvised street poetry of African-American and Hispanic teenagers in New York. The music places an emphasis on DJs who mix different tracks together, sometimes ‘scratching’ for increased effect.

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rap

rap2 counterfeit coin current in Ireland XVIII; type of the smallest coin, (hence) least bit XIX. abbrev. of Ir. ropaire.

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rap

rap1 strike or knock smartly. XIV. prob. imit.; cf. Sw. rappa beat, drub, and clap, flap, slap, tap.
So sb. XIV.

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rap

rapbap, cap, chap, clap, crap, dap, entrap, enwrap, flap, frap, gap, giftwrap, hap, Jap, knap, lap, Lapp, map, nap, nappe, pap, rap, sap, schappe, scrap, slap, snap, strap, tap, trap, wrap, yap, zap •stopgap • mayhap • mishap • madcap •blackcap • redcap • kneecap •handicap •nightcap, whitecap •snowcap, toecap •foolscap • hubcap • skullcap •dunce cap • handclap • dewlap •mudflap • thunderclap • burlap •bitmap • catnap • kidnap • Saranwrap •mantrap • claptrap • deathtrap •chinstrap • jockstrap • mousetrap •bootstrap • suntrap • firetrap •heeltap

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