Rapping started as the next wave of toasting in the emerging hip-hop scene during the 1970s. DJs like Kool Herc needed help to keep up the talking that had become just as popular as the music they were playing. This eventually became the job of the emcee (MC). Herc’s first MCs were Coke La Rock and Clark Kent (they later formed The Herculoids), who added their own commentaries to the songs. Coke La Rock came up rhythmic poems that gained in popularity and were the first raps. Others soon followed, and rap music was born.
Rap often has a message, such as sociopolitical commentary, Black Nationalism or self-esteem. Rappers who emerged later however chose to develop gangsta rap in their music, glorifying the gangster lifestyle.
Rapping is not just a boys’ club. Women started rapping in the 1980s. Among the first women rappers are Salt-N-Pepa, Queen Latifah, and MC Lyte.