This Is The Difference Between ‘Rap’ And ‘Hip Hop’

Back when i was in high school, i was into hip hop. So, one day, a friend of my brother’s asked me this very question: “What’s the difference between hip hop and rap?”. Little did i know, that my answer still haunts me to this very day: Graffiti.

Yes, graffiti; that was my answer. Silly, i know and it does bring a laugh when we remember the story, but technically, i wasn’t exactly wrong. Because rap is indeed one of hip hop’s four (4) elements: “deejaying”, “rapping”, “graffiti painting” and “b-boying” (breakdancing). 

Let me answer the article’s main question and you’ll know what i mean. (the article continues after the ad)


Rap is the musical style that incorporates rhyme and rhythmic speech with words being recited rapidly. Simply said, it’s the vocal part of any hip-hop song. It usually contains street language and slang expressions and is frequently performed in time with an instrumental loop. In fact, this is what separates rap from spoken-word poetry even though rap can be performed without any background music.


On the other hand, hip-hop is a cultural movement that originated in the 1970s in the economically depressed Bronx borough of New York City and hip-hop music, is the musical style of this movement. As mentioned above, rap (vocal delivery in a rhythmic speech) is one of the four elements of hip-hop and, along with deejaying (music playing), they both create the musical style we all know as hip-hop. In other words, the lyrics of a hip-hop song as sang by the rapper is the “rap” element of a the song and the instrumental track is the music that accompanies this rap element.

As for the other two elements of hip-hop, graffiti painting and breakdancing, they became a part of hip-hop culture as they evolved in a shared environment with rap and deejaying.

And now you know!

If you like what you read then you will definitely love this one: Why Is It Called ‘House’ Music?

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Main Article Photo: MaxPixeljorgejimenez / Pixabay
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Russell Simmons: From Def Jam to Super Rich (USA Today Lifeline Biographies) | Hip-hop

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