The components of rapping include content, flow, and delivery. Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is performed in time to a beat. Rapping is often associated with and an ingredient of hip-hop music. Rapping is also used in Kwaito music, a genre originated in Johannesburg, South Africa. Another form of rap that predates hip hop was boxer Muhammad Alis rhythmic poetry used to taunt his opponents in the 1960s and 1970s, rapping can be delivered over a beat, typically provided by a DJ, turntablist or Beatboxer, or without accompaniment. Stylistically, rap occupies an area between speech, prose, poetry, and singing. The word, as used to describe quick speech or repartee, the word had been used in British English since the 16th century. It was part of the African American dialect of English in the 1960s meaning to converse, today, the terms rap and rapping are so closely associated with hip-hop music that many writers use the terms interchangeably. The English verb rap has various meanings, such as to strike, especially with a quick, smart, or light blow, as well to utter sharply or vigorously, to rap out a command. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gives a date of 1541 for the first recorded use of the word with the meaning to utter sharply, vigorously and it is these meanings from which the musical form of rapping derives, and this definition may be from a shortening of repartee. A rapper refers to a performer who raps, by the late 1960s, when Hubert G. Brown changed his name to H. Rap was used to describe talking on records as early as 1971, on Isaac Hayes album Black Moses with track names such as Ikes Rap, Ikes Rap II, Ikes Rap III, Hayes husky-voiced sexy spoken raps became key components in his signature sound. Del the Funky Homosapien similarly states that rap was used to refer to talking in a manner in the early 1970s. Back then what rapping meant, basically, was you trying to convey something—youre trying to convince somebody, thats what rapping is, its in the way you talk. Rapping can be traced back to its African roots, centuries before hip-hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Such connections have been acknowledged by modern artists, modern day griots, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources. Grammy-winning blues musician/historian Elijah Wald and others have argued that the blues were being rapped as early as the 1920s, Wald went so far as to call hip hop the living blues. A notable recorded example of rapping in blues music was the 1950 song Gotta Let You Go by Joe Hill Louis, not just jazz music and lyrics but also jazz poetry
image of rapper Lauryn Hill performing in 2014
The Memphis Jug Band, an early blues group, whose lyrical content and rhythmic singing predated rapping.