Music: Rap


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What Is Rap/Hip Hop?

Rap is a musical genre that started in New York in mid-1970's. It is a style of Black popular music containing a combination of rhyme and rhythm. Rap was a tool used to voice the opinions of the social and political conditions of people of colour. It is still used as a means of expressing the thoughts of its artist about sex, drugs, crime, and other relevant subjects.

Rap is a mixture of human voice, with the instrumental accompaniment of drums, sequencers. It also features sampling.

Hip hop is a wider term for art that contains all elements such as rap, break dancing, and scratching. It is predominantly recognized for its repetitive rhythm and lyrical content.




A hip hop group consisting of five members: Red 1, Misfit, Kemo, Dedos, and Zebroc. This group did not accept their Juno award for best rap recording on March 22 in Vancouver because the music community decided not to show rap and hip hop acts at the awards ceremony. This group just wanted the support and recognition they deserved.

For more information on the group visit


TBTBT is a teenaged rap group aged 12-15, whose name stands for Too Bad To Be True. This group of four are from downtown Toronto and released an album called "Cold Chillin" on February 8, 1994, consisting of 14 tracks. This group was put together and managed by partners Greg Van Reil and Steve Propas, and their first single was called One Track Mind.

Devon Martin

Devon Martin, also known as Mr. Metro, is a hip hop artists with roots of reggae. He won a Juno for his album "Its My Nature", with the single "Keep it Slammin'". Martin was originally part of a reggae band and then decided to go solo in the late 1980's.

MC J and Cool G

These Canadian rap artists came out with their first album in 1990 called "So Listen!". James McQuaid (MC J) and Richard Gray (Cool G) are both originally from Halifax. They moved to Montreal where they were signed to Capitol Records in 1988.

The above materials prepared by Jenny Chung.

Dream Warriors

Formed in 1990, The Dream Warriors rap positive lyrics about making life what you want it to be.

Dope Poet Society

Formed in 1988, this group has been described as "hardcore political underground hip-hop".

Hangin' Tree

Fronted by Jamaican Canadian Richard Ivey, hangin tree's sound is a mixture of "funkdafied rockriffs" supported by Ivey's hardcore hip hop delivery.

Discography includes: Rage Against the Machine and Beck.

King Lou and Capitor Q

This Jane & Finch duo is currently taking the world by storm. They incorporate a wide variety of musical modes - rhythmic island sounds, jazz, blues, R & B and their lyrics encompass esoteric and abstract themes. They are at the cutting edge in rap music and are one of Canada's most successful exports.

Discography includes: "And Now, Legacy"

MC Thrust

Currently also working as co-editor for Canada's first magazine about hip hop culture, Abstract, Thrust has recently released his first solo release entitled "Past, Present, Future (Knowledge of Self)"

Nu Black Nation

The three members of Nu Black Nation describes their musical flavour as "hip-hop, straight up, poetics and all that 'soul' for the movement that we call hip hop: Word, Sound and Power."

Ubad Missive

Consisting of Groovy, Rugged, Tyson and Ebony, UBAD has been around since about 1985 and will soon be going on tour throughout Western Canada.
Discography includes: "The Legacy", "Life's Gettin' Rough", "Rugged and Nasty".



"Devon: Mr Metro keeps it slammin" Canadian Composer. Vol .4(2), Spring 1993, p.6

"Too Good To Be True? Warner/Chappell is Banking on Four Inner-City Kids from Toronto to Turn the Trick in the International Youth Raps Sweeps" Canadian Composer. Vol. 4(4), 1993, p.6

Flynn, Andrew. Juno Organizers get bad rap from Urban Artists Canadian-Press Newswire. April 2, 1998

Kallman, Helmut et. Al. (eds.) Rap Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Second Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.

P. Rockwell, John. Rap The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Hong Kong: MacMillan Press Ltd, 1986.

Rose, Tricia. Orality and Technology: Rap Music and Afro-American Cultural Resistance Popular Music and Society. Vol. 13, Winter 1989, 367-374.