One of rap’s early stylistic revolutions started with just a few words. At the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem in 1978, Kool Moe Dee saw Kidd Creole pass the mic to his brother Melle Mel while delivering a distinctive revved-up cadence that he slowed down toward the end: “Melle Mel, my flesh and blood is simply being the joint.
“That’s all he really said,” Kool Moe Dee says today. “But in that little moment of that cadence is where I was like, ‘Wow, that would be explosive if you kept that cadence going.’ My idea was to take that and start to use that as a style. I thought that would be like boxing and that would be like a flurry in a fight. I always related things to boxing, which is why the battle-MC thing made sense also. I saw life through a filter of boxing and I thought that doing that would be considered like a flurry.”
Kool Moe Dee poses with a copy of 'Right On' Magazine. The publication was first published in 1971. Credit: MICHAEL OCHS / WIRE IMAGES
Kool Moe Dee employed the style that soon became known as double-time rapping throughout his prestigious career, as did Big Daddy Kane. Kane had picked up stacking rhymes back-to-back from Grandmaster Caz and drew his inspiration from double-time from listening to Kool Moe Dee.
“Staying on beat but going rapid-fire,” Big Daddy Kane says today. “Moe Dee was the first person I’d seen do that.”
Moe Dee was excited about the style because he knew it would require several stages in order to master. “I understood instinctively that just saying a rhyme fast, you had to make sure that the syllables were in sync with each other in order for it to make sense, and a lot of guys don’t know how to do that to this day, quite frankly,” he says. “But when you’re doing rhymes in a different cadence and you’re double-timing the beat and sometimes triple-timing it, you have to make sure that the syllables syllabically make sense.”
Kool Moe Dee incorporated this delivery style into his seminal work with the Treacherous Three and as a solo artist.
Meanwhile, Big Daddy Kane honed his craft as a rapper, writer, and DJ, and he started working with an artist who was able to rap faster than anyone he’d ever heard.
“As far as that super-fast stuff, like what Twista developed into,” Big Daddy Kane says, “the first person I’d ever seen do that was Jaz-O.”
Big Daddy Kane, Jaz-O (going as the Jaz at the time), and the up-and-coming JAY-Z made a mixtape for Fresh Gordon, a producer-DJ-rapper who had featured the Jaz on his 1987 song “I Believe in Music.” Watching and learning from Jaz-O and JAY-Z inspired Big Daddy Kane to deploy the style in his own arsenal.
“One of the main things that used to fascinate people is that they would say, ‘Yo, you be going mad fast, but the crazy shit is that I can understand every single word,’” says Big Daddy Kane, whose rapid-fire rhymes on 1988’s “Raw (Remix),” “Set It Off,” and “Wrath of Kane” are among the best representations of the style to that point.
A year later, the man who became synonymous with rapid-fire rhymes was listening to LL COOL J’s Walking With a Panther album in Chicago. When Twista heard “Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?” he was floored. On the final verse, LL alternates between riding the beat and going at double and triple its tempo, something Twista had been focusing on too.
“The way I’m kickin’ the lines you can hear my tongue twist,” LL rhymes. “And it’ll have your neck spinnin’ like you’re spineless / I’m pickin’ ’em up, throwin’ ’em down / Hypin’ ’em up and slowin’ ’em down / All of these words with only one tongue / Shakin’ ’em up and then bakin’ ’em up.”
“He rapped fast in there and I was shocked,” Twista says today. “I was like, ‘Oh shit. Is somebody doing what the fuck I do?’ I couldn’t believe it.”
As Twista was soaking up LL COOL J, the Jaz was branching out, releasing his Word to the Jaz LP in 1989. The Brooklyn rapper enjoyed some success thanks to the comical love story “Hawaiian Sophie,” which featured him delivering rhymes in a mid-tempo flow that matched the song’s beat, something echoed by collaborator JAY-Z.
The following year, the Jaz released his second album, To Your Soul. The collection’s lead single, “The Originators,” featured the Jaz and JAY-Z rapping at breakneck speed throughout the entire song. Despite the skill both rappers displayed, “The Originators” did not become a massive hit, something that may have had little to do with the song itself and more to do with how rappers are perceived and received.
LL COOL J flashes a peace sign at a record release party for Run DMC's album "Tougher than Leather" at the Palladium on September 15, 1988 in New York City. Credit: CATHERINE MCGANN/GETTY IMAGES
By 1990, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, and LL COOL J had long established themselves as versatile MCs whose catalogs boasted a wide range of sounds, styles, and deliveries. So while they were respected for the wide-ranging and diverse delivery styles they routinely employed, other artists were not always afforded the same luxuries. Even though the Jaz was as versatile an artist as his commercially successful predecessors, most consumers at the time were only familiar with him through the lighthearted “Hawaiian Sophie,” which stood in stark contrast to “The Originators,” a lyrical and stylistic showcase. Artists typically get pigeonholed, and rappers are no exception.
“What happens with Hip-Hop, fortunately and unfortunately, is you get defined by who you are and what you do,” Kool Moe Dee says. “Once you get defined that way, it’s very hard for people to see you on another side. It would be like Chuck D making a gangster record. It doesn’t work because it’s Chuck D, not that the beat couldn’t be dope or the lyrics couldn’t be dope, but because it’s Chuck D. He’s already identified with pro-black and consciousness, so there’s no way he could do a gangster record. I think how you come in and how you’re defined really takes precedent in a lot of ways over what people think you’re doing.”
Even JAY-Z wasn’t exempt. He enjoyed his best-selling album with 1998’s quintuple-platinum Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life. One of the collection’s singles was “Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99),” a nod to the Jaz’s 1990 single. The song even featured his mentor, who was going as Big Jaz at the time. Even though it was released as a single, was produced by Timbaland and had a video, the song wasn’t as successful as the project’s other singles “Hard Knock Life,” “Can I Get A…,” “Money, Cash, Hoes,” and “Money Ain’t a Thang.”
“You’ll find millions of people that can sing that hook,” Big Daddy Kane says of “Nigga What, Nigga Who.” “Ask them to spit some of JAY’s verse. The late ’80s on up to the late ’90s, it was just so lyrical. People wanted to hear what you’re talking about.”
Even though fans may not be able to recite the lyrical gymnastics of rapid-fire rhymers, the skill is now embraced by huge swaths of fans. Thanks to Twista, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and others, the style is now celebrated, something that speaks to rap’s evolution and the evolution of its audience, which has become larger, more sophisticated, and more segmented over the years.
“If you’re just doing the marginal, simplistic levels of party, call-and-response, basic simple rhymes to keep the party going,” Kool Moe Dee says, “you’re not doing justice to what I would call the lyrical part of the hip-hop sandwich, the verbal part of the Hip-Hop sandwich.”
Thanks to a spark from Kidd Creole, hip-hop’s sandwich has several extra layers tied to double-time rhyme.
* Banner Image: Scrap Lover, Big Daddy Kane / Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
DROP YOUR EMAIL
TO STAY IN THE KNOW
Making Trap Beats In Double Time
Meaning a blend of both slow, melodic elements and also fast rhythmic elements as well. So you would be correct in saying that these types of instrumentals are both slow and fast. This is why it's common to hear both rapping and singing over “Trap” style instrumentals.
One of the first rappers who popularized this style of rap, Twista, in a song with Tech N9ne entitled "Worldwide Choppers" implied this in his lyrics, "I'm finna be usin' it as energy, watch how radiant I'ma be / Like a helicopter when the words fly" was used to loosely describe the style of fast-paced rap, but the ...What is the Ohio style of rap? ›
Ohio Hip Hop is a subgenre of hip hop music that originated in the state of Ohio. It is characterized by its hard-hitting beats, aggressive lyrics, and often incorporates elements of funk, soul, and rock.What is the origin of trap beats? ›
Trap originated in the Southern part of the United States in the 1990s, specifically Atlanta, Georgia. Some of the most well-known early trap artists in the 1990s were 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Ghetto Mafia, and Master P.What was the first song to use trap beat? ›
In the early 1990s, rappers UGK, 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Cool Breeze, Kilo Ali, Master P, and Ghetto Mafia were among the first rappers to introduce trap music. In 1992, UGK's “Pocket Full of Stones” was one of the earliest trap records to be released from their major-label debut album Too Hard to Swallow.Who was the first rhythmic rapper? ›
DJ Kool Herc is widely credited with kicking off the genre. His back-to-school parties in the 1970s were the incubator of his burgeoning idea, where he used his two record turntables to create loops, playing the same beat over again, and extending the instrumental portion of a song.Who started the drill rap scene? ›
Drill rap originated in southside Chicago around 2011. King Louie is considered to be one of the first drill rappers ever, and the founder of Drill rap. Some pioneers of drill rap were Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Lil Durk, Rondonumba9, LA Capone (R.I.P), and more.What was the dirty decade of hip hop? ›
During the decade of 1997–2007, rap music produced in cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis, Miami, and Houston transformed the margins into the rap mainstream.What time signature is most rap? ›
In general, common time, or 4/4 meter, is the most common meter used in music, especially popular music, rock, rap, and hip-hop.How does double time work in music? ›
A doubling of tempo in the melody while the accompanying instruments remain at the slower tempo; or all the instruments doubling the tempo together. This is a common rhythm device in ballad playing.
And although hip-hop's roots are undoubtedly in New York, Atlanta has quickly become the epicenter for rap music in America. In “Rap Capital: An Atlanta Story,” Joe Coscarelli explores how we got here.What city did rap start? ›
Rap as a genre began at block parties in New York City in the early 1970s, when DJs began isolating the percussion breaks of funk, soul, and disco songs and extending them. MCs tasked with introducing the DJs and keeping the crowd energized would talk between songs, joking and generally interacting with the audience.What did rap used to be called? ›
Hip hop music or hip-hop music, also known as rap music and formerly known as disco rap, is a genre of popular music that originated in the Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s by African Americans, and it had been around for years prior before mainstream discovery.Who is the best trap rapper? ›
Gucci Mane is a living legend, an icon of Atlanta hip hop, and the greatest trap rapper of all time. He is one of the most influential artists in the culture, and his contributions to trap music cannot be overstated.
The modern trap sound was popularized by producer Lex Luger, who produced the influential Waka Flocka Flame album Flockaveli in 2010, and cofounded the prolific hip-hop production team 808 Mafia.What is dark trap? ›
Dark trap is a subgenre of trap music that features heavy, ominous beats and dark, moody atmospheres. It often incorporates elements of horrorcore, gothic rock, and industrial music, creating a sound that is both menacing and hypnotic.Who was the first white rapper? ›
While Vanilla Ice may have been the first white rapper to achieve mainstream success, it was the Beastie Boys who helped to lay the foundation for white rappers to follow.Who is the father of rap? ›
One of the first rappers at the beginning of the hip hop period, at the end of the 1970s, was also hip hop's first DJ, DJ Kool Herc. Herc, a Jamaican immigrant, started delivering simple raps at his parties, which some claim were inspired by the Jamaican tradition of toasting.Why is drill called drill? ›
In street slang, "drill" means to fight or retaliate, and "can be used for anything from females getting dolled up to all out war in the streets." Dro City rapper Pac Man, considered the stylistic originator of the genre, is credited as the first to apply the term to the local hip hop music.
The Chicago Sound
Chicago is where the term drill took on new meaning, first as slang for shooting and killing and then, with Pac Man's “It's a Drill” in 2010, for music about witnessing both.
27-year-old Queens rapper Shawny Binladen's reimagination of drill music opened up a new world of possibilities by calling on a practice foundational to hip-hop: sampling. There may never be another King of New York — but Shawny Binladen is the King of Samples.What is the oldest style of hip hop? ›
Old-school hip hop (also spelled old skool) is the earliest commercially recorded hip hop music and original style of the genre. It typically refers to the music created around 1979 to 1983, as well as any hip hop that does not adhere to contemporary styles.What is the oldest hip hop? ›
Expansion through the US: In 1979, hip-hop trio the Sugarhill Gang released what is now widely considered the first hip-hop record, “Rapper's Delight,” which reached the top 40 on the US Billboard charts and propelled hip-hop into the spotlight—making hip-hop a full-fledged genre.What was the first #1 hip hop? ›
And on Nov. 3, 1990, rap cemented its finally unignorable mainstream influence with its first-ever No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100: Vanilla Ice's “Ice Ice Baby.”What song holds the fastest rap? ›
Guinness World Records recognized “Godzilla” for having the “Fastest Rap in a No. 1 Single”, a distinction that the track still holds today.Who has the fastest rap? ›
According to the Guinness Book of World Records website, Eminem is the current record holder of the world's fastest rap on a hit single, which puts him at the top amongst the world's most renowned rap talents.What is 8 bars in rap? ›
So instead of going RIGHT from the verse into the chorus it gives you two bars of time to make the transition smoother. There are usually 8 bars in a chorus. The majority of rap songs will have an 8 bar hook. Sometimes artists will do 4 bars and then repeat it to make up the 8 bars.What is the opposite of double time? ›
Half-time (music)What is the opposite of double time music? ›
Half-time means playing a rhythm half as fast as at what it was previously played. And double time means, yeah you guessed it, playing a rhythm twice as fast as the original rhythm.
The double beat use of the metronome proposes that earlier composers used slower tempi by means of using the metronome differently then our current use.What does double time mean music? ›
These are half-time and double time. Half-time means playing a rhythm half as fast as at what it was previously played. And double time means, yeah you guessed it, playing a rhythm twice as fast as the original rhythm.What is the best tempo for trap beats? ›
Most trap productions fall within the 100-176 BPM range, with 140 being the sweet spot. You'll typically feel these tempos as either the main pulse or the eighth-note pulse (meaning the beat would sound half as slow). If you prefer a slower pulse, try setting your tempo to 75-90.What tempo are most trap beats? ›
The BPM range of a Trap beat is 130 to 150 BPM.What is the opposite of double time in music? ›
"Half"-time refers to halving this division (divide each measure into quarter notes with the ride pattern), while "double"-time refers to doubling this division (divide each measure into sixteenth notes with the ride pattern).Is Double Time actually double time? ›
Sometimes known as “double overtime,” double time is paying an employee twice their normal rate of pay. If you earn $15/hr, you'll get $30/hr with double time.