In recent years, the fastest growing and most popular type of music has been rap. The rap music craze started in the late 1970's with a group of young African-Americans called the Sugar Hill Gang. Their hit single "Rapper's Delight" tore through the billboard charts, becoming the first rap song to make it to number one spot. With this breakthrough, the rap industry was born. More groups of "rappers" sprouted from everywhere in the 1980's, the most famous of which being 2 Live Crew, Public Enemy and Ice T. In the earlier years of rap music's development, rap was mainly listened to and produced by young African-Americans; yet in the mid 1990's more people of all races and socio-economic backgrounds began listening thanks to white rappers such as Eminem, Kid Rock and Vanilla Ice.
Rap is very distinct from other genres of music. The most distinguishing characteristic of rap music is the extremely fast, yet rhythmically spoken words and phrases. These "rapped" words are then recorded over the background music that usually includes some sort of bass and many keyboard sounds. The absence of musical instruments in most rap songs differentiates it even further from the other genres of music. Yet one of the prime characterizations of rap music lies within the music's lyrics. Many rap artists and their listeners consider rap to be an "expression of themselves" and that the lyrics should not be taken literally. In fact numerous people can relate to the ideas and opinions of the rap artists. Yet most rap music can be considered very controversial in today's society. In the rapper Snoop Dogg's song Gin and Juice, the chorus states that he is, "Rollin down the street, smokin" indo, sippin" on gin and juice- .
As this song promotes the use of illegal drugs and alcohol so does the majority of lyrics to rap songs which contain explicit references to drugs, sex and violence. Many contain lyrics that degrade women and commentaries on the "hardships of ghetto life.