Hip Pop Art Blue Rodney Jackson-1-
Pop rap
Stylistic origins Pop, Old school hip-hop, reggae, rock, electronica
Cultural origins Late 1980s in the United States and Japan
Typical instruments Rapping – Other vocals – Keyboards – Guitar – Drum – Piano – Turntables – Synthesiser (when incorporating electropop)
Mainstream popularity High in the United States since late 1980s; high in Japan since the late 2000s
Other topics Japanese hip-hop – Japanese idol

Hip pop is a fusion music genre combining the vocal style of pop with hip hop, which became popular in Japan in the late 2000s. Because there were rap artists to mix rap with pop music in the United States in the late 1980s and early 1990s such as LL Cool J, also, recently rapper turned hip pop star, these rap artists' music is commonly called Pop rap in the US.

In Japan, however, the term "hip pop" became used as a fusion genre of J-pop and hip hop. The "hip pop" music was sometimes confused with pop songs with rapping, but Japanese music duo Mihimaru GT described the true "hip pop" music for them as the music by the intermediate vocal style between rapping and singing. They also pointed out that the "hip pop" music could cover various music genres such as reggae and rock. The term itself can be found in the Japanese group Hip Pop Girls, which released an album in 1991. Later, Japanese female pop singer Namie Amuro released the album Queen of Hip-Pop in 2005 and Japane singer Sho Sakurai also recorded his solo song "Hip Pop Boogie" on the limited edition of his band Arashi's 2008 album Dream "A" Live.

Nonetheless, the term also went on to be used in the US such as Keith Caulfield of Billboard, who referred to The Black Eyed Peas as a "hip-pop" group when their album The E.N.D. topped the Billboard 200 in June 2009.


The first commercial succesful rap song mixed up with pop and funk was Der Kommissar by the Austrian musician Falco. It was among the Billboard Hot 100 (#72). The style became popular in the early 1990s, as hip hop music found commercial success. Pop rappers were seen as less "threatening" to a predominantly juvenile audience, as against the hardcore gangsta rap gaining in popularity. Performers such as Vanilla Ice were able to harness the general aesthetic of hip hop music to a radio-friendly sound (and subject matter). Many pop-rap hits sampled instantly-recognisable hits as a backing track, "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer being the prime example, lifting the bass riff from Rick James' "Superfreak." The increasing popularity of hip hop as the 21st century began is often ascribed to pop rap's stylistic matter. Undoubtedly, most of the popular acts by this point were heavily informed by pop rap with their reliance on well-known samples and danceable tunes. However, because some have complained of its mainstream appeal, some hardcore influences were added to it by the mid or late 1990s in order to try deflecting the backlash over their accessibility.


Pop-rap has been popular since its beginning in the late-1980s, after various hip hop artists commenced entering the mainstream. LL Cool J just may have been the very first pop-rapper in history, when he rose to prominence on his 1985 debut album Radio. When he joined Russell Simmons' Def Jam label and decided to try merging rap with pop and R&B influences, some people were skeptical that it would ever work. But in the end, one of LL's singles, the rap-ballad "I Need Love", actually became a success. The origins of Pop-rap lay in artists like Tone-Loc, Young M.C., and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince putting emphasis right on their good-humored, storytelling skills, to great chart success. The were followers who also began recording similarly amiable party tunes and novelties.Since there had been a possibility of accepting this as real music, other emcees started to play up rap's connection to pop, R&B, and dance music.

Some pop-rap artists looked to taking samples of songs from other sources in order to supply and support their melodies; others created their own original tunes to go with their lyrics which turned into hits that way. As a result of the former, pop-rap was frequently mocked and taken to court for the use of borrowing hooks from previous songs by other artists without shifting the appropriations very much, if at all. This came to light when hip-poppers like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice arrived on the scene in 1990, and caused controversy by lifting hooks from prior songs for use on their own hits. However, there have been plenty of pop-rap M.C.s who continued to score hits on the charts while maintaining their own unique sounds: P.M. Dawn, Naughty By Nature, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, House of Pain, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Coolio, etc.

By the late 1990s, pop-rap was ruled by artists they had affected or mentored, as well as artists who blended rap with urban soul. R&B-styled hooks and instantly recognizable samples of well-known soul and pop songs from the 1970s and 1980s were the staples of this sound, which was showcased primarily in his latter-day work for The Notorious B.I.G. ("Mo Money, Mo Problems"), Ma$e ("Feels So Good"), and artists such as Jay-Z ("Can I Get A..."), Nas's ("Street Dreams") and Aaron Carter ("Aaron's Party (Come Get It...)", "Bounce", "Leave It Up to Me", "Oh Aaron", "That How I Beat Shaq", and "Not Too Young and Not Too Old"). Very little of this commercially minded music was met with acclaim from hip hop enthusiasts or critics, however - Puff Daddy's "loop it and leave it" style of sampling, which most of the time just consisted of rapping over someone else's instrumental, was criticized heavily.

Heavily pop-inflected gangsta rap continues to be successful into the 21st century, with many artists deftly straddling the divide between their hip hop audience and their pop audience, such as D4L, Dem Franchize Boyz, and Nelly.

Notable pop rappersEdit

See alsoEdit

The Four Core Elements Breaking | DJing | Graffiti | MCing
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Subgenres Acid rap – Alternative hip-hop – Bit-HopBounce musicChicano rapChopped and screwedChristian hip-hopConscious hip-hopEast Coast hip-hopFreestyle rapGangsta rapHardcore hip-hopHorrorcoreIndie hip-hopInstrumental hip-hopMafioso rapMidwest hip-hopNative American hip-hopNerdcore hip-hopUnderground hip-hopPolitical hip-hopPop rapSnap musicTurntablismWest Coast hip-hop - Trap (music genre)
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