Rapping is a form of singing. It is a mix between singing and talking. The words are spoken with rhythm and in the text there are rhymes. African-Americans made rhyming games based on rap. The beat in the background is a simple loop that is sometimes made by the rapper themself or sometimes copied from a sample CD. The simple loop carries out through the entire song usually, except for the chorus. It developed in the ethnic minority urban (city) areas, as an American form of Jamaican "toasting" (chanting and rhyming with a microphone).
Run DMC and The Sugarhill Gang were early popular hip hop groups in the 1980s. When rappers began to use violent language and gestures, the music was then liked by gangsters. This kind of music was called "gangsta rap". Gangsta rap often has lyrics which are about guns, drug dealing and life as a thug on the street. This genre also began in the 1980s and is still produced.
Some well known early rappers include: Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Sean "P-Diddy" Combs. During the 1990s there was a rivalry between the two big record labels "Death Row Records" and "Bad Boy Records". The rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. were murdered. Later, the two record labels stopped the rivalry. Because most of the rappers who rapped for "Death Row Records" were from the West Coast of the US and most of the rappers who rapped for "Bad Boy Records" were from the East Coast, this rivalry was called "the West Coast – East Coast beef".
More modern rappers include Iggy Azalea 50-Cent, Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas, and Kanye West. Rap is now produced in almost every nation of the world.
The fastest rapper according to Guinness World Records is Ricky Brown from the United States. On January 15, 2005, he rapped 723 syllables in 51.27 seconds from his track.