Rap Metal: A Union of Genres

Occasionally two genres of music can be refined and fused to create a new sound that is entirely unique. Hard Rap is a fast paced genre with angry themes. Naturally, this form of music fits in perfectly with the attributes of Metal music. Therefore, the existence of Rap Metal would be a natural development as a Metal subgenre. Rap Metal fuses the most aggressive aspects of Rap with the essence of Heavy Metal (“Rap Metal”). This subgenre incorporates many aspects of Metal, especially the guitar with the vocals of Rap.  One of the most popular and influential Rap Metal bands is Rage Against the Machine, a band that does not conform to the commonly childish themes of this genre. This complex genre incorporates various influences, demonstrates specific themes and is characterized by bands like Rage Against the Machine.

The main characteristic that delineates Rap Metal from Rap is the use of the rock guitar (“Rap Metal”). The guitar is the quintessential instrument for Rock and Metal genres. Nevertheless, the guitar is rarely used in Rap. Rap commonly utilizes synthesized beats and rhythms. In 1987, Anthrax’s “I’m the Man” truly combined hard guitar with Rap (“Rap Metal”).  Rap Metal uses the guitars and drums to create the beat to rap to. The Metal aspect comes from the hard, fast riffs that are played. Bands like Linkin Park incorporate the guitar into their rap verses and also have choruses that are more synonymous with Metal music (Linkin Park). They even occasionally use guitar or drum solos to accentuate the Metal aspects of their genre (Linkin Park).  The instruments used in Rap Metal distinguish it as a subgenre of Metal.

The vocals of Rap Music reflect the Rap influence on the genre. The lyrical themes conveyed in both Rap and Rap Metal are usually concerning urban toughness. In addition, the lyrics are not sung but said in rhythm in both types. Some Rap Metal bands will actually yell the Rap lyrics as to incorporate the angry motives of Metal music (“Rap Metal”). The rhythmic monotone verses of Rap Metal are contrary to most other forms of Metal. Metal is usually grand and melodic, even demonstrating aspect of opera occasionally. Nevertheless, Rap Metal isolates the melodies of Metal to just the choruses of songs.

Rage Against the Machine is one of the most influential Rap Metal groups in existence. The instrumentals usually consist of a guitar, drums, and a bass guitar. The songs they play utilize very rhythmic, strong guitar riffs. This can be best heard in the song “Bulls on Parade” which repeats a whining guitar sequence throughout the whole song. Despite being repetitive, the guitar in this song is still overpowering and aggressive. The lead singer of Rage Against the Machine is the purest example of Rap Metal. He forces his rap lyrics in a raspy voice, and he yells the choruses with great intensity (Rage Against the Machine). In addition, most of the songs they perform have political themes(“Rap Metal”). Overall, the intense lyrics and driving instrumentals of Rage Against the Machine make it a perfect example of a Rap Metal band.

Rap Metal combines the most aggressive qualities of both Rap and Metal. The rolling sound of Metal fits in as a perfect background for hard, rhythmic Rap. The use of the guitar mainly makes this music Metal. Meanwhile, the way the lyrics are sung is synonymous with Rap. No other band uses this form of music to convey political themes better than Rage Against the Machine. Their rough sound perfectly shows the anger they feel toward political entities they disagree with. Rap Metal is a unique subgenre that is a result of the artistic union of two hate fueled genres.

Works Cited

Linkin Park. Hybrid Theory (Bonus Track). Warner Bros 2000. CD.

Rage Against the Machine. Evil Empire. Epic 1996. CD.

“Rap Metal”. All Music. All Media Network, LLC. 2014. September 24, 2014. Web. http://

www. Allmusic .com /style/rap-metal-ma0000002817/artists

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