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Roots of rap music

The first rap record is generally acknowledged to have been "King Tim III" by the Fatback Band in 1979, but there were many predecessors and early indicators of the possibilities of chanting rhymes over a musical background. Pure hip hop emerged from 1970s block parties in New York City. The block parties were closely related to sound systems in Jamaica, which were large parties, originally outdoors, thrown by owners of loud and expensive stereo equipment which they could share with the community. Rap emerged from block parties after DJs isolated percussion breaks and began speaking over the beats; in Jamaica, a similar vocal style called dub developed from the same isolated and elongated percussion breaks.

Earlier styles that contributed to rap

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.

Individual performances that prefigured rap

While rap as a musical genre started in the 80s, there have been many black and white performers who succeeded with rap-style performances in early jazz, blues, pop, and country performances.