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.
- Pinetop Smith's "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" (1929) in which the "girl with the red dress on" was first told "when I say stop, don't you move a peg, when I say go I want you to shake your leg".
- W.C. Handy's talking celebration of "Long John Dean, the bold bank robber from Bowling Green".
- Rosalind Russell, "Swing" (1953), a "patter song" written by Leonard Bernstein for the Broadway musical Wonderful Town that's just full of rappish talk -- "Old man Mose, kicked that bucket, down in the well, well, well, well ... Fish, it's my favorite dish"
- Champion Jack Dupree's "Big Leg Emma's" (1956), rhyming tale of a barrelhouse raid over slow blues piano: "I went down to Big Leg Emma's house, to get myself a drink of gin, but before I got in the house good, the law walked in".
- Bo Diddley's "Who do you love?", (1956) a maniacal boast, "I got a tombstone hand and graveyard mind, just 22 and I don't mind dyin'".
- Many funk songs by Parliament-Funkadelic, such as the spoken-sung call and response poetry of "Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo-Doo Chasers)" (Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove, 1978)
- Napoleon XIV, "They're coming to take me away ha-ha" (1966), just one demented rhymer, a trap set, and a variable speed tape drive. And, on the B-side, the whole thing in reverse.
- Bob Dylan "Subterranean Homesick Blues'' 1960s vocal exercise.
- Bonzo Dog Band, "Humanoid Boogie" (1969): "Well, the humanoid boogie's gonna get to number one on the cha-cha-charts voted by the people-eeple-eeple of the record-buying publicoid".
- Numerous novelty songs of the 50s and 60s featuring rhythmic readings of rhymed verse (often with melodic choruses), such as "Please Mr. Custer", the tale of a reluctant Indian fighter; "All American Boy", the story of Elvis Presley, "Gitarzan" by Ray Stevens, "He's free as the breeze, He's always at ease, He lives in the jungle and hangs by his knees".