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Jazz Rap

Gang Starr
Cover of Gang Starr

What is Jazz Rap Music

Jazz Rap Music is one of the sub-genres of hip hop music, incorporating many jazz influences. Originating throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, many jazz rap lyrics are typical of the era, with lots of politically conscious themes. According to Allmusic, Jazz rap music  “was an attempt to fuse African-American music of the past with a newly dominant form of the present, paying tribute to and reinvigorating the former while expanding the horizons of the latter”. Somebody really thought that one through didn’t they?  The music actually sounds a bit more hip hop than jazz, but with lots of jazz instrumentation and improvisation thrown in it really is a great sound.

Representative Jazz Rap Musicians

Jazz Rap Music didn’t really emerge as a sub-genre until mid to late 1980’s. In 1985, the jazz fusion band Cargo released a single called “Jazz Rap”, which appeared on the album of the same name. That was kind of the beginning. Other bands followed the jazz rap trend, and in 1988 a band called Gang Starr released songs which sampled Dizzie Gillespie stuff from the 1950’s. Other albums released by Gang Starr and Stetasonic helped to make the jazz rap style pretty popular.

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