Rap music is a genre that is very much a niche style of music and most people would consider that it is fairly recent. However, African musicians used a similar style of music around 100 years before it became popular in the west. Folk musicians in the Caribbean used a similar style.
Rap is a style which involves speaking or chanting lyrics that rhyme. There is usually a strong beat to the music too. Many modern rap songs address strong subject matter including violence and sex. Rap first became popular in the US in the 1970s. It was a type of street music at that time and remained so until 1979. The band Sugarhill Gang released a rap song and this brought it to the attention of the masses. This encouraged other rap artists to seek recording contracts.
By the 1980s, white artists were also taking part in the rap music scene and bands such as the Beastie Boys were very popular. By the time the 1990s arrive, the lyrics became more complex and louder. Popular rap artists of the 1990s include Eminem and Snoop Dogg. The genre continues to be popular today.