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23 Inspiring Types of Rap That Completely Changed The Game

Rap music is one of the most legendary and influential genres in the world. 


Its powerful beats, compelling lyrics, and diverse styles have made their mark on cultures across the globe and have inspired countless artists and music producers. 


As a music producer or artist, knowing the different types of rap can open up new creative possibilities and deepen your appreciation for its unique history.


In this article, you’ll learn about different types of rap like:


  • Old school hip-hop ✓
  • Conscious hip-hop ✓
  • Gangsta rap ✓
  • Rap rock ✓
  • Southern hip-hop ✓
  • Emo rap ✓
  • West Coast hip-hop ✓
  • Boom Bap ✓
  • Lo-fi hip-hop ✓
  • East Coast rap ✓
  • + 13 more types of rap ✓


After reading this article, you’ll know everything about all the different types of rap that paved the way for all the hybrid genres you hear today.


Plus learn about the unique characteristics and influences of each sub-genre 一 enhancing your knowledge and (hopefully) inspiring your own creative journey. 


Whether you’re creating music or just a music enthusiast, this breakdown of epic rap styles will give you the insights you need to understand the full spectrum of rap music. 


So, let’s dive into all the different types of rap…


#1. Old School Hip-Hop



Old school hip-hop is the foundation of rap music, originating in the 1970s and 1980s in good old New York City. 


Pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and the Sugarhill Gang introduced rhythmic beats and rhyming lyrics, creating a new form of musical expression. 


Old school hip-hop focused on the essential elements of hip-hop culture, including:


  • Breakdancing
  • DJing
  • Graffiti art


My favorite rap song in this unique genre is “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugar hill Gang showcased the early sound of old school hip-hop and became iconic hits. 


The simplicity and raw energy of old school hip-hop laid the groundwork for future rap styles and influenced countless artists. 


DJ Kool Herc’s innovative techniques (such as the breakbeat) were key in shaping old school hip-hop’s sound and overall vibe.


The legacy of old school hip-hop remains strong 一 influencing modern hip-hop artists and continuing to be celebrated for its authentic and pioneering spirit.


Plus, in my opinion, when it comes to different types of rap, anything that originated on the streets of New York is always super official.


#2. Conscious Hip-Hop



Conscious hip-hop focuses on social, political, and cultural issues, using rap music as a platform for change. 


Artists like A Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy brought attention to important topics through their powerful lyrics


Conscious hip-hop kicked off a movement within the hip-hop community, encouraging listeners to think critically about their surroundings and deep issues.


Conscious Hip-Hop has an emphasis on positive messages and community, which made it a true cornerstone of hip-hop culture. 


Mainstream hip-hop often incorporates elements of conscious hip-hop to address current issues that need attention.


The impact of conscious hip-hop on both artists and fans is super moving.


It continues to inspire new generations of hip-hop artists who strive to make a difference through their music.


#3. Gangsta Rap



Gangsta rap emerged in the late 1980s, highlighting the harsh realities of urban life. 


Artists like N.W.A and Ice-T used raw, explicit lyrics to depict street violence, drugs, and the struggles of inner-city living. 


Its controversial themes sparked debates about freedom of expression through the influence of relatable rap music.


Despite criticism, gangsta rap gained immense popularity, with albums like N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton” becoming cultural milestones. 


Gangsta rappers like Ice-T and Dr. Dre shaped the direction of mainstream rap 一 bringing a gritty authenticity to their music that people really appreciate.


When it comes to different types of rap, Gangsta Rap has made an impact that is undeniable even today. 


Especially because today’s hip-hop artists continue to explore complex narratives that Gangsta Rap made notorious. 


Bottom line, Gangsta rap remains a powerful and influential force in the rap community, reflecting real-life experiences and making movements.


#4. Rap Rock



Rap rock blends the aggressive elements of rock music with the rhythmic flow of rap. 


Bands like the Beastie Boys and Linkin Park kicked off this fusion 一 creating a high-energy sound that resonated with diverse audiences worldwide.


Its ability to merge guitar riffs with rap lyrics made it a unique hybrid that people were immediately attracted to.


Rap rock artists often tackle themes of rebellion and personal struggle, appealing to fans of both genres. 


Linkin Park’s debut album “Hybrid Theory” is a great example of how Rap Rock can be successful in the commercial realm. 


This innovative music genre continues to influence artists and push the boundaries of convention (which is always awesome). 


Rap rock’s dynamic fusion offers a powerful combination of rap’s rhythm and rock’s intensity.


#5. Southern Hip-Hop



Southern hip-hop, known for its distinctive sound, emerged from the Southern United States and took over shortly after.


Legendary artists like OutKast and Lil Jon brought regional flavors and unique beats to the forefront of hip-hop music. 


Southern Hip-Hop created an energetic, danceable style with signature:



Southern hip-hop’s popularity grew in the 1990s and 2000s, influencing mainstream music and culture almost immediately.


Its emphasis on club bangers and catchy hooks made it a staple in hip-hop genres. 


Southern hip-hop’s legacy continues to thrive 一 cementing its place in the industry and highlighting the South’s contribution to hip-hop.


#6. Emo Rap



Emo rap blends emotional, confessional lyrics with the beats of rap music. 


Emo rap artists like Lil Peep and XXXTentacion brought vulnerability and raw emotion that hit people right in the ‘feels,’ if you will.


It includes more introspective themes that often address: 


  • Mental health
  • Heartbreak
  • Personal struggles


Its unique sound combines melodic elements with traditional hip-hop beats to create a distinct style that is very moving and emotional.


The influence of emo rap extends to mainstream hip-hop, where artists increasingly explore personal, deep topics. 


Plus, its rise on platforms like SoundCloud highlights the impact of Emo rap in the digital music realm as well. 


When it comes to types of rap, Emo Rap continues to resonate with a wide audience 一 offering a deep, emotional connection through music.


#7. West Coast Hip-Hop



West Coast hip-hop, characterized by its laid-back beats and funky grooves, first took over the scene in the late 1980s. 


OG artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg defined this music genre with their signature smooth flows and G-funk sound. 


West Coast rap often features themes of: 


  • Street life
  • Partying
  • West Coast pride
  • Etc.


Its influence on hip-hop culture is significant, shaping the sound and style of many modern artists throughout the decades.


West Coast hip-hop’s signature sound continues to be celebrated and emulated as one of the most well-known types of rap, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.


Its vibrant and distinctive style will always represent the West Coast’s cultural impact.


#8. Trap Music



Trap music, originating from the Southern United States, is known for its: 



Artists like Gucci Mane, Plies, and T.I. introduced its unique sound to mainstream hip-hop, and it spread like wildfire.


Trap music often explores themes of hustle, street life, and success 一 resonating with the most diverse audience ever.


I mean, think about it… everyone loves Trap, right?


Its distinctive sound (hi-hats, drums, etc.) and laidback style has influenced many music genres, including electronic and pop music. 


Bottom line, its innovative beats and catchy rhythms have redefined modern rap music altogether, becoming one of the most popular genres around.


#9. Lo-Fi Hip-Hop



Lo-fi hip-hop, characterized by its mellow beats and relaxed vibe, has also become one of the most popular hip-hop subgenres around. 


Artists like Nujabes and J Dilla are known for their contributions to the lo-fi hip-hop sound, featuring:



Lo-fi hip-hop is one of those types of rap that can immediately calm you down, which make it a favorite for: studying, relaxing, and background music. 


Plus it seems like its popularity is only growing in recent years, especially on streaming platforms like YouTube


Lo-fi hip-hop continues to attract fans with its unique, laid-back style and serene, introspective sound.


It’s really a refreshing alternative in the hip-hop landscape.


Side note from the types of rap 一 if you’re looking for the most epic free lo-fi sample pack, or the most legendary new free lo-fi plugin in the game, we’ve got you covered.


#10. East Coast Rap



East Coast rap, originating from New York City, is known for its complex lyrics and gritty beats that are undeniably captivating.


Artists like Jay-Z and Nas have defined the genre with their storytelling and sick lyrics, often exploring themes of:


  • Street life
  • Personal struggles
  • Inspiring triumphs
  • Everything in between


It really set a high standard when it comes to lyrical content and production quality, continuing to inspire/innovate the masses everyday.


Plus of course, a whole generation of rappers and types of rap subgenres.


When it comes to types of rap, East Coast rap is one of the most diverse, and it’s focus on lyrical excellence and raw beats makes it a timeless influence in hip-hop.


#11. Boom Bap



Boom Bap, known for its hard-hitting beats and raw sound, is a foundational style of hip-hop music and one of the most popular types of rap ever.


KRS-One and Gang Starr popularized this classic music genre with their in-your-face lyrical style and head-nodding rhythms that drove people crazy.


Boom Bap inspired beats that were built on its signature sounds, like: 


  • Samples
  • Drum machines
  • Sharp snares


Boom Bap often focuses on storytelling, social issues, and lyrical skill.


Its influence on hip-hop subgenres is significant 一 shaping the sound of many classic and contemporary rap songs.


Not only is it loved and influential (making it a permanent part of hip-hop culture), but its authentic and rugged styles continues to motivate today.


If you’re talking about different types of rap, you can guarantee Boom Bap will always be a part of the conversation.


#12. Frat Rap



Frat rap, known for its party anthems and college life themes, has gained popularity among younger audiences. 


Artists like Asher Roth and Sammy Adams brought frat rap to the mainstream with their catchy, carefree songs. 


Frat Rap often features upbeat, fun lyrics about partying, college experiences, and youthful adventures.


Its lighthearted and relatable content makes it one of the most popular types of rap when it comes to college parties and events.


Plus, its influence on mainstream rap music is also super apparent because many popular artists still incorporate similar themes and styles (which people love).


Frat Rap often includes catchy hooks and repetitive choruses that make for memorable rap songs and is characterized by its celebratory and carefree attitude.


Bottom line, Frat Rap is simple and relatable 一 making it a super popular genre among hip-hop fans and a must in colleges around the world.


#13. G-funk



G-funk (aka gangsta funk), combines funk music with gangsta rap elements, which artists like Dr. Dre and Warren G are known for their contributions to the genre.


G-funk features: 



G-funk often explores themes of street life, partying, and West Coast culture. 


Its influence on West Coast rap and mainstream hip-hop is insane, and it’s distinctive sound continues to be celebrated and emulated in modern rap music. 


NOTE: Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” is a landmark album that is the epitome of G-funk and its impact on hip-hop music is blatantly obvious.


This makes it one of the most widely recognized types of rap to this day.


#14. Latin Trap



Latin trap, a fusion of Latin music and trap elements, has gained significant popularity in recent years 一 Bad Bunny and Anuel AA are leading figures in the genre. 


Latin trap features unique sounds like: 



This exciting and insanely popular music genre breaks down popular topics like: intense love, street life, and Latin culture. 


Its influence on mainstream music is only growing, and with so many artists incorporating its elements into their work, that’s not changing anytime soon.


NOTE: Bad Bunny has helped Latin Trap become super popular, especially once he collabed with Nicki Minaj.


Latin Trap continues to thrive and evolve 一 bringing Latin flavors to the global music scene that people just can’t resist dancing to.


#15. SoundCloud Rap



SoundCloud rap, named after the platform where it gained popularity, is known for its raw and unpolished sound. 


Lil Uzi Vert and XXXTentacion used SoundCloud to release their music, gaining a massive following and making it one of the most popular types of rap as of late.


SoundCloud rap often features lo-fi production, emotional lyrics, and a DIY ethos, making it super intriguing to aspiring hip-hop artists. 


Its impact on the hip-hop community is significant, as it democratized music distribution and gave rise to a new generation of artists. 

Also, the genre’s influence extends to mainstream hip-hop, with many artists achieving commercial success after starting on SoundCloud. 


SoundCloud rap continues to be a breeding ground for boundary-pushing music. 


Its success demonstrates the power of digital platforms in shaping the music industry itself and why it quickly became one of the most listened to types of raps around.


#16. Mumble Rap



Mumble rap, characterized by its indistinct vocal delivery and repetitive hooks, has become one of the most controversial yet influential types of rap.


Artists like Future and Young Thug are known for their signature mumble rap style, which often focuses on mood and melody over clear articulation. 


Mumble rap’s emphasis on catchy, hypnotic beats and auto-tuned vocals has made it a staple in modern rap music. 


Plus its impact on mainstream rap is evident, with many artists adopting its stylistic elements, despite criticism from more traditional people.


Mumble rap has such a dedicated fanbase rap and continues to evolve and grow with each new club banger, so never underestimate it.


It’s honestly redefined modern hip-hop, and Future’s “Mask Off” is the perfect example of mumble rap’s (and mumble rappers) influence and popularity.


#17. UK Drill



UK drill, originating from the streets of London, is known for its dark beats and gritty lyrical style that people straight vibe out to.


Headie One and Skepta have popularized the genre, bringing its distinct sound to a global audience.


UK drill often explores themes of street life, violence, and survival 一 set against hard-hitting, minimalist beats with a big impact.


Its raw and unfiltered style has made it a powerful voice in the hip-hop community. 


UK drill’s influence has spread beyond the UK, inspiring artists in the US and other countries to adapt its sound. 


It continues to shape the world of contemporary hip-hop, and its sudden rise demonstrates the global reach and adaptability of different types of rap.


#18. Cloud Rap



Cloud rap, characterized by its ethereal beats and dreamy atmosphere, offers a unique take on hip-hop, with artists like Yung Lean and Clams Casino running the show.


Its known for its otherworldly soundscapes and introspective lyrics that people seem to be very drawn to.


Cloud rap often features: 



Its influence on the hip-hop genres is significant 一 inspiring a whole new wave of artists to experiment with unconventional sounds


Its popularity has grown, particularly among fans of lo-fi and experimental music, making it one of the most interesting types of rap (recently).


Cloud rap continues to push the boundaries of what hip-hop music can be, and Lean’s “Ginseng Strip 2002” is an iconic track that exemplifies the genre’s style and impact.


#19. Chopped and Screwed Rap



Chopped and screwed rap, a technique pioneered by DJ Screw, involves slowing down the tempo of rap songs and adding effects like skipping beats and scratching. 


This style creates a hypnotic, laid-back sound that has become synonymous with Houston’s hip-hop scene. 


DJ Screw’s innovative approach has influenced many artists and producers, cementing his legacy in the hip-hop community. 


Chopped and screwed hip-hop often features themes of introspection and melancholy 一 reflecting the slowed-down pace of the music. 


It has a unique sound that’s found a dedicated fan base and continues to be a defining element of Southern hip-hop types of rap. 


Chopped and screwed rap remains one of the most distinctive and influential hip-hop subgenres around. 


NOTE: DJ Screw’s “June 27th” is a classic example of the genre’s style.


#20. Hyphy



Hyphy, originating from the Bay Area in California, is known for its high-energy beats and lively party anthems. 


Artists like E-40 and Keak Da Sneak have been instrumental in popularizing the genre, featuring:


  • Fast tempos
  • Repetitive hooks
  • A sense of fun and rebellion


Hyphy focuses mainly on dancing, car culture, and street parties (which made it a cultural phenomenon) and its energetic style is addicting.


Hyphy continues to be celebrated for its unique contribution to the diversity of hip-hop music, especially on the west coast, of course.


E-40’s “Tell Me When to Go” is one of the most downloaded hyphy track that perfectly display the genre’s vibrant energy.


So, if you’re looking for feel-good types of rap, then Hyphy is certainly up there.


#21. Jazz Rap



Jazz rap combines the improvisational elements of jazz with the lyrical flow of rap for a pretty unique quality.


A Tribe Called Quest and Guru’s Jazzmatazz project are iconic examples of this fusion; its smooth beats/instrumentals offer an interesting sound within hip-hop music. 


Jazz rap appeals to a diverse audience, often talking about:


  • Culture
  • Identity
  • History


Jazz rap’s influence can be seen in the work of many hip-hop artists who incorporate jazz elements into their music for a competitive edge.


When it comes to types of rap, Jazz rap is a testament to the versatility and creativity of hip-hop culture itself.


That’s why it continues to inspire new generations of artists and producers.


#22. Country Trap



Country trap is exactly what it sounds like… a fusion of country music and trap elements (which has brought a new sound to the hip-hop scene). 


Artists like Lil Nas X and Blanco Brown have achieved significant success with their country trap hits, despite it’s controversy.


Country Trap combines country guitar riffs and trap beats, creating a catchy and innovative sound that most people are drawn to.


It mainly focuses on themes like: 


  • Rural life
  • Partying
  • Love


The crossover appeal of Country Trap music has really helped it gain popularity as one of the top types of rap in both the country and hip-hop communities. 


It continues to push the boundaries of musical genres, blending styles in new and exciting ways. 


#23. Hardcore Hip-Hop



Hardcore hip-hop is known for its aggressive beats and intense lyrical delivery. 


Artists like DMX and Onyx (RIP kings) are key figures in the genre, known for their powerful performances and gritty lyrical style. 


Hardcore hip-hop often addresses themes of struggle, survival, and defiance 一 resonating with listeners who appreciate its raw energy


Which, most people do, especially when they’re trying to get hyped up.


Its hard-hitting sound and uncompromising attitude have made it a staple in the hip-hop music scene and one of the most played types of rap around.


Hardcore hip-hop’s influence on other rap styles is significant, inspiring many artists to essentially bark their verses into the mic.


Rest assured, Hardcore hip-hop will always be a vital part of hip-hop’s diverse history. 


NOTE: DMX’s “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” is a classic example of hardcore hip-hop’s impact, and one of my personal favorites, so if you haven’t heard it, give it a listen.


Types of Rap: Final Thoughts


types of rap


Different types of rap are a window into the diverse and dynamic world of hip-hop. 


They are powerful expressions of culture, emotion, and storytelling, and have the power to inspire, motivate, and connect people like no other genre. 


Knowing all about the diverse types of rap out there, you can better appreciate the power behind the music and find new ways to innovate in your own work.


To elevate your beats and make them hit harder than ever before, check out the highly-renowned Free Hip-Hop Drum Kit.


This invaluable (completely free) pack includes 50+ free hip-hop drum samples and loops that will blow your mind.


These samples are the best way to instantly captivate your audience. 


Created by top producers and sound designers, they are 100% royalty-free, so you can use them however you’d like in your projects.


Understanding the impact of different types of rap not only enhances your knowledge but also fuels your creativity for the future.


This way, hip-hop will continue to evolve and inspire future generations.


Until next time…




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