Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The style became popular in the early 1990s, as hip-hop music found commercial success. Pop rappers were seen as less "threatening" to a predominantly juvenile audience, as against the hardcore gangsta rap gaining in popularity. Performers such as MC Hammer were able to harness the general aesthetic of hip-hop music to a radio-friendly sound (and subject matter) with hits such as U Can't Touch This .
Many pop-rap hits sampled instantly recognisable hits as a backing track, "U Can't Touch This" being a prime example, lifting the bass riff from Rick James' Superfreak. This resulted in some controversy, as many samples - particularly of James Brown instrumentals - were not licensed. In James' case, a story is that he called his lawyer upon hearing this "unauthorised sample", only to be told that he had previously approved its use.
Pop rap often tended to be slower in delivery than regular hip-hop. This was predominantly to allow the target audience to sing along with the lyrics, although it has been uncharitably suggested that it was also to disguise a lack of talent on the part of the performer.
The subject matter of pop rap was quite different from regular hip-hop. "Boasting" tracks about the rapper's skill were still recorded, however any narrative structure tended towards telling stories about high school, driving cars, romantic entanglements and basketball, rather than the gang tales of hardcore rap. Importantly, many pop rappers rapped about their lack of success with the opposite sex, rather than their sexual prowess (or even romantic prowess). One theory on this is that it enabled the lyrics to remain safely "child-friendly", as there was no hint of sex. The other theory is that it enabled the rapper to be more of an "everyman", rather than someone with a girl on each arm.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details