Rap Timeline



1970 - 1971
  • The Last Poets (name for several groups of African American poets and musician) release their debut album
  • James Brown (an artist and musician who is also one of the founding fathers of funk) releases ‘The Big Payback’
  • An immigrant from Kingston, Jamaica named Clive Campbell starts to DJ -Kool Herc (a Jamaican DJ who is given credit for originating hip hop music) invents a different way of DJing


1972 - 1973
  • DJ Hollywood ( an American old school hip hop DJ and rapper) begins rhyming over popular hits
  • Lovebug Starski (an American MC, musician, and record producer) comes up with the term “Hip-Hop”


1974 - 1976
  • ‘Four Elements’ of hip-hop invented: DJing, Breaking, Graf Artists, and MCing
  • Kool Herc coins the term break-boy
  • Grandmaster Flash (an American hip hop recording artist and DJ) starts to mix two songs together to create another type of DJing which eventually leads to rap
  • Theodore ( a 13 year old DJ beginner) starts Djing for parties and accidentally sliding the record under the needle and creates another technique called "Scratching"


1977 - 1979
  • Break dancers are found in the Bronx
  • MC Crews (a concert) formed in Harlem
  • Russell "Rush" Simmons (an American business magnate) convinces Kool DJ Kurt (founder of the Hip Hop Church) to begin rapping
  • DJing is now the primary source of Hip-Hop


1979 - 1981
  • 'Lady B'(one of the earliest female rappers in hip hop) begins spinning hip-hop records and later that year, she also becomes one of hip-hop's first female artists when she releases "To the Beat Y'all."
  • The first mainstream rap song is released:'King Tim III (Personality Jock)'(a song by the Fatback Band
  • Kurtis Blow becomes the first rapper to sign a record deal with a major label
  • Sylvia Robinson (a record producer) founds a rap group called 'The Sugarhill Gang'
  • Guy "Raheim" Williams and Eddie "Scorpio" Morris (2 famous rappers) and change their name to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
  • Turntablism (the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using direct-drive turntables and a DJ mixer) is created
  • Whodini ( a hip hop group that was formed in 1981) becomes the first rap group to shoot an official video


1982 - 1985
  • Hollywood's first foray into hip-hop culture film
  • Run DMC (an American hip hop group) works on a single and makes a deal with Profile Records
  • Rap starts focusing on the category of inner-city poverty
  • Run-D.M.C. release their first single
  • Beastie Boys (an American hip hop band from New York City) switch their sound from punk to rap
  • Beat boxing starts
  • Russell Simmons runs a studio in his partners' college dorm room
  • "Roxanne, Roxanne" becomes one of the most popular rap songs
  • Rubin tries to recruit a rapper for his new label
  • Def Jam ( a hip hop music label) issues it's first single


1985 - 1987
  • Kris Parker and Scott Sterling, aka Scott La Rock (tow homeless but talented rappers),meet at a Bronx homeless shelter and form a rap group called Boogie Down Productions
  • Doug E. Fresh (an American rapper, record producer, and beat boxer) records his classic single
  • Run DMC (an American hip hop group)release their second album, 'King of Rock' this inspires the combination of rap and hard rock mixed together
  • Def Jam release their first album
  • Run DMC release their third album, "Raising Hell"
  • "Raising Hell" places Run-D.M.C. as "The kings of the rap world"
  • first White rap group, the Beastie Boys, release their album, "Licensed to Ill," on Def Jam Records which becomes the best-selling rap album of the decade
  • A new hip-hop duo named Eric B. & Rakim ( an American hip hop duo) release their first single
  • Run-D.M.C. becomes the first rap group nominated for a Grammy
  • Salt-N-Pepa is a new female rap group
  • Public Enemy (an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, The S1W group, Khari Wynn and Professor Griff) is signed to Def Jam


1987 - 1989
  • Boogie Down Productions ( a hip hop group that was originally composed of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock) releases their album, "Criminal Minded" trying a hard core approach
  • Public Enemy (an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, The S1W group, Khari Wynn and Professor Griff) release their album, "Yo! Bum Rush the Show" which doesn't make it on the charts, but is noticed by critics
  • Cameron Paul (a record owner) remixes 'Push It,' a tune from Salt-N-Pepa's year-old album which is listed 19 on the charts and gets a Grammy
  • Ruthless Records (a record company) is opened
  • Eric B. & Rakim (an American hip hop duo) release their album, "Paid In Full"
  • Ice-T ( an American rapper, singer and actor), releases his album, "Rhyme Pays"
  • DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince (an American hip hop duo) duo in "Rock the House"
  • Erick Sermon (an American rapper, musician, and record producer) and Parrish Smith (an east coast rapper from Long Island) became one of the most celebrated duo's
  • Boogie Down Productions (a hip hop group that was originally composed of KRS-One, D-Nice, and DJ Scott La Rock) begins production on their second album
  • the first female hardcore rapper signed to a major label
  • Public Enemy release their second album, "It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back"
  • Ice-T's second album, "Power," is the first rap album to carry a Parental Advisory warning label
  • Afrika Bambaataa (an American DJ from the South Bronx) froms the Native Tongues (a collective of late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, good-natured lyrics) crew and recruits Queen Latifah (an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, television producer, record producer, comedienne, and talk show hostess)
  • N.W.A. (an American hip hop group from California) releases their first full-fledged album
  • the Jungle Brothers (an American hip hop group that founded the fusion of jazz and hip-hop and became the first hip-hop group to use a house-music producer), release their debut album


1989 - 1990
  • Public Enemy release their third album
  • Grammy committee announces that rap will be given it's own official Grammy category
  • Queen Latifah releases her debut album
  • Ice Cube (an American hip hop artist, record producer, actor, screenwriter, film producer, and director), a rapper in N.W.A. states that he is leaving the group
  • De La Soul (an American hip hop trio formed in 1987 on Long Island) release their new album on Tommy Boy Records