Today the two terms, hip-hop and rap, often get interchanged or spoken about as one but there is in fact a distinct difference between them: hip-hop is the term used to describe the cultural movement that the art form of rap is one part of.
Pioneering DJ and producer Afrikaa Bambaataa is widely cited as being the originator of the term hip-hop. He first used it to describe the cultural movement born out of his local South Bronx neighbourhood in the 1970s, and the four new art forms it comprised: graffiti art, Deejaying, breakdancing and rapping.
Back in the early days of hip-hop, all four elements were integral to the now legendary Bronx bloc parties hosted by the likes of DJ Kool Herc. As the recent documentary Rubble Kings manifests, the birth of hip-hop helped bring together previously warring street gangs.
Out of all of hip-hop’s key components, the vocal art form of rap rose to become its most prominent. From its block party origins, rap soon became social commentary, and in the decades that have followed it has continued to be a powerful form of social commentary and urban storytelling.
That's not to say the other foundations of hip-hop have faded away: fresh and expressive graffiti art still decorates cities around the world; many DJs have defied advances in technology and stayed true to two turntables and a crate of vinyl, and there are still strong elements of breakdancing accompanying many of today's music genres.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the early history of hip-hop culture, watch these:
Wild Style – the original hip-hop movie
Rubble Kings – how the birth of hip-hop brought unity amongst the rival gangs of the South Bronx
Fresh Dressed – a look at how fashion has always been a key part of hip-hop from day one
The Art of Rap – the story of rap as an art form, from its origins to the present day, told exclusively by its greatest lyricists.
I always thought, that hip-hop is a musical culture (with its own dress style/fashion, graffiti, dances etc.), and rap is just a music style/genre.