History of Rap

One thing we don’t entirely miss from the United States is television. There are a few exceptions, especially on network television. With regard to American television, the old network giants like CBS, ABC & NBC just aren’t what they used to be, partly because so many cable channels have had time to grow up and are now producing quality original content, which is what most people now discuss when they discuss American television; this includes critically acclaimed programs like Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. However, one of the standard benchmarks of network TV has always seemed to be the late night shows that come on after the news.

Before my husband and I moved to Germany we watched Conan O’Brian frequently, and at times still do now. However, now whenever we can we watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as Fallon never seems to disappoint with his sketches and musical numbers. One of his frequent guests is Justin Timberlake, with whom he has done a musical skit/number called “The History of Rap” a number of times. It is quiet impressive and the quality of the delivery by both Fallon and Timberlake clearly shows the influence that this genre and these songs have had on the two men and American culture in the last 30 – 40 years.

It is equally interesting to think that originally rap and hip-hop as genres of music were considered fads, in fact MTV, initially only had two hours a week blocked out for the genre in a show called, “Yo! MTV Raps“. The music has become such a mainstay of American culture that it is difficult for me to imagine a time when it wasn’t, except that I remember watching that show on a weekly basis (as a child, MTV and HBO were the best things about having cable and staying up late!). Never mind that the two genres of music basically began in 1970’s, making it old enough to be a teenagers parent, or even grandparent really – that’s forty years ago, which only seems like some considerable amount of time if you really stop to think about it.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon began on NBC in March of 2009, if that matters to anyone. Additionally, if you are lucky enough to be in North America to watch his show, it airs nightly 12:35 EST (Eastern Standard Time). Fallon is funny, having spent six years on Saturday Night Live (which is another American television favorite, when we can watch it) proving himself from 1998 to 2004. He has equally proved successful as a late night talk show host.

Justin Timberlake was a guest all this past week (11 -15.03.2013) on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and so the two were able to create a few memorable skits, including a fourth installment of “The History of Rap”. It turns out that Mickey Mouse Club boy Wonder and N-Sync member Justin Timberlake is equally funny and entertaining in his own right. I thought I would compile the four videos, for posterity, for culture and really for my own selfish enjoyment because I do really think they are great…and our children should know about this.

The History of Rap, part 1:

Original air date: 30, September 2010

1. Sugarhill Gang – Rappers Delight
2. LL Cool J – Peter Piper
3. Beastie Boys – Paul Riveria
4. Tribe Called Quest – Award Tour
5. Digitial Underground – Humpty Hump
6. Snoop Dogg – Nuttin but a G Thang
7. Tupac – California Love
8. Biggie – Juicy
9. Roots –
10. Eminem – Slim Shady
11. Missy Elliot – Let Me Work it
12. Soulja Boy – supa man
13 . TI – Live your Life
14. Kanye – Gold Digger
15. Jay Z – Empire State

History of Rap, part 2 & 3:

Original air dates:

part 2: 21, July 2011, part 3: 25, November 2011


1. Kurtis Blow -The Breaks
2. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message
3. N.W.A.- Express Yourself
4. Public Enemy – Bring the Noise
5. Rob Base – it takes two
6. Salt-N-Pepa – Push it
7. Vanilla Ice-Ice? Ice Baby
8. Black Sheep – The Choice is yours
9. Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain
10. D.J. Kool – Let me clear my throat
11. DMX – Up in here
12. Nelly – Hot in here
13. 50 cent – In da Club
14. Outkast – Hey Ya
15. Dj Khaled/T-Pain – All I do is win
16. Cali Swag District-Teach me how to dougie
17. Biz Markie – Just a friend
18. Run DMC- King of Rock
19. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out
20. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince- Parents Just Don’t Understand
21. De La Soul- Me, Myself and I
22. JJ Fad- Supersonic
23. Sir Mix-a-Lot – I Like Big Butts
24. Young MC – Bust a Move
25. House of Pain – Jump Around
26. Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day
27. Coolio – Gangta’s Paradise
28. The Fugees – Killing Me Softly
29. Beastie Boys- Sabotage
30. Jay-Z – I Just Wanna Love You
31. Outcast – Sorry Ms. Jackson
32. Snoop Dog – Drop It Like It’s Hot
33. Kanye West – Stronger
34. Nicki Minaj – Superbass
35. Naughty by Nature – Hip Hop Hooray
36. Run DMC – King of Rock

History of Rap, part 4

Originally air date: 15, March 2013

1. Jump On It – Sir Mix Alot
2. White Lines – Grandmaster Flash 3.
3. Basketball – Kurtis Blow/ Bow Wow
4. Human Beat Box – Fat Boys
5. It’s Tricky -Run DMC
6. No Sleep Til Brooklyn – The Beastie Boyz
7. Going Back to Cali – LL Cool J
8. Children’s Story – Slick Rick
9. Me So Horny – 2 Live Crew
10. Scenario
11. Hand on the Pump – Cypress Hill
12. Rumpshaker – Wrecks N’ Effects
13. Shoop – Salt N’ Peppa
14. Gin and Juice – Snoop
15. Got you all in Check
16. Hipnotize – Biggie
17. Get Your Freak On – Missy Elliot
18. H.O.V.A. – Jay Z
19. Ride Wit Me – Nelly
20. Pimp – 50 Cent
21. Ridin Dirty – Chamillionaire
22. Black and Yellow – Wiz
23. All Gold Everything – Trinidad James
24. Thrift Shop – Macklemore
25. Lose Yourself – Eminem

**All listings for song orders were provided by either the person who uploaded the video clips or by other commentors to those sites. I just added them here for your enjoyment. You can also find these lists by searching the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon blog.

2 thoughts on “History of Rap

  1. This somehow reminds me of a “hot” issue surrounding the use of the “Harlem Shake” as a You-tube phenomenon (for fake Harlem Shakes see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGR6SXazeEI alongside maaany other examples) without regard to the real history of the actual “Harlem Shake” (seen here, incl. with more fake Shake examples: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/03/18/the-problematics-of-the-fake-harlem-shake/) PS: Sociological Images has so many ridiculously interesting stats and stories to share, I think you’d really dig it. PSS: Thanks for sharing History of Rap! … always knew I was right to pick N*Sync over Backstreet as a teenie 😉

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