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Genre Motif: Hip Hop
aka: RAP
A certain administration which I won't call by name took the arts out of the schools, and that left the brothers out on the street with nothing, so they went to the turntables and started rhyming. Then they had a way to express themselves, and that's the birth of hip-hop.
Isaac Hayes

Old school hip hop comprised four ingredients—graffiti, DJ-ing, MC-ing, and beat boxing (Breakdancing is another staple, but not within the context of hip hop music, just hip hop culture). Nowadays, it is often viewed as 'another name for rap'.

Back in the days of old school rap, hip hop was often used as part of someone who is Totally Radical. With the rise of popularity of the far more aggressive gangsta rap, and hardcore Hip-hop rap is now used as a motif for anything related to the darker aspects of street life. If you hear hip hop in the soundtrack, you can be sure that everything is taking place on the wrong side of the law.

Note that there are many different scenes, subgenres, and cultures within hip hop besides gangsta rap. Even gangsta rap has several sub-forms like Horrorcore, and Mafioso rap. Unfortunately, they rarely receive anywhere near the attention in other media (or anywhere near the record sales).

'Conscious' hip hop artists such as Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, or even Common, may be used in a soundtrack to give an urban yet indie feel.

Sub-genres include:


  • The Fast and the Furious series runneth over with this kind of motif. Even the third movie which takes place in Japan (I WONDAA IF YOO KNO HOW THEY RIIBU IN TO-KY-O!!! IF YOO SIIN IT AND YOU FEERIIT DEN YOO KNO YOO HABU TOO GO! FAST AND FURIUUUUUS!!!)
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas also plays this one; although you can listen to any kind of music in the radio (although you a busta if you do,) most of the music featured in the cutscenes is gangsta rap.
  • The delinquent hotrods in Cars are introduced blasting hip-hop from their speakers.
  • The Wire doesn't have any actual soundtrack, but gangster characters are often introduced by a steady hip-hop beat coming from their car stereo.
  • Samurai Champloo:Hip Hop::Cowboy Bebop:Jazz
  • Pretty much completely averted in Skins when Cassie's kindly middle-aged driver starts blasting "Move, Bitch" by Ludacris.
    • The background character Posh Kenneth pretty much exists solely to take the piss out of this trope.
    • And referenced in a crazy Crowning Moment of Funny in JJ's S4 episode when he and his equally nice mum are in a ludicrously cute 2CV singing along to "Vicks", "My Hooker" and "White Ladies" (written for the show by Fat Segal and Daniel Kaluuya - the bloke who played Posh Kenneth - but you can probably guess what they sound like from the titles).
  • Unsurprisingly all over the Def Jam Series since it was licensed by the record company of the same name and featured many Hip Hop and Rap artists as fighters.
  • The announcement that MadWorld would have an entirely hip-hop/rap soundtrack surprised the hell out of many people. Then the game came out.
  • Gurren Lagann uses rap as a general motif of sticking it to the man in some of its songs, most notably the aptly titled "Rap is a Man's Soul", better known as "Raw Raw Fight The Power". It may also contain the only example of a song combining rap and opera.
  • Dance Academy has the sweet but rebellious girl Kat Karamazov live and breathe hip-hop. When there is street-dancing in the series, it tends to involve hip-hop.
  • Star Bomb is heavily influenced by hip hop.
  • The gangster controlling the block in Attack the Block produces his own Gangsta Rap, which shows off how much he's romanticised his own image of being a gangster. The other character in the movie shown prominently listening to hip-hop is the wealthy white college student who goes to the block to buy weed from the gang members, whose taste in music combined with his clueless contribution to the social conditions that produced all the music he likes is used for deliberate irony.
  • Spoofed in A Touch Of Cloth in the "Undercover Cloth" arc. Jack goes into a Bad-Guy Bar and pounding hip-hop starts playing, but the lyrics literally describe what the characters are doing.

Tropes covered within Hip Hop & the industry itself:

R&BGenre MotifClassical
Guy on Guy Is HotTurn of the MillenniumHotter and Sexier
New Wave MusicMusic of the 1980sThe Seventies

alternative title(s): Rap; Hip Hop; Hip-Hop
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