Who Was The First Rapper Ever?

The first rapper ever was Gil Scott-Heron. He recorded his poem and the first-ever rap song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in 1971.

Did you know that the song’s title was actually a slogan of Black Power movements across the US in the 1960s?

The Black Power Movement fought for social and economic equality for African-American minorities.

Furthermore, the activists advocated for self-sufficiency of all people of Black and African origin.

Coupled with any social movements, music is always there as a bind between the people.

After all, the Black Power Movement has given birth to rap music as we know it today, as well as to the first rap song ever.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, by Gil Scott-Heron is considered to be the first rap song ever.

Is Gil Scott-Heron Really The First Rapper Ever?

Of course, long before the first mp3 song ever came to the existence, people sang. Rapping can be traced back to African tunes that the tribes sang centuries ago.

Though, as with every big music genre, the exact year of its birth is unknown.

In addition, the rhythmic use of drums and words emerged again in the Black Power movements.

Similarly, where the spoken word songs were a protesting tool against racial oppression in the ‘60s.

In like manner, many musicians were “rapping” before rap even existed. By the same token, Gil Scott-Heron is considered the first modern-day rapper.

first rapper ever, Gil Scott Heron, performing on stage
First rapper ever, Gil Scott-Heron performing in 2010. in Sweden.

Many artists before him used different singing forms, such as Louis Armstrong. He used “skats” in the ‘30s, which sound like raps.

The History of Rap Music Genre

African culture from a couple of centuries ago delivered the first rap-like songs.

People narrated the stories with drums and other percussion instruments.

American slaves in the late 1800s brought the African chants into the US. In fact, their songs created blues music.

Thanks to American slaves, blues music spread from the Deep South to the world.

The Link Between Hip Hop And Blues

Early blues and delta blues artists used rapping in their songs.

Elijah Wald, the blues musician and historian, argues in an article Hip Hop and Blues that we can see the beginning of rap music in blues songs of the 1920s.

Photo of Memphis Jug Band
The Memphis Jug Band, with their rhymes and beates, have predated the rap music genre.
Photo by http://www.cr.nps.gov/delta/blues/people/memphis_jug.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18048815

Then again, jazz poetry and jazz music also included rapping into their songs in the late 1960s.

Rhyme schemes and political poetry from jazz hits made way for later hip hop artists’ work. It’s why we considered Gil Scott-Heron the first rapper ever.

Nevertheless, some people will say that the first rapper ever is The Sugar Hill Gang, with their 1979 hit Rapper’s Delight.

Some people consider “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugar Hill Gang to be the first rap song ever.

Whatever the first rap song and the first rapper ever was, it’s essential to know how history and politics affected one of the most popular music genres in the world.

If you are looking for more first-evers, then check out what was the first car ever made.