Two of the Most Popular Music Genres
Rock and rap are two of the most popular music styles worldwide. They both have huge followings and countless talented artists. But which genre do you think is better: rap or rock, and why? You tell us!
Join the ongoing rap vs rock discussion below right away, or scroll down for more information and a short history of both music genres. Don't forget to vote in the poll towards the bottom of the page, either.
Rap vs Rock Discussion
Which is better - rap or rock, and why?
What is Rock?
Rock music evolved from rock and roll, rhytm and blues and country in the 1950s. It started in US and UK and now is one of the most popular music styles in the world. Over the years many rock subgenres were developed by different bands, such as hard rock and punk rock in 1970s, heavy metal and alternative rock in 1980, and grunge and nu metal in 1990s.
Typical rock band instruments are electric and bass guitars, drums and synthesizers. Sometimes groups use stringed instruments like violins or cellos. Classic rock bands usually include the lead singer, an electrict guitarist, a bass guitarist and a drummer.
What is Rap?
Rap or hip hop began in New York in 1970, primarily among Jamaican Americans. It spread outside US in 1980 and became popular in some parts of Europe, Africa, and especially Japan. Rapping (aka MCing) involves the rapper speaking rhymed lyrics to a beat. Turntables, synthesizers and drum machines are most often used in rap performances.
Hip hop has developed multiple subgenres such as the popular gangsta rap, Christian hip hop and trip hop.
Rap vs Rock Poll
Rap and Rock Collaboration
While rap and rock are two very different music genres, this didn't stop artists from fusing them (resulting in "rap rock" style) or collaborating to record a joint album. One of the first and most famous collaborations was in 1986 between a hip hop group Run-D.M.C. and a hard rock band Aerosmith, remaking the latter's song Walk This Way with great commercial success.
In 1990s new "rap rock" bands such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Bloodhound Gang or Rage Against the Machine became maintream. More recently, the rap rock was used as the basis for the new nu metal genre with bands like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit.
A More Recent Rap / Rock Collaborations
Collision Course mashup album by Jay-Z and Linkin Park
Collision Course is an awesome rap & rock joint album by the popular nu metal band Linkin Park and the rapper Jay-Z. It contains six mashup tracks made of songs by both artists. Collision Course has sold over 2 mil copies in US alone and was #1 on the Billboard 200.
You can click the image on the right to listen to the free previews and download the full album in MP3 from Amazon. Please note that hhis is the uncensored version of the album which contains potentially offensive lyrics.
Person on October 01, 2015:
I hate it when people say all rock is, is screaming and random, with no meaning. I can show u many rock dongs with no screaming, most of the ones I listen too r not random, and many have a story behind it. Plus people say that rap is the new generation, and that isnt true. Rap has been around for a while, in fact one of the big rap things right now (forget what it was called) was actually invinted in the 80's. I respect the people that like rap, thats their opinion, but I personally like rock a lot more and yes, it is the more popular type of music since way back and is still going strong today. "Long live rock and roll" def leopard
Benjamin Greene on February 15, 2015:
I like tupac.. rap was invented by Blondie. Also rap today sucks lyrically. If you like manaj. Shoot yourself. Not all rap is bad. But rock lyrically ALWAYS makes sense. And hypervocalism isn't annoying. You are just tone deaf
Tim Rapone on October 02, 2014:
"Rock is just screaming" a phrase I hear quite a bit, that is true or some adaptations of rock, such as "Scream-O" but that isn't rock. That's Scream-O. Rock isn't really just yelling, and like a comment I heard below, it is just as smooth as rap. A lot of you are confusing metal for rock, metal is "Slipknot" rock is "AC/DC". So the smooth thing, I've listened to a lot of rock and, well I have to say "It's a Long Way to the Top (if You Wanna Rock)" is pretty smooth. No screaming. In the end, its all a matter of opinion. The key word here. I personally hate rap, I find it talking fast (or talking slow or at a normal speed) to a beat, but hey, some people like that. No I personally do not think Rock and Roll will die out in the next 10 years, because there are opinions scattered across the world, think about it, in the 80's Rock was the popular music, but there still was rap around, and rap survived to be this generations popular music. And while I'm at it, AC/DC is still playing to this day. They're all around 60 years old. That has to say something right? Granted, one of them had to quit do to dementia lately, but they're still recording a new album this fall. And they're just as good, they don't sound like old geezers when they get up on stage. And thousands upon thousands still come to see them play. Will rock die and rap overcome? Probabaly not- in fact, rap will probably fall the same fate as rock, being replaced as the new popular music. But these are all guesses, who knows what will happen. Its all a matter of opinion on which one is better. I think AC/DC said it best "Rock and roll ain't noise pollution, rock and roll will never die."
Niktravelfit on June 23, 2014:
Both are great genres of music, but if I had to choose I would go with rock for sure.
Nice lens! Quite controversial though.
gamefreak321 on October 27, 2013:
@anonymous: Rock came from britain as one person said not america. I don't think you read well.
gamefreak321 on October 27, 2013:
@Candycanechild: great response i agree
gamefreak321 on October 27, 2013:
@anonymous: Then dont reply.
gamefreak321 on October 27, 2013:
Give me rock any day ! Long live Rock and Roll !
anonymous on June 22, 2013:
Rock 'n roll is AMAZING!!!! Best music EVER!!!!
Underrated on May 05, 2013:
Very debatable subject. I don't have a favorite because i think both of music genres have their quality artists and song. Rock has been around for longer so may have more classics but rap is becoming more popular through years
anonymous on April 21, 2013:
Rock is far better then rap any day. In fact, to put "music" after rap is an insult. Coming from a music afficionato, music has to have a melody, rhythm and beats. If it's not sung by voice or played with an instrument it's not music. It is an art form. Also, if lyrics are all you are going for and beats, you are missing the point of music entirely. You've missed it for the pure beauty of it. Go listen to Bach or Beethoven without lyrics or the huge guitar solo for The National Anthem by Jimi Hendrix.
Eminem is nothing more than a lyricist and a beat maker with a huge attitude, and his anger among his other destructive ways come through in addition to his works which is not music; only the spoken language to beats. Music also needs harmony to melody along with other song forms.
anonymous on February 15, 2013:
@anonymous: Woooowww, man. You're black, and you don't even know that rock music comes from black people? The first rock 'n rollers were black, and the music evolved from blues.
libertyloudspeak on December 16, 2012:
Fantastic lens! It caught my eye in a squidoo search as I enjoy this genre. I made a lens about a personal friend Komain who makes incredible hip hop music and my second lens is about rap...thus I enjoyed your lens very much!
anonymous on November 27, 2012:
every one of u is stupid
DeathcoreDude on November 13, 2012:
For me it's deathcore bands and death metal like dead will rise, slay the kraken,
Born of Osiris, and Attila.
But still havnt u all noticed that rock is all about love and occasionally drugs and rap is al about sex drugs and violence
Plus it takes wayyyyyy more talent to play a bass guitar drums and sing I bet anything any rapper could never play a twelve string guitar overall rock will live forever sorry iv just never seen a rap band with almost a7,000,000 views on utube or anything
anonymous on September 09, 2012:
@anonymous: you're a truly feeble minded piece of shit
anonymous on August 29, 2012:
Who gives a rats ass, if you like rock fine, if you like hip hop fine...I like rock but that's me.
Candycanechild on August 17, 2012:
Rock over all is better for a variety of reasons,
1) All you hear and see in a rap setting is guns, gangs, drugs, women, sex and violence. Very, VERY seldom is it mentioned in rock of any kind.
2) Rap is never good live in concert mostly because there, they don't have the autotune and digital editing to their voices that they have in recording, and if anyone wants to argue with that then watch a video of a rapper recording in a studio and you can see the guy on the soundboard pushing buttons and flipping switches to make that crackheads voice sound normal.
3) One thing I hate a lot in the debates is that they are comparing the best of rap with the worst of rock, like seriously make it an even match.
4) When was the last time you saw that little "parental advisory" sticker on a Led Zeppelin record? Or a Pink Floyd?
5) And finally rap may be more popular but rock is so much older and more mature, if you really think about it rock dates back to the 1800's from folk, which changed to blues, which over in UK people started a small thing called Skiffle then we took an American take on it and out came rock n roll. So rock on all you hippies to punks to emo's to metal heads or just good ol' blues listeners!
anonymous on July 09, 2012:
If you read the lyrics to rocks songs, they actually mean something, but rap on the other hand, they sound the same in almost every song, and the curse every five seconds, and like hard rock bands, such as Of Mice and Men, Asking Alexandria, iSeeStars, Breathe Carolina, For All I Am, and Woe, Is Me. They rarely curse.
anonymous on June 15, 2012:
@anonymous: I don't think it is fair to generalise and say rap has illiterate lyrics because rappers sometimes rappers come up with some of the most intricate lyrics. Some rappers are brilliant poets who send good messages through their music. I'm a fan of both genres though.
anonymous on March 11, 2012:
Rock, especially indie rock in my opinion, is 564248 times better than rap. Rap sucks huge cock. Weak, illiterate lyrics, behind a bunch of jumbled up sounds that they call "beats." Rock music takes much skill in every second of each song. The only skill you need for rap is rhyming and the imagination that you get ever girl on the planet. Rappers are just ignorant to me.
thomanna on March 04, 2012:
Great lense! Today's rap is ridiculous. If you like bluesie rock check out my lense on My Dudes Band! I'll be sure to checkout some of your other lenses.
anonymous on March 01, 2012:
Nothing gets the blood going like Rock; great for workouts, but rap consistently has gotten me amped up over the years. The only downside is the ignorant lyrics usually associated with rap, but it help put me in a violent mood when exercising :)
Edutopia on January 30, 2012:
Like them both but rock I like more. They both evolved out of the same music primordial soup anyways.
Atomika07 on November 01, 2011:
Rock will always be my favorite but I do enjoy rap now and then
anonymous on September 01, 2011:
the whole debate is a crap shoot mayne!!!! we all know that rap is a black genre and rock came from white origins. so why comparing them? im a professional rapper so ill always go with the genre. but both the genres need sufficient talents to be perfomed.indeed rock is more popular than rap. but one thing the rap has is that it is very adaptable and fusable to any music genres of the world. also many ways the rock and rap are better that each other. i know a lot of black guys who like rock music and vice verse. they actually laugh at out actions. so needless to fight. if we r damn concerned about our beloved genres then why not taking it to the point we want? stop wasting time on this kinda debates. so my gangstaz down for the hood and the punks scream for the world. \m/peace....
musicloverr on August 27, 2011:
I love rock and rock-rap combinations (i.e. Linkin Park), but never plain rap.
anonymous on July 27, 2011:
I like rock :)
anonymous on July 19, 2011:
Its time that people acted like intellectual beings instead of being biased to whatever genre they think is superior. to be honest the two aren't that different, and here's why: Rock Music involves the use of instruments and that requires creativity but modern rock uses very simple riffs which are played frequently throughout the song without variation. and because rock lyrics are song, they are very simplistic involving love which is an over used topic and the lyrics are very simple with mediocre rhymes. guitar solos are pretty dead lacking originality and sound similar to other solos so they are hard to differentiate and praise for originality. rap has sold out, it was originally intended to tell stories and pass on messages to the listeners. when big labels signed artists, they became mainstream and the quality of the work deteriorated. rap requires a lot of lyrics, much more than rock but they too are mediocre and are now about money and sex (like rock music) yet older rappers like Slick Rick and Chuck D wrote messages in their songs such as oppression and told stories vividly. old rockers could write very vivid songs as well and had very creative song structures. old rappers used samples to create elaborate beats and were original, while modern rap uses techno beats that are bland and have near identical beats to the next song on the pop charts. rock singer now a days will wail at the top of their lungs and be called wonderful while they play power chords in the same key as other songs. the lyrics can also be depressing like in some metal songs and it is appalling to see those artists scream and talk of the same violent subjects as rappers yet they are praised by their fans for being different than rap. Music lovers must learn to accept genres. modern music is ruined by labels so if you hate rap or rock you need to look back to see what it was like in its glory days instead of judging the entire genre based on the modern performers who sometimes lack the skills of their older counterparts.
anonymous on July 08, 2011:
Lets see this is a tough one, Which is better, a music genre that has consistantly been successful for over seven decades and evolved to include possibly hundreds of subgenres, or some people making ryhmes that don't even make sense about either how rich they are or how poor they are? The fact of the matter is Rock takes talent, you need a group of musicians who have spent years mastering their instruments that can actually play them, and even more time to learn to play them together and a singer who believe it or not can actually sing. Rap can just take anyone who fits the imagegive them a crappy autotuned voice to talk-sing to a crappy auto-tune beat that they give any formula lyrics to. People who listen to rap only listen to it because it is main stream and what they are told to listen to. If people thought for themselves rap wouldn't even exist anymore. Don't believe me? Read what the people who like rap's comments are and look for one valid arguement, and no this does not include "Rock is Gay." I personally give rap five more years tops efore it dissappears just like every other music fad.
anonymous on June 12, 2011:
Rap is probably one of the worst genres of music to this present day. Anybody with an I.Q. in the triple digits could tell you that. Only young, under-educated, reprobates listen to Rap. It's awful in almost every way.
Rock on the other hand is probably the best genre of music on the planet. Comparing rap to rock is the same equivalent to comparing a Ford Pinto to a Ferrari. There's just no competition.
anonymous on June 05, 2011:
Rock is the only kind of "music" out there. It is just this powerful type of music that makes you just want to break something or pick up a guitar and start shredding the fuck out of it!! Now let's talk a bit about rap. The lyrics of rap are meaningless crap about greed and who they can beat up. There is no talent in rap, only fast talking and autotune. Rap sucks, rock rules. Some rap fans assume that rock is just mindless screaming, that's screamo. There is much more to rock than that. Rock on people!
ryr1995 on June 02, 2011:
anonymous on May 16, 2011:
Rap is like scissors... it will always lose to rock. Rap may create icons... rock creates gods.
anonymous on May 12, 2011:
u know rob... i love rock and all but u have to give respect to rap there artists just as well as rock artists... sure there differeent but there a branch off from rock and there are fakes and there are people who are real just like rock i think u should do some more investigating before u make such a conclusion
anonymous on May 09, 2011:
Wonderful idea. Rock ftw
SelfishBeat on May 05, 2011:
Rob, thanks for the analysis, totally true and totally agree. Long Live Rock.
Lisa Marie Gabriel from United Kingdom on February 09, 2011:
I like more modern rap where there is actually some singing and I like older rock before they started using "scary" voices. There is good and bad in both. Great interactive lens. Blessed today :)
mnc bryan on February 04, 2011:
Don't forget about the Beastie Boys!! The best mix of rock and rap ever.
mcd3inc on August 25, 2010:
I have to agree one of the best rock/rap collabos out was or is Jay-Z and Linkin Park joint...but it's not the original, I believe their was another group of fellows that start the trend...hhhhhmmmmm, ARE YOU READY...Run DMC son!