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The study and application of rhythmic talk, poetry and divine speech. Commonly referred to as rappin or Rap, its practitioners are known as emcees or rappers. The emcee is a Hip Hop poet who directs and moves the crowd by rhythmically rhyming in spoken word. The emcee is a cultural spokesperson. Technically, the emcee is a creation of one’s community whereas the rapper is a creation of corporate interests.


The word emcee comes from the abbreviated form of Master of Ceremonies (M.C.). In its traditional sense  M.C. referred to the hosting of an event—the master of a ceremony or an event.


The emcee expresses through rhyme what is already on your mind, whereas the rapper tells you all about his or her self. True Hiphoppas are encouraged to study both styles for maximum success.


Popularized by: Cab Calloway, Coke La Rock, Pebblie Poo, Sha Rock, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Keith Cowboy, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Rakim, Queen Lisa Lee, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, Roxanne Shanté, Muhammad Ali, and others.

When Rap music became popular in 1979 many Breakers, Poppers and Lockers (as well as Graffiti writers) became Emcees and Deejays, bringing their bboy / bgirl terminologies with them. When these ex-Breakers and Graffiti writers performed their unwritten, unrehearsed, off-the-top-of-the-head rhymes, they called it freestyling because the same rules that were applied to the bboys and bgirls of the past were now applied to the Emcees and Deejays of the present.


Today freestyling is mostly an Emcee affair. Those Emcees who spontaneously create and perform unrehearsed and unwritten rhymes can be said to be freestyling.

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