Many use the term interchangeably, but they are two very different styles of music. An emcee rhymes to inspire, bring awareness and consciousness to his audience, while a rapper rhymes based on what comes to mind .The same goes for hip hop and rap. Hip hop is cultural, rap is a style of music. Though emcees and rappers may not get along at times because they see themselves as standing for two different causes, it is still, however, important as artists,to find a balance. While an emcee may want to spit deep, conscious lyrics, to reach out and educate his people, he may not reach as many people as he would like because his lines may be too “heavy” for the young people to absorb, the young are care free and may not be able to relate to the struggles they (the emcees), see in their community, hence the reason why the young can identify with rapping more so than traditional hip hop, as rappers usually spit “lighter” verses or what comes to their mind.

So how can this balance be achieved? By working together! Emcees and Rappers have to come to an agreement that they can both co-exist, and realize they can reach a wider audience by working cohesively as one unit rather than separate forces. One artist who seemed to achieve somewhat of a balance is Tupac Shakur, while he was termed a “gangsta rapper” of his time, he often brought awareness to the problems in his community through songs such as “Changes” and brought inspiration by making hit singles such as “Keep Ya Head Up”, his popularity may have been due to his ability to reach audiences from every sector of his community – young and old.
It is understandable that an artist may not want to spit “heavy” lyrics all the time but that doesn’t mean he should breed only negativity in his community. Positivity and creativity can flow constant if you would like it to be so. It’s your choice.

Some notable emcees are KRS one, Talib Kweli, Common, Immortal Technique,Mos Def and Nas, while, some notable rappers are Notorious BIG, Tupac,Jay-z and Andre 3000. Are any of those people more talented than the other- NO. Just different. So,are you a rapper or an Emcee? A choice, I believe, is not necessary but rather a balance.

[Emcee] Common – I Used To Love Her

[Rapper] Jay-z – Dead Presidents

[Rapper] Tupac Shakur – Changes

A balance is possible.

There is nothing wrong with either genres of music, I personally see Hip Hop and Rap as two sons of the same mother, one, that being Hip Hop is older, more mature, aware of his surroundings and able to see the world for what it is and read between the lines, he has the ability to decipher the real from the fake, he is secure, he is confident and he has found his place in the world, while rap is young, care-free and is always seeking a good time, he likes to party have fun and take risks, he is still searching for his place in the world and as such is always experimenting and trying to find what works for him. Emcees shouldn’t view rappers as sell outs and rappers shouldn’t view emcees as has-beens. As an older brother, emcees should try to guide , protect and encourage, and remember rap is still young,and though you may not like how he is now, keep in mind that he will not always be that way as he is still maturing ,growing and finding himself. No one style is better or worse than the other, no one style is right or wrong, they are both related and will always have love for each other, no matter what, because they will always be brothers from the same mother and though they may have their disagreements and quarrels, they will always be family.

Written by Tamika Simon