A thumping base line begins, and everyone in the room begins to move. As humans, we are hardwired to move when we are presented with a beat. We may not even notice that we are dancing, but when the beat drops, our bodies know what to do.

Hip-hop music, sometimes known as rap, is closely associated with that beat. In fact, this type of music was created by someone who wanted to make people dance.

According to History, the hip-hop genre was born in 1973, when a man running the sound at a party decided to use two turntables and switch between the danceable bits while talking over the top of the tunes. This combination of beat, spoken word, and sampling became what we know as hip hop.

For some businesses, a danceable beat is vital. If you are running a nightclub, for example, and you'd like people to move in time, hip hop is an exceptional tool. But hip hop has some other applications you may not have considered before, and this music could be right for you.

Adding Grit to Your Business

Choosing the right music can help your consumers understand more about your business, and how the things you are trying to sell will help them to live a better life. As researchers writing in the Inquiries Journal point out, when people hear music in laboratory settings, they like the music more if it is closely associated with the emotional state they imagine they will be in when they hear that music.

People who expect to be relaxed, for example, expect yoga music. People who expect a bit of urban conflict or grit, on the other hand, expect rap.

In the minds of listeners, rap may be associated with some kind of aggression or violence. For example, in a study highlighted by Greater Good Magazine, participants were given a set of lyrics written by a 1960s folk trio. Those who were told that these were rap lyrics rated the words much more dangerous and offensive than those who were told these were folk lyrics. The word "rap" just seems to trigger associations of danger.


In some business situations, that element of danger could be a boon to business. If you are selling firearms, fireworks, skateboards, or lessons in self-defense, this could be the perfect musical backdrop.

Rap is also associated with a disregard for the status quo. That could make it a good soundtrack for shops that deal with the following:

  • Tattoos and other forms of body art
  • Tobacco products
  • Some kinds of dogs
  • Hair colors or cuts

Any product or service that could be associated with an urban environment or a bit of the alternative could be playing off the same themes that appear in rap songs. Matching those themes gives your consumers a sense of familiarity, and that could enhance your sales.

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Choosing Hip-Hop Songs

Just has clothing has changed since the 1970s, hip hop has also changed. That means you have plenty of choices in songs if you decide hip hop is right for you.

According to National Public Radio, the middle of the 1980s is considered the "golden age" of hip hop. The Sugarhill Gang, Public Enemy, Run DMC, and LL Cool J fall into this category. There are also plenty of songs from the 1980s that have a pop feel with a rapper interlude. Those songs, such as "Walk This Way" with Aerosmith and Run DMC could be a good choice.

Modern rap covers a complete spectrum of music, with some songs hewing closely to the person-taking-over-a-beat model, and others moving a little closer to a traditional R&B romantic ballad. For example, Esquire published a list of top hip-hop songs from 2017 that features music from traditionalists like Jay-Z to unconventional artists like Frank Ocean.


Since some hip-hop songs feature lyrics that might offend your audience — and your human resources department — it is best to screen your choices very carefully before they play on your loudspeakers.

In addition, you will need to ensure that you have a license to play the music you choose. The copyright holders of your music will expect to be paid each time you play a song. We can smooth this process for you. Our connections with copyright holders ensures that you are paying for the songs you are using, so you can play without worry. Contact us and we can tell you more.

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