Though some of you may think punk rock is only for pasty little white boys with Mohawks and bad tattoos, you'd be surprised by just how similar it is to rap once you do a little digging. For starters, they both found their footing in 1970s New York City, one uptown in a Bronx recreation center, and the other downtown on the streets of the East Village. Secondly, they were both originally centered on a DIY work ethic that became the source of a tremendous amount of creativity and inspiration.
In the early days, punk rock and rap went hand in hand. This is why the Beastie Boys were able to make a smooth transition from hardcore punk outfit to hip-hop trio, why rappers like Fab Five Freddy got name checked on Blondie songs, and why Chuck D collaborated with Sonic Youth. Even though the two scenes emerged separately in New York City, they had a mutual respect for one another, one that doesn't really exist today, and it totally should.
There are signs that rap music is on its way towards embracing its original kinship with punk rock. Whether it's Tyler, The Creator calling OFWGKTA a punk band, Kanye West becoming a self-professed "new wave" artist, or Lil Wayne infusing his tracks with subtle punk influences, rap culture is experiencing a renewed interest in punk, and therefore it's time for all of you rap geniuses to get learnt.
What follows is a primer for any rap fan interested in learning a thing or two about the genre's old-school NYC counterpart. Rap and punk may seem to inhabit opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but hopefully this piece will convince a few skeptics that you can, and should, in fact love both. At the very least, it's a history lesson worth taking. Here is A Rap Fan's Guide to Punk Rock.