|Stylistic origins||Hip hop music, opera, concept albums, contemporary R&B, spoken word, musical theatre, rock opera (conceptual origins)|
|Cultural origins||Early 1970s, South Bronx, New York City|
|Typical instruments||Turntable, vocals, drum machine, sampler, synthesizer, beatboxing, bass guitar|
|Breakdance – Graffiti – Fashion – Subgenres – Notable albums|
A rap opera or hip hopera is a series of hip hop songs in the form of an opera, inspired by the concept of rock opera. Examples of a hip hopera include Trapped in the Closet by R. Kelly, A Prince Among Thieves by Prince Paul, Refletchons by Fletch, and Deltron 3030.
Like its predecessor, rap opera tells a story through consecutive pieces of music involving the same character or characters. Rap opera may be a purely auditory experience, or it may be associated with a musical, comic book, or other art form. It is a relatively young, spontaneous form, performed more by amateurs and non-profit groups than by professional emcees.
When R&B singer R. Kelly was asked on IFC how he defined his Trapped in the Closet series, Kelly stated that he described it as a hip hopera or musical opera, and that it was now too long to be called a song.[not in citation given] In 2001, MTV debuted a telefilm titled Carmen: A Hip Hopera, directed by Robert Townsend and starring Beyoncé Knowles and Mekhi Phifer. Volume 10 also released an album called Hip-Hopera in 1994. The former is contemporary R&B, not hip hop music.