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Stylistic origins Hip hop, punk rock, hardcore punk, heavy metal
Cultural origins Mid-to-late 1980s, United States
Typical instruments Vocals, rapping, electric guitar, bass, drums, turntables, sampler, keyboard
Other topics
Rap metal

Rapcore (sometimes referred to as punk rap or rap punk) is a subgenre of rap rock fusing vocal and instrumental elements of hip hop with punk rock and hardcore punk.[1][2][3][4][5]


The start of rapcore, starts with the birth of rap rock. In the early 1980s bands such as Blondie (with their song "Rapture") and The Clash (with their song "The Magnificent Seven") however rap rock was not seen as a true style until Hollis natives Run-D.M.C. covered Aerosmith's song "Walk This Way" in 1986 with members of Aerosmith. Three years prior saw Beastie Boys, also New York natives, a (then) hardcore punk band release Cooky Puss, an experimental hip-hop 12-inch, which saw them transition into a hip-hop group, who still used rock elements, sampling AC/DC's Back In Black on their first Major Label effort Rock Hard on Def Jam in 1985. 1986 saw the release of their debut album featuring some of the earliest known original rap-rock songs most notably (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) & No Sleep till Brooklyn both released in 1987. This was the beginning of the fusions of rap and various styles of rock music. The Beastie Boys went to be one of the greatest hip-hop and alternative music acts of all time. Rapcore music also has major roots stemming from funk metal with such acts as Red Hot Chili Peppers and their song Fight Like a Brave, also released in 1987 off their third album The Uplift Mofo Party Plan and 24-7 Spyz's Debut Album Harder Than You, which featured notable tracks like Grandma's Dynamite & Spill My Guts

Most early rapcore and rap rock music was more of a funk metal orientation lead by bands such as Clawfinger who started in 1989. Clawfinger released their first demo in 1990 with an Early version of their first single "Nigger", which they went on to record for their debut album Deaf Dumb Blind, released in 1993, which went on to sell 600,000 copies, mainly in their homeland Sweden and across Europe. 1991 saw thrash metal band Anthrax record a version of "Bring the Noise" with Public Enemy and is another highly influential song along the same lines as the RUN-D.M.C cover of walk this way.

In August 1991, guitarist Tom Morello–who had recently left the band Lock Up and was looking to start a new band–was at a club where he saw Zack De La Rocha rapping freestyle. Morello; de la Rocha; Brad Wilk (the former drummer of Greta and a previous auditioner for Lock Up); and de la Rocha's childhood friend, bassist Tim Commerford, formed Rage Against the Machine. The group's self-titled debut album was released on November 3, 1992; it went to #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart becoming the first pure rap-rock/rapcore album to top the Billboard charts.

Though it wasn't until the release of the Judgment Night soundtrack on September 14, 1993 that rapcore music had its own showcasing of various artists to define what it truly was.

The Judgment Night soundtrack was notable for having many of the top metal, punk, grunge and rock bands of the time like Slayer, Pearl Jam, Faith No More & Dinosaur Jr. collaborate with artists such as Ice-T, Cypress Hill, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. & Del tha Funkee Homosapien respectively. The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 and spawned four singles, "Fallin'" by Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul, "Another Body Murdered" by Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E., "Just Another Victim" by Helmet and House of Pain, and "Judgment Night" by Biohazard and Onyx. It was the first and only Rapcore compilation to reach the Billboard top 200 and the first known Rapcore compilation to appear in the mainstream. The soundtrack to the Spawn film released in 1997 was similar in the way it featured collaborations between Rock artists although the collaborating artists were mainly of an electronic nature with collaborations such as Slayer & Atari teenage Riot and Butthole Surfers and Moby.

In the latter part of the 1990s nu-metal fused elements of alternative metal, rap, funk, groove metal, grunge, electronic music and hardcore punk, however not rapcore, it is a related style and some bands, such as Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, have sometimes been classed as both rapcore and nu-metal. However notable rapcore band Hed PE, started in 1994. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Digital Hardcore music mixed elements of hardcore techno, hardcore punk, drum and bass, rave, thrash metal, hip hop and others, however not considered a sub-genre to rapcore it is still somewhat related with having both elements of hardcore punk, and hip hop, most notable band being Atari Teenage Riot.

On June 18, 2013, post-hardcore band Falling in Reverse released their second studio album, Fashionably Late, which fuses elements of punk pop, heavy metal, electronica, and rap. Since the release of the album, Falling in Reverse has been described as rapcore.[6]


Rapcore in the 2000s/2010s is not as popular in the mainstream rock scene as it used to be, with more bands going in the direction of metalcore or alternative rock, however some bands do still adorn the style, bands such as Hollywood Undead, Hyro Da Hero and Deez Nuts.

Rapcore bands tend to take influences from a lot of different genres, from punk, street punk, hardcore punk, metal, metalcore, hard rock, hip hop, funk, gangsta rap, some even taking influences from folk and classic rock (such as Rage Against the Machine and the Beastie Boys).

Notable artists[edit]

Ukrainian and Russian artists[edit]


  1. ^ Ambrose, Joe (2001). "Moshing - An Introduction". The Violent World of Moshpit Culture. Omnibus Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-7119-8744-0. 
  2. ^ McIver, Joel (2002). "The Shock of the New". Nu-Metal: The Next Generation of Rock & Punk. Omnibus Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-7119-9209-6. 
  3. ^ Dent, Susie (2003). The Language Report. Oxford University Press. p. 43. ISBN 0-19-860860-8. 
  4. ^ Signorelli, Luca (ed.). "Stuck Mojo". Metallus. Il libro dell'Heavy Metal (in Italian). Giunti Editore Firenze. p. 173. ISBN 88-09-02230-0. 
  5. ^ Bush, John (2002). "Limp Bizkit". All Music Guide to Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 656. ISBN 0-87930-653-X. "One of the most energetic groups in the fusion of metal, punk and hip-hop sometimes known as rapcore" .
  6. ^ "Falling In Reverse' Rapcore Video "Alone" doesn't sit with fans". May 11, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013.