|Stylistic origins||Hip hop, profanity, adult music, new jack swing|
|Cultural origins||United States of America|
|Typical instruments||Rapping, turntables, sampler, drum machine|
Dirty rap, porno rap, porn rap or sex rap, is a subgenre of hip hop music that contains lyrical content revolving mainly around sexually suggestive subjects. The lyrics are overtly explicit and graphic, often to the point of either cartoonishness or extreme offensiveness. Historically, dirty rap often contained a distinctly bass-driven sound, which arose from the popular Miami bass rap scene. However, dirty rap has recently been heavily influenced by Baltimore club, Ghetto house, and ghettotech. Many dirty rap songs have been used as soundtracks to pornographic movies in the 2000s, replacing the traditional porn groove.
Late 1980s and early 1990s dirty rap
Though the genre had been around since at least the late 1970s with Blowfly's Rapp Dirty, it was six years later, in 1986, that the controversial rap group 2 Live Crew pioneered "dirty rap" with their Miami bass debut 2 Live Crew Is What We Are. With the graphic sexual content of their X-rated party rhymes, 2 Live Crew garnered much negative publicity. However, it wasn't until their 1989 As Nasty As They Wanna Be that dirty rap became a legitimate genre. After being attacked by conservative critics, censors, and attorneys, 2 Live Crew responded with the 1990 album Banned in the USA, a much more political and angry album. Oakland rapper Too Short released the 1986 album Raw, Uncut, and X-Rated about similar dirty sex subjects, and he would continue to use provocative and sexual lyrics throughout his career.
2 Live Crew returned to their utterly pornographic roots with 1991's Sports Weekend: As Nasty As They Wanna Be, Pt. 2, which was lambasted by many critics as running the sexually deviant lyrics of As Nasty As They Wanna Be into the ground. From Sport's Weekend onward, the Crew continued to make dirty rap and party rap.
Various rappers followed with dirty rap in the wake of 2 Live Crew's popularity. The group Poison Clan became widely successful, as did the all-female group Bytches With Problems, who were an anomaly within the notoriously misogynistic dirty rap scene. Sir Mix-A-Lot's 1992 hit single "Baby Got Back" could arguably be considered within the dirty rap genre, however, the majority of Mix-A-Lot's work is not sexually explicit enough for him to be considered a true dirty rap artist. Similarly, the new jack swing hip hop group Wreckx-n-Effect scored a dirty rap hit with their 1992 single "Rump Shaker." The pimp rapper Too Short is also a notable contributor and beginner to dirty rap music since he began his first album in 1983, though his topics range from sex to the gangster lifestyle.
In the early 1990s, the Baltimore club scene first began gaining an identity separate from house music and mainstream hip hop. Baltimore club, or gutter music, often features sexually explicit lyrics, and has influenced many current dirty rappers.
Contemporary dirty rap
Kool Keith described the lyrical content of his 1997 album Sex Style as "pornocore". The album features Keith variously portraying himself as characters ranging from pimps to perverts. Keith also uses sexual metaphors to diss other rappers, many of which involve urolagnia.
In 2000, Afroman released the comical rap single "Crazy Rap," a song in which he describes sexual activities such as anal intercourse in heavy detail. While many of his songs focus on sex, Afroman's songs can range from topics such as drugs to life in the ghetto.
The genre has made a strong comeback in 2005 with the two hit singles, Ying-Yang Twins' sexually explicit "Wait (The Whisper Song)", as well as David Banner's dirty single, "Play," both produced by the "father of snap", Mr. Collipark. D4L also garnered success that year with their dirty rap single, "Laffy Taffy," a song dedicated to the female labia. Plies has released several dirty rap singles. Most of Plies' work focuses on drugs and violence and he is not a full-time dirty artist, although almost all the singles released contained dirty rap. Other southern-based artists, such as Ludacris, Three 6 Mafia, Pitbull, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, UGK, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Webbie, Gorilla Zoe, Trick Daddy, T.I. & Mo B. Dick, often include lyrics focusing on sexual exploits in their music. Some examples of dirty rap by eastcoast rap artists include Akinyele's "Put It in Your Mouth", The Notorious B.I.G's "Nasty Girl", Lil' Kim's "How Many Licks?", Bravehearts' "Oochie Wally", 50 Cent's "Magic Stick", "Candy Shop", and "Ayo Technology", featuring Justin Timberlake, which contains references to looking at porn and urges to perform in bisexual activities. Also notable is "Tush" by Ghostface Killah and Missy Elliott.
Many recent indie rappers, such as Spank Rock, Bonde Do Role, Amanda Blank and Yo Majesty have created an underground, electro funk and dance-influenced version of dirty rap, dubbed "electro-smut" by Spin Magazine. These rappers are heavily influenced by the Baltimore Club and ghettotech scenes.
- Huey, Steve. "Sex Style". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- Chang, Jeff. Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation