A rap opera or hip hopera is a musical work in hip hop style with operatic form. The terms have been used to describe both dramatic works and concept albums, and hip hopera has also been used for works drawing more heavily on contemporary R&B than other hip hop such as rap.
The word hip hopera is a portmanteau of hip hop and opera. An early use of the phrase was a 1994 album of that name by Volume 10 (although not a concept album). The first dramatic production to use the term was a 2001 telefilm by MTV, titled Carmen: A Hip Hopera.
The word received increased use after 2005, in describing R&B singer R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet series.
This section gives self-sourcing examples without describing their significance in the context of the article. (March 2018)
- Graffiti Blues (1992) by Ron Mokwena and Misha McK, rap opera staged at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium
- A Prince Among Thieves, 1999 concept album by Prince Paul, telling the story of a young rapper struggling for a break
- Deltron 3030 (2000), science fiction concept album
- Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001), directed by Robert Townsend and starring Beyoncé Knowles and Mekhi Phifer
- Polarity (2003) by Norman (Onry Ozzborn and Barfly)
- A Grand Don't Come for Free (2004) by The Streets: a man's thoughts, adventures, and realizations while looking for £1000 that he lost
- A Night at the Hip Hopera (2004) by The Kleptones
- Trapped in the Closet (2005–2012), series of songs and videos by R. Kelly, recounting a string of events following a one-night stand
- Two of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musicals, In the Heights (2007) and Hamilton (2015), have been characterized as rap operas.
- Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012) by Kendrick Lamar
- The Incredible True Story (2015) by Logic
- Splendor & Misery (2016) by Clipping, an Afrofuturist hip-hop space opera.