Early rap music, like funk, has been split into countless subgenres, which often seem to be named by record collectors too young to have purchased the records when they first came out. The categories themselves seem arbitrary at best: What is Deep Funk, exactly? And, for that matter, what is Random Rap?
AC Smooth (right), producer of the featured Lonnie O track, with a friend circa 1991.
One subgenre that's clearly delineated, not to mention seemingly extinct, is Fast Rap, a style of hyperactive and multisyllabic rap spewed over uptempo beats. The kings of Fast Rap are either legends (Kool G. Rap, Pharoahe Monch) or footnotes (anyone remember Maestro Fresh Wes?), but the music remains exciting — and worth revisiting as more than mere nostalgia.