Metal and hip-hop have a shared sense of bravado and machismo, so it should have been obvious to all that a fusion of the two genres was inevitable.
Early attempts at rap metal include Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill and Aerosmith vs Run DMC with Walk This Way, but despite these obvious successes it took another decade for the sub-genre to find its feet.
In the early '90s rap metal was characterised by heavy, bass-driven tunes without a clear emphasis on melody. But when metal adopted hip-hop’s flair for basslines and funky beats it burst into the mainstream, inspiring the briefly ubiquitous nu metal.
Key band: Rage Against The Machine
Zack de le Rocha's politicised rhymes underpinned by Morello's huge riffs and turntable-influenced sonics made for one of the finest debut albums of all time. A killer rhythm section too.
Key album: Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill (1986)
The Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath samples on Licensed To Ill point to Beastie Boys’ prior incarnation as a punk band and reveal how seamlessly hip-hop and metal can bond.
Key track: Anthrax - Bring the Noise (1987)
Early adopters of the rap metal sub-genre, Anthrax not only covered a Public Enemy song but drafted in Chuck D and Flava Flav to help out.
The rap metal revival?