In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of when singing became central to rap music. Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies.

Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs from Drake to DaBaby slip seamlessly in and out of melody. Some hits that appear on Billboard’s Rap charts feature literally no rapping. When did this change?

Part 2 takes a close look at an integral pivot point in this progression: when Beyoncé changed the game by singing with triple-time flow like the baddest MC.


Podcast production by Asha Saluja.

Hit Parade episodes are now split into two parts, released two weeks apart. For the full episode right now, sign up for Slate Plus and you'll also get The Bridge, our Trivia show and bonus deep dive. Click here for more info.  

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit