Alex Boese of the Weird Universe blog adds a counterpoint to the Scottish origin of rap theory we ridiculed a few weeks ago:
The more conventional theory is that the roots of rap music trace back to ancient West African poets called “griots”. From Wikipedia:
the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Because of the time that has passed since the griots of old, the connections between rap and the African griots are widely established, but not clear-cut. However, such connections have been acknowledged by rappers, modern day “griots”, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics.
Actually, given the big gap in time between these two possible origins and the emergence of rap in the 1970s, both theories sound a little iffy to me.