The Top 5 Popular Musical Genres

Ranking musical genres in terms of popularity are no easy task since different cultures the world over are generally associated with different musical genres. Using social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram would be a reasonable approach, but would not be entirely reliable because of the significant differences in social media coverage especially between developed and developing countries. However, we analyzed the results of different surveys and the following genres kept popping up :


This is a genre of music, which lies somewhere between speech, singing, poetry, and prose. It finds its ancestry in the West African griot tradition, dating back several centuries. Rap settled into its current form and appellation in the USA in the early 70’s and ever since, it has been gaining popularity the world over, in leaps and bounds. Today, though this genre of music is most popular in the USA, it enjoys lots of popularity worldwide.

There are prominent rappers in basically every part of the world, like JayZ, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Kanye West in the USA, Booba, la Foiune, Kery James, Kano, Devlin, Porta and Oxxxymiron in Europe, Allday, Emcee Kerser and Daniel Smith in Oceania, Stanley Enow, Sarkodie and AKA in Africa, and Rich Chigga, Keith Ape and P-Lo in Asia.

One amazing thing about rap is its ubiquity; basically, any time you speak fluently and fast with a rhyme scheme, you are already rapping. Some people consider rap as part and parcel of hip-hop, but that is a controversial topic.


Rock originated from rock n roll in the 50’s and has developed such that today, it consists of a wide range of varieties such as pop rock, instrumental rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock, jazz rock, glam rock and heavy metal. Typically, rock music is performed by bands, mostly made up of men.

In rock music, the amplified electrical guitar plays a central role and even the bass guitar is mostly electrical. Rock is played to best effect with powerful loudspeakers at a high volume. The British Band The Beatles’ is considered by many to be the greatest rock band ever.

Pop Music

Artists like Usher, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and K’naan fall into this category. Pop music basically derives its name from its popularity, so no surprise to find it on this list. It originated in the UK and the USA in the early 50’s but today, it has successfully traveled to the ends of the earth.

In fact, several subgenres of pop have risen to prominence in various parts of the world such as Afro-pop with artists like P-Square and Hiro and K-pop and J-pop in Korea and Japan respectively. Its appeal comes from the flexibility that its artists are free to develop, to do whatever will be pleasing to the people.


This genre of music originated within the African American communities in the 50’s. Its rhythms are typically soothing and it accommodates purely instrumental music particularly well. Typically, jazz is performed by a jazz band in which there is often, but not always, a singer. Wind instruments like the saxophone play a prominent role in jazz.

Though this genre of music is predominantly American, with legends like Ray Charles, there are also a handful of foreigners who have excelled in it, such as the Cameroonian bass guitarists Richard Bona, Richard Epesse and saxophonist Manu Dibango.

Classical Music

Classical music is most prevalent in Europe and especially in Italy, with the bel canto’ style. This style of music is one of the most challenging to perform, as it requires strict respect for certain rules. It is characterized by heavy vibrato voices and sophisticated melodies and harmonies. It also accommodates purely instrumental music quite comfortably.

Some of the best composers ever are Beethoven and Handel, while some of the legendary singers are Andrea Bocelli, Juan Diego Flores, Luciano Pavarotti and Cecilia Bartoli. People generally tend to appreciate classical music more as they grow older.

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