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A rap opera or hip hopera is a series of hip hop songs in the form of an Wikipedia:opera, inspired by the concept of Wikipedia:rock opera.Template:Citation needed Examples of a hip hopera include Wikipedia:Trapped in the Closet by Wikipedia:R. Kelly, Wikipedia:A Prince Among Thieves by Prince Paul, Wikipedia:Refletchons by Wikipedia:Fletch, and Deltron 3030.
Like its predecessor, rap opera tells a story through consecutive pieces of music involving the same character or characters. Rap opera may be a purely auditory experience, or it may be associated with a musical, Wikipedia:comic book, or other art form. It is a relatively young, spontaneous form, performed more by amateurs and non-profit groups than by professional emcees.
When Wikipedia:R&B singer Wikipedia:R. Kelly was asked on IFC how he defined his Wikipedia:Trapped in the Closet series, Kelly stated that he described it as a hip hopera or musical opera, and that it was now too long to be called a song.Template:Failed verification In 2001, Wikipedia:MTV debuted a Wikipedia:telefilm titled Wikipedia:Carmen: A Hip Hopera, directed by Robert Townsend and starring Wikipedia:Beyoncé Knowles and Wikipedia:Mekhi Phifer. Wikipedia:Volume 10 also released an album called Hip-Hopera in 1994. The former is Wikipedia:contemporary R&B, not Wikipedia:hip hop music.
Stylistic and conceptual predecessors include Wikipedia:Hip hop music, Wikipedia:opera, Wikipedia:concept albums, Wikipedia:contemporary R&B, Wikipedia:spoken word, Wikipedia:musical theatre, and Wikipedia:rock opera.