A Master of Ceremonies, abbreviated MC or emcee, is the official host of a ceremony, staged event, conference, convention, or similar performance.
The term is earliest documented in the Catholic Church since the 5th century, where the Master of Ceremonies was and still is an official of the Papal Court responsible for the proper and smooth conduct of the elaborate rituals involving the Pope and the sacred liturgy. The Master of Ceremonies sometimes also refers to the protocol officer during an official state function, especially in monarchies.
In Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music, "MC" refers to rap artists or performers who perform vocals for their own or other artists' original material. Such genres of Electronic Dance Music where MCs perform on are house, drum and bass, and UK garage.
In the late 1970s, the term emcee, MC became used for rappers and for their role within Hip Hop Music and Culture. Initially, MCs were those who introduced the DJs to the crowd and explained what was taking place during the event. Often these events were parties at locations including clubs or outdoor public spaces. The term is typically used as a term of distinction, referring to an artist with good performance skills.
Today, the term is often used to connote a person who presents performers, speaks to the audience, entertains people, and generally keeps an event moving. This usage occurs in the entertainment industry, for example in reference to television game show hosts, as well as in contemporary hip hop and electronic dance music culture.
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