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Sunday, April 02, 2017

The dead end of rap

I was talking to a young girl who intensely dislikes rap the other day. When I asked her why she disliked it, she said, "it's so boring". And, despite being a fan of Public Enemy since the "Sophisticated Bitch" and "98 Oldsmobile" days, and having been one of the very few non-Africans at the PE/NWA concert at First Avenue in 1988, I had to admit that she is absolutely right. Rap simply hasn't gone anywhere musically since NWA's innovation of posing as modern gangsters and dropping f-bombs every fourth word; how can anyone who has ever heard Chuck D bear to listen to Jay-Z ruining yet another lovely song with his inept, droning monologues?

Seriously, is there a bigger pop music abomination than the massive steaming dump that Jay-Z inexplicably slathers all over Alphaville's "Forever Young"?

But when I got to thinking about it, I realized that this musical dead end was inevitable. It was always going to be the case. Most of the early "rap is crap" critics were committing a category error when they complained about "rap music". Their instincts were right, but their sneering arguments were mostly off base and therefore unconvincing. The fact is that rap is not, technically speaking, music at all. To call it music is akin to describing "scatting" or "falsetto" or "rhythm" or "electric guitar" as music. It is, rather, a non-melodic vocal styling; it is an element of music, or if you prefer, a musical tool, rather than a form of music in itself.

And while that vocal styling can be utilized in a broad variety of music, from metal to ambient, it is not music in itself. What is often known as "rap music" is a degraded, primitive form of music created mostly by non-musicians, which is necessarily going to be either sample-based (Public Enemy), childishly simple (Dr. Dre), or an additional vocal track added to existing music (Puff Daddy, Jay-Z).

In other words, "rap music" was never anything more than a proto-SJW seize-and-ruin operation and an exercise in branding. That's why it hasn't gone anywhere. It can't go anywhere because there is no actual vehicle to do so.

This isn't to say that rap hasn't contributed anything to actual forms of music as a vocal styling. Dave Draiman does not rap, but his staccato delivery and multi-syllabic lyrics made Disturbed a better, more interesting metal band. I also suspect that the move from one bass drum to two, such as one sees in bands like Disturbed and Babymetal, represents a real advance in rock drumming that stems in part from the influence of faster, more complicated vocal stylings.

And who hasn't enjoyed Beck or twentyonepilots making use of the various possibilities presented by it? But as a musical form in itself, it simply does not exist.

Labels:

156 Comments:

Blogger Kallmunz April 02, 2017 5:30 AM  

Rap is like scat in the sense that it can add a certain flavor to a song but its ridiculous to try to create whole songs from it, much less albums.

Blogger al April 02, 2017 5:45 AM  

If you wanna hear some of the worst modern rap out there, give Lil Yachty a listen. Insufferable.

Anonymous JAG April 02, 2017 6:04 AM  

I liked 80s and early 90s rap because it was new. It has been well past its "sell by" date for a couple of decades now.

People complained about glam rock, and the lack of creativity, but it at least had the good sense to die at the right time. Rap needs to take its place in the grave right next to it.

Anonymous weston April 02, 2017 6:07 AM  

It's been all downhill since The Last Poets. Once you've tried them, everything else tastes like fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.

Blogger SteelPalm April 02, 2017 6:09 AM  

I used to believe all rap was worthless garbage until a Ukrainian friend of mine linked me to a bunch of songs he liked. This guy had an exceptionally deep knowledge of music (which I completely lack), including specific production techniques and music theory.

I hated most of what he sent me.

HOWEVER, there were a few rap artists and groups that I had to admit were good. Sometimes damn good.

Which makes sense; as degraded as rap is, when millions upon millions attempt to create music in it, a few will be successful through their talent and dedication alone, regardless of the limitations of the genre.

Blogger Ghesthar April 02, 2017 6:15 AM  

I can agree that the 'mainstream' end of the current generation of rap is pretty awful - it's like a throwback to the 'early rap' backbeat with minimalist lyrics and very little ... cleverness?

But apart from that, I either disagree or don't entirely understand the premise.

Contribution-wise, you mentioned that the lyric styles have made inroads into other forms, and I'm not really sure why you dismiss this so quickly, since it seems both fairly important, and fairly influential - when I was a teenager, alt-rock was largely rap/rock hybrid bands, and even pop had rap-y overtones. But even looking beyond lyrics, love it or hate it, T-Pain is pretty much the king of the autotune, which seems to have some degree of prominence these days in the mainstream, and while he wasn't the first user of it, he certainly elevated it to the prominence it how has. Even past that, I think it is reasonable to attribute sampling to rap, and it sees tonnes of use throughout music now, even spawning the 'mashup' genre, which is (in my experience, at least) relatively rap-focused or derived.

The other half of this appears to be 'it's not music,' and I'm not entirely certain how to address that, because you have to start with defining what *is* music if you want to have that argument. But disregarding that, I would go back again to T-Pain, most of Kanye West, a lot of Kid Cudi, some Mos Def, even eminem, and really, some subset of every rapper's discography, which at least is miles apart from your representation.

So I can agree with you if you want to narrowly define 'music', but without agreeing a nuanced definition, I think trying to label rap as 'not music' or a 'proto-sjw sieze and run operation' seems like a reach to me.

Blogger Jamie-R April 02, 2017 6:35 AM  

It's shocking how much beautiful black music from the 60s 70s and 80s rap hijacked and turned into something about drug dealing profits and organised crime. Blacks didn't even realise that moving away from The Temptations & Jackie Wilson wasn't getting them further along, it was moving them 5 steps back. In the end, niggers gonna nig, so the work done in the Churches was inevitably gonna be unwound by the guys who would steal it and make it their own. The best singers are still the black church-trained gospel ones, but they're fighting a losing battle in their own communities. A side note, Def Jam eventually had a Jew running it who was a roadie for Run DMC & we all know how NWA fell apart thanks to Ice Cube's thoughts on Jerry Heller. In entertainment's mecca, Jews gonna Jew too. American Blacks, once they shifted out of the steeled & strong bible belt, were quite vulnerable to being reduced back to their lowest common denominator by the merchants well before whites went that way.

Blogger Jamie-R April 02, 2017 6:39 AM  

Speaking of art & the media landscape I'll link you niggas up to the latest Trumpwave about Andrew Breitbart who wanted "A Center-Right Nation to fight for its soul" in this area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuqEYyiH2Pk

Blogger J A Baker April 02, 2017 6:41 AM  

For young impressionable minds, and especially those under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, rap's simple beats patterns and rhymes work as a great delivery system for supplanting healthy values with suggestions that promote and perpetuate self destructive behaviors.

The loud and violent base together with the discordant rythyms and vulgar lyrics create many little instances of micro trauma which attack the listeners central nervous system gradually breaking it down while slowly and subtly desensitizing the listener to the explicit ideas and images of drug use, senseless violence and promiscuous sex found universally in all rap songs designed to normalize these behaviors and negatively influence the popular culture of our society.

Anonymous Opus April 02, 2017 6:43 AM  

I have never understood it nor do I have any interest therein but if I may say just one thing in my limited understanding and in favour of Rap: It is very aggressive and active; how often do I overhear some (non-rap) song from a white singer utterly devoid of any assertiveness and sung with a pained warbling as if the singer is coming too form root-canal treatment. That, surely, I say (as I once again play one of Abba's Chorale based songs) cannot be the best that white men can produce. The seam of pop music strikes me as having died somewhere in the mid-eighties and is in some kind of terminal life-ending psychosis.

Anonymous Fisher April 02, 2017 6:51 AM  

slow...
is the tempo
now I'm talkin' 'bout a nympho
so peep this out, here comes the info
this is a bitch that did the whole crew
she did-it-so-much, we made bets
on who the ho would like to go through;
And for the shit that she does give her a drum role
Because the dumb bitch licks out the asshole
And she'll let you video tape 'er
And if you got a gang of niggaz, the bitch'll let you rape her
She likes suckin' on dicks, and lickin' up nut
And she'll even take the broomstick at the butt


Sounds like music to me, and let's not deride the triplet on the snare that introduces the story. But then again, I'm not inclined to pose my subjective penchants as nuanced objectivity.

Rap is, necessarily, a dead-end, however; agree with you there: All popularly appealing musical stylings are by default.

It's what makes them popular.

Blogger Durandel Almiras April 02, 2017 6:53 AM  

@7 Jaime: your comment reminds me of an old routine by Chris Rock about the difference between blacks and niggers.

I was never into rap, even as a kid in the 80s and 90s. But I wonder, does Rap suffer from similar issues in Modern/PostModern art? I know the philosophy mindset that makes Modern/PostModern so horrible, and non-art is the real issue, but part of the problem is also the low barrier of entry.

Low barriers of entry lead to a flooding of the field with a lot of trash, creating the perception that all of it is flotsam and garbage. There might be a gem or two in the mix, but who wants to chance it when you know there a bunch of used needles as well.

You know, I think Jazz suffered from a similar problem too.

Blogger Casher O'Neill April 02, 2017 6:56 AM  

The fact is that rap is not, technically speaking, music at all.

This was already a commonplace in the Midwest of my youth, at least among people who had some technical training in music (school band/orchestra, piano lessons with musical theory included, band playing local and regional gigs). The kids and young adults who liked rap were more clearly skewed to the broken home crowd and the race activists, where a monotonous drumbeat of rage had greater purchase.

Blogger Scott Birch April 02, 2017 6:59 AM  

I liked a couple of Eminem tunes, but honestly, listening to a whole album of a guy shouting nonsense .. No.

Blogger J A Baker April 02, 2017 7:04 AM  

The nineties were the heyday of rap and grunge music, and while rap music and videos were about hard core gangstas killing each other and sleeping with everything that moves, grunge gave us stories of depressed whiny wimps who ran away from their girlfriends to pout about some existential bs and who killed themselves.

Anonymous No sleep till Brooklyn April 02, 2017 7:06 AM  

Beastie Boys YO!

Blogger Old Ez April 02, 2017 7:08 AM  

Check out the anticon label. Mostly inactive now but there were a bunch of highly cerebral rappers doing really cool stuff in the late 90s. Needless to say this was all underground/DOY stuff. All white boys too.

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 02, 2017 7:09 AM  

Public Enemy was a supergroup, a fusion of at least three different art forms. Vocal rhythms based on the verbal genius of Black English, turntablism, and collage art made of bits of other songs. No one since has equaled PE in any of these areas, let alone all three.

The modern style of double kick was pioneered by Dave Lombardo of Slayer. They were the heaviest band in the world for about five years in the 80's. Metallica, Megadeth, et al had more of a rock style of drumming.

Blogger Hazim April 02, 2017 7:12 AM  

Fighting fire with empty words,
While the banks get fat,
The poor stay poor,
The rich get rich,
The cops get paid
To look away,
As the one percent rules America.
Spreading the disease.

Queensryche perfected rap in '87 right there. It was inevitable that it should be turned over to the dirt people for scavenging after that.

Anonymous Teapartydoc April 02, 2017 7:15 AM  

I don't pretend to know anything about music, but I reserve the right to make judgements about it, just as I do religion. I was one of the rap is crap people.
"The fact is that rap is not, technically speaking, music at all. To call it music is akin to describing "scatting" or "falsetto" or "rhythm" or "electric guitar" as music. It is, rather, a non-melodic vocal styling; it is an element of music, or if you prefer, a musical tool, rather than a form of music in itself."
Is this not the same way we define heresy? As a part of religion used in exclusion to the other parts?
The average person who is not a theologian is capable of detecting heresy simply by realizing that what he sees is an incomplete facsimile of what he should be seeing without being able to rationalize his impressions, as you say, categorically.

Blogger VD April 02, 2017 7:20 AM  

But apart from that, I either disagree or don't entirely understand the premise.

You don't understand the premise. It's like not understanding the difference between a guitar and music. Rap is simply not a musical form. There is no melody to it and trying to base a musical form on it is necessarily doomed to repetition and failure. There is nowhere to go with it.

Try imagining two people rapping two different parts simultaneously. What would the result be? Would the sum be greater or less than the whole of the parts?

Anonymous Boilerpl8 April 02, 2017 7:22 AM  

Here I go death grippin' again...

Blogger J A Baker April 02, 2017 7:29 AM  

And then there's country music which today is unrecognizable from its former self and indistinguishable from everything else, but in 1991 Country singer Trisha year word premiered her music video for "She's in Love with the Boy" about a pair of innocent young lovers in small town America about to get married and start a life together despite the girls fathers reservations which are assuaged when her mother points out that this boy isn't much different than he was at that age for telling a promising match in a mate for his daughter. This video was marketed toward a white audience.

Two years later in 1993 Coolio gives us his music video for "Momma I'm in Love with a Gangsta" where we see a single mother who visits her boyfriend in jail while lamenting to her own single mother that she knows her baby daddy is a killer but she still loves him, and this woman has no male father figure in her life to object to and keep these gangstas away.

Blogger Sherwood family April 02, 2017 7:36 AM  

Apropos of nothing, I always jokingly theorized that there were musical forms that had Platonic antonyms. I think Country music has its opposite in Jazz. I think of Rap's musical opposite as being Polka. I am sure the system breaks down quickly but always struck me as kind of funny to think of a style and it's musical opposite.

Blogger Otto Lamp April 02, 2017 7:47 AM  

"...created mostly by non-musicians"

Which is why sampling became a thing in rap.

Not good enough to make their own music, they stole it from others.

Blogger Antony April 02, 2017 7:47 AM  

It is often asked why white youths get into rap type music, I think that it is because the musical role models for white youth are basically the effete "boy bands" pushed by the music industry - ok if you want the outlook of a castrated rent boy - but not really mannish or testosterone fuelled, so a lot of them turn to rap genres as an alternative, and given the often misogynist lyrics of rappers, as a confused way of sticking two fingers up at feminist social norms.

Blogger J A Baker April 02, 2017 7:57 AM  

In the 90s everyone listened to rap, it had become mainstream and was being played everywhere. It was however a passing trend and most people moved on from it. Once in a while I come across an old school class mate who is still living in the past and believes they can be the next M&M if they just keep at it.

OpenID thetroll April 02, 2017 7:58 AM  

> Rap is simply not a musical form. There is no melody to it

Gotcher Blondie "Rapture" here to stand in as witness for the defense on that one. Or Stakka Bo in triphop, or Laibach in industrial metal, or ... or ... ok yeah even a remotely plausible example is hard to come up with, but not _completely_ impossible

Anonymous Sevatar April 02, 2017 8:02 AM  

I have general dislike of rap and to survive it has had to steal from older or electronic music. One modern album I thought was clever was Dirty South Dance by A-Trak. Black music created by the likes of Moodymann I can appreciate for its style even if it is pretty far left.

At risk of being an edgy edgelord, most pop music, like most movies are too clown world to enjoy. Older music from both White and Black communities provides glimpses of the potential Western civilisation had and how much was squandered.

There are a number of talented black techno producers and to be blunt the African American community would be in a better situation is these producers received the attention instead of dysgenic ghetto rappers like Jay-Z.

The creative potential of techno is much higher than rap, the GAS series for example (made by looping Germanic classical music) was inspired by the idea to create a modern form of classical music. Monolake in general and Alberto Balsam by Aphex Twin along with Ancient Methods mixes (midi and smoke machine podcasts) are regular listens.

Plus some of the track names in techno can trigger SJWs: "Save The Planet, Kill Yourself"

Anonymous Hrw-500 April 02, 2017 8:03 AM  

I once liked MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" and Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" but today rap music who had morphed into hip-hop there's a time I wish for a "Hip-Hop demolition night" similar to the Disco demolition night of 1979. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1CP1751wJA

Ironic to see Compton, CA isn't the Compton of N.W.A anymore from going black to latino.

Blogger YIH April 02, 2017 8:11 AM  

Most of the early "rap is crap" critics were committing a category error when they complained about rap "music".
FIFY. That said, at least NWA was clever enough to be listenable, after that, it was downhill all the way - just an excuse to put huge bass speakers and alternator/battery-killing amps in cars.

Blogger Kyle Winstead April 02, 2017 8:25 AM  

Rap is crap. All lyrics the same, hate whitey, kill whitey, fuck the police, abuse hos. These creatures hate everything ,they want to destroy everything. Thier lack of respect for anthing comes from a lifetime of freebies and mothers who see them as nothing but a payday and nonexistent fathers.

Blogger thak April 02, 2017 8:35 AM  

I listen to progressive & doom metal (7 Horns 7 Eyes, Phinehas, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, etc.) almost exclusively now, but my favorite rap group from the 90's was Fu Schnickens. Incredible skill, and they spent their time mostly rapping about Looney Tunes...not to mention when they rapped backwards, and using sneezes and such.

I've always avoided gangster rap--and R&B for that matter. I'm absolutely not interested in listening to sexual escapades (or crimes!) put to "music".

Blogger William Hudson April 02, 2017 8:36 AM  

I see most of today's rap as, not a tool, but a weapon. Young black men who hate white people are constantly blasting it from their auto speakers and daring anyone to ask them to turn it down. They are a contributing factor to the dissonance known as road rage. The cops used to be able to ticket them for excessive noise, but the ACLU put an end to that small part of western civilization.

I'm sticking with the "rap is crap" crowd due to the inability to legally fight back anymore. It seems as if they're deliberately daring white men to empty their magazines into those overly tinted windows. This may not end well.

Anonymous kh April 02, 2017 8:39 AM  

One topic upon which Plato and Aristotle agree, is the moral influence for good or evil that music can have on character.

How would you describe the moral influence of rap music (even apart from the lyrics)?

Blogger Cataline Sergius April 02, 2017 8:42 AM  

I think part of rap's success was that it was a very accessible.

Anyone could rap. You needed no talent other than an ability to shout and maintain a rhythm.

But it also worked as fantasy. Since the talents required were minimal, anyone could be the Next Big Thing.

You can still feel the occasional chromed out Nissan Stanza vibrating it's way down the street towards you but it's not as common as it once was.

Blogger Jamie-R April 02, 2017 8:45 AM  

Ironic to see Compton, CA isn't the Compton of N.W.A anymore from going black to latino.

Funny that George W Bush lived in Compton as a kid. The blacks moved in, ironically many as a movement out of the South to 'more freedom', they also went to Detroit and Chicago. In the 1960s they called it a successful emerging black middle class, then their dickhead kids started forming gangs with the Crips first, then the Bloods. By the 1980s it was hell on earth. Change comes again to Compton. I wonder if black families still blame the South when clearly, Detroit Chicago and LA point the finger firmly at themselves & explain why they have a history that is troubled.

Blogger YIH April 02, 2017 8:49 AM  

Even though they were all done back in the 90's, it's amazing how dead-on ''A Wyatt Mann'' was.
That said, I see Vox's point, even at it's best, rap is a component of music, not music in and of itself.
Think drum solos, even the best examples of them can't be called music. They may be fine performances, but it's still just rhythm. Same with rap.

Blogger Dirtnapninja April 02, 2017 8:49 AM  

Antony wrote:It is often asked why white youths get into rap type music, I think that it is because the musical role models for white youth are basically the effete "boy bands" pushed by the music industry - ok if you want the outlook of a castrated rent boy - but not really mannish or testosterone fuelled, so a lot of them turn to rap genres as an alternative, and given the often misogynist lyrics of rappers, as a confused way of sticking two fingers up at feminist social norms.

This.

One of the reasons rock is in decline is that it has become dominated by effeminate emos. People often wonder how nickleback is so popular..well..it's because they project a more classic rock and rock image of partying hard and fucking cheerleaders.

Anonymous Avalanche April 02, 2017 8:57 AM  

@9 "desensitizing the listener to the explicit ideas and images of drug use, senseless violence and promiscuous sex found universally in all rap songs designed to normalize these behaviors and negatively influence the popular culture of our society."

I'd have written: "popularize the base negro culture INTO the our culture"! And "desensitizing WHITES to drug use, senseless violence, and promiscuous sex found universally in all negro culture!"

Our society has most assuredly been degraded by this ... "rap filth" ... I was raised by classical musicians, in a white school, where the choir and chorale performed historical (and a tiny bit of "modern") WHITE music. Gorgeous, glorious, civilized *White* music!

Actual music with structure and form and an UPLIFTING purpose -- not 'goddamned dirty apes' banging on logs and hooting and screaming carefully designed, managed, and forcibly 'popularized' viciously destructive "lyrics" purposely advanced and increased by the jews running the music biz. (Will you let them still manipulate you?)

Rap crap absolutely was just another tool to destroy WHITE civilization! (Sorry if some of you young people enjoyed it and thought it was cool -- it was an intentional tool to destroy us!)

All of you know this (White) music from movies and TV:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRU1AJsXN1g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRU1AJsXN1g

You want fierce drumming? Go to Scotland and have not just astonishingly beautiful (war) drumming, but deeply complex, intricate, and stirring drumming. Want amazing lyrics? Pick ANY requiem or many of the hymn and songs of praise going back throughout WHITE history! You want simplistic but beautiful harmony? Go try Gregorian chant! {VBG} Want some “shrieking and hooting”? Go back to Scotland and get some bagpipe music... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSH0eRKq1lE (I love me some bagpipes!)

You want stirring music?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKityhJZDV0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyS0llg5rXk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ho9rZjlsyYY

You want complex and beautiful and CHRISTIAN lyrics and music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owcn6fgYwpw

Ask how it is you (and your children and probably your parents!) have never been exposed to THIS music -- YOUR music, White music -- hell, White CHRISTIAN music! But only ever to music designed to degrade us and lower us to the level of jungle animals?!

DON'T fall for the destruction!

(p.s., dyah like watchin' tanks?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SndPb5XohYM )

Blogger Lovekraft April 02, 2017 8:59 AM  

Ah those fond high school memories of Jamaicans pushing their moronic jungle aggression and calling those who find it one step above caveman ignorant.

No, rap came about the same time as Tyson, Jerry Springer, Teen Mom etc. The associations are damning.

I conclude whites adopting rap as Stockholm syndrome.

Blogger DeploraBard April 02, 2017 9:01 AM  

1979 Rapper's Delight

Anonymous Jeff April 02, 2017 9:01 AM  

I have never believed that "rap" was real music but was previously unable to articulate why. Categorizing it as a "tool" of music makes a good deal of sense. Thanks for expanding my mind, again, VD.

In terms of dindu music in general, it is quite overrepresented if the music charts and award shows are any indication. And I count so-called "white" guys like Justin Timberlake and Bieber in that category.

Blogger JACIII April 02, 2017 9:01 AM  

Rap: there is no there there.

Like most of black culture it is mostly a black conformist fashion statement and an electronic version of the moronic jungle chants used to whip africans into a frenzy for whatever barbaric purpose was on the menu de jure.

Blogger Ingemar April 02, 2017 9:11 AM  

Speaking of Disturbed, what do you think of their newest album?

Anonymous BBBnnn April 02, 2017 9:11 AM  

Kaney West, anyone? Or is he hiphop?

Blogger Matthew McDaniel April 02, 2017 9:14 AM  

I listened to Becks Odelay album every morning before school Freshman year.

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 02, 2017 9:15 AM  

Sevatar wrote:most pop music, like most movies are too clown world to enjoy
I never heard that phrase before. It sounds like a good premise for a Hard SF novel.

CLOWNWORLD
The Interstellar Epic by Freppo B. Honknose, B.C.S.

Boppo is a 93rd-generation clown living on a planet of clowns run by the noble families of Whiteface, Auguste, and Tramp. For thousands of years, Clownworld has provided comedy to the Galaxy and reaped billions of space credits in return. Boppo is the Clown Prince, heir apparent to the Painted Throne.

But Boppo has a terrible secret.

He's not funny.

And now he's being pursued by the Absurdist Assassins of the Anti-Comedy Association, in a race across the Galaxy that will determine the future of light entertainment.

Meanwhile, the eminent clown scientist Professor Chuckles has developed a revolutionary FTL drive based on Clown Car Physics, threatening the dominance of the High-Powered LSD Guild.

"The social and linguistic implications of a society based entirely on low comedy are worked out in astonishing detail ... a major work by an important new author." - Kirkus Reviews

Anonymous Mister M April 02, 2017 9:18 AM  

It never ceases to amuse me how the rap lyrics call women bitches, and women are in place to be naked, take it all, and look good. The number of SJWs and feminists who complain about it = 0. It is glorious, in a dark, twisted way.

Anonymous JAG April 02, 2017 9:19 AM  

Fenris Wulf wrote:The modern style of double kick was pioneered by Dave Lombardo of Slayer. They were the heaviest band in the world for about five years in the 80's. Metallica, Megadeth, et al had more of a rock style of drumming.

Ulrich isn't in the same universe as a drummer as Lombardo. I liked Metallica before the 90s because of the raw emotion and anger in their music, but their overall skill as musicians was observably well below that of the other thrash metal bands with the exception of Cliff Burton who was a fantastic bassist.

Blogger Orville April 02, 2017 9:20 AM  

the verbal genius of Black English

I laughed till I couldn't breathe. You mean ebonics, the Ebola of language? As said above, there is no "there" there. It's cargo cult "music".

Anonymous Avalanche April 02, 2017 9:28 AM  

Or, if you've never tried it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHMXoLIfPP4

Go to 50:30 and witness the 'recovery' from the grief of death as promised by Jesus. "Death, Where is they victory? Death, Where is thy sting?"

Why is THIS music never provided to us and our children?

Anonymous Hawk Spitui April 02, 2017 9:38 AM  

If you look at the progression of 20th century pop music, it's most distinguishing feature is the loss of musical vocabulary. From the jazz pop of the 20s-40s to the rock of 50s-90s, you lose the harmonic and rhythmic complexity, although rock still retained and developed melodic and lyrical interest, and from rock to rap we're reduced to drumming and chanting.

I'm amused at rockers who decry the degenerative tendency of rap, rock is as much an example of loss of musical competence as rap was. That there was half a century of pop music before the rock era, and much of it considerably more sophisticated than most of what the rock era produced, seems to go down the memory hole.

I suspect when the history of 20th century music is viewed from the distant future, the first half of the century will be viewed as more significant and interesting than the second half.

Blogger totenhenchen April 02, 2017 9:48 AM  

I ran into the same problem in the early days of death metal. I thought it would be cool to do vocal "harmonies" with high- Ans low-pitches growls, but the problem is essentially the same as rap; they're both percussive vocal styles, not melodic.

Blogger dienw April 02, 2017 9:52 AM  

Avalanche:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9c8C2K-TtE&list=PLarTwGUirsjIbS9WrmAQNKQJkMYu3jeHd

Blogger JohnR219 April 02, 2017 9:53 AM  

@24....close...rap comes from the glorious Appalachian tradition of square dance calling...blacks can't invent anything cultural...they just glom on to what's already there...

Anonymous Avalanche April 02, 2017 9:54 AM  

@55 {snicker}

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky April 02, 2017 9:55 AM  

There's a lot to this "you don't have to be a musician" stuff. Have you seen the Ableton Push controller? It is astonishing what you can do these days with button pushing. Of course, add in some musical training and this would be fabulous. But mostly what you have are a bunch of people running around chasing "beats" and making "beats".

When I was a teenager it wasn't hard to form a band. Somebody was available on guitar or drums, you could convince someone to switch to bass, off yo go. Looking at my sons' comings of age, this is much harder to do. But a lot of these same kids have rap videos out on YouTube, using Ableton Push, Lauchpad controllers, etc hooked up to a DAW. Sometimes they have a midi-keyboard instead - it's funny to find they can't play anything but chopsticks on it. And don't want to learn. They press keys to pump out "beats".

And still, rap music as a art form has been stunted since birth and never once branched out. It's all about showboating, and just showboating. The rapper is a claimant that he's the baddest dude on the street. The toughest, meanest gangsta with the most hos, fanciest cars, deadliest guns, biggest posse, largest bank, etc. And that's all it's ever been, interspersed with maybe a funereal paen to a fallen thug brother.

And the damn stuff wont die. Disco died, why can't rap? As bad as disco was, it is yet still miles beyond rap musically. Young kids today (white, latino, kebab, or Asian), insist on following the black kids down to urban gutter for the showboating.

Blogger seeingsights April 02, 2017 9:57 AM  

Vox Day wrote: "It is, rather, a non-melodic vocal styling; it is an element of music, or if you prefer, a musical tool, rather than a form of music in itself."

The Jay Z adaptation of Alphaville's "Forever Young" --which I have now listened to for the first time--illustrates Vox Day's point. In the Jay Z adaptation, another signer signs the original lyrics, which is melodic, while Jay Z rapped some new lyrics.

I didn't care much for most rap. And I'm not big on heavy metal either. Reflecting on the music I enjoyed in the 1980s and 1990s (I'm a Gen Xer), they were melodic, such as synth pop, New Wave, techno, Eurodance.

During that era that was a sharp division in music, one type was non melodic music such as rap and at least some heavy metal. The other side was dance music which arguably was the most melodic music of all time.

Blogger pnq8787 April 02, 2017 9:57 AM  

I always figured rap was niggers bragging about how much pussy and money they had. As a white I was no more going to listen to that then I was going to watch niggerball. But then again lots os whites seem to love both rap and watch sports so what do I know.

Anonymous Jeff April 02, 2017 10:00 AM  

The blessings of diversity are infinite, but if I had to rank them, I'd put music above cuisine.

Anonymous Avalanche April 02, 2017 10:01 AM  

@56 "they just glom on to what's already there..."

(And I am SO sick-unto-death of them always trying to horn in on EVERYTHING we have and make and do!!)

================
Black music from Scotland? It could be the gospel truth

Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/black-music-from-scotland-it-could-be-the-gospel-truth-1-1293195

"... "This way of worshipping comes from our slave past. It grew out of the slave experience, when we came from Africa."

But Willie Ruff, an Afro-American professor of music at Yale, was adamant - he had traced the origins of gospel music to Scotland. The distinctive psalm singing had not been brought to America’s Deep South by African slaves but by Scottish migrs who worked as their masters and overseers, according to his painstaking research.
..."

================

Gospel truth: Hebrides invented church spirituals

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/gospel-truth-hebrides-invented-church-spirituals-87730.html

"...
Traditional psalm singing, or "precenting the line" as it is correctly known, in which the psalms are called out and the congregation sings a response, was the earliest form of congregational singing adopted by Africans in America. Even today, psalm singing and gospel music are the backbone of black churchgoers in the US, with CD sales alone worth half a billion dollars last year.

But Professor Ruff, 71, a Baptist from Alabama, said: "I, like everyone else, assumed it was unique to black congregations in the United States, having grown out of slavery, but I began to wonder if it was performed by white congregations in the same way," he said.

He began researching at the Sterling library at Yale, one of the world's greatest collections of books and papers, ...

"Scottish emigrants from the Highlands, and the Gaelic speaking Hebrides especially, arrived in parts of North Carolina in huge numbers and for many years during the slavery period black Africans, owned by Scottish emigrants, spoke only the Gaelic language. I found, in a North Carolina newspaper dated about 1740, an advertisement offering a generous reward for the capture and return of a runaway African slave who is described as being easy to identify because he only speaks Gaelic. There is no doubt the great influx of Scots Presbyterians into the Carolinas introduced the African slaves to Christianity and their way of worship," he said.
...
================



Well, after all, thievery is something negros excel at, is it not?

Anonymous Ryan ATL April 02, 2017 10:04 AM  

Would like to hear VD's take on Young Thug

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2evN1nhZLSY

Anonymous Wyrd April 02, 2017 10:14 AM  

In other words, "rap music" was never anything more than a proto-SJW seize-and-ruin operation and an exercise in branding.

Better late than never figuring this out. I knew this when rap first degenerately-manifested in the mainstream '80s. I saw it as a direct opposition from prog-rock; more punk than punk.

Blogger Matthew April 02, 2017 10:20 AM  

The future of rap is African. South African to be specific.

Zef til Death.

Anonymous Avalanche April 02, 2017 10:23 AM  

Okay, one last thing you should hear, if you haven't.
Just four minutes, but if you want beauty and depth and complexity and pain and glory and Christianity .... this is it!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpPJWFONvaE

Blogger The Z Blog April 02, 2017 10:32 AM  

Hip-hop killed pop music: http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=4463

Blogger Thucydides April 02, 2017 10:43 AM  

@40

The only way to get that sort of music out today would be to either subvert other media (i.e. get that on the soundtracks of commercials, movies or TV shows), or play it in public spaces where people will be exposed to it for the first time.

Certainly a lot of people are frustrated by what is "available" but either find it difficult to articulate "why" they don't like it (BTW bit thanks to Vox for providing a context and explanation for why Rap isn't music), and don't know how to search for other music to replace what they are hearing now. Even a person with very eclectic tastes like myself might never have come across these works (I have not), so getting them out in the open is going to help a lot.

Blogger Weouro April 02, 2017 10:47 AM  

Rap music exists like black culture exists. It makes sense as the defining "music" of a culture that doesn't exist. Black culture is White culture degraded.

Blogger Pteronarcyd April 02, 2017 10:54 AM  

Foisting rap off as music is akin to foisting prose off as poetry. Modern art -- the last refuge of the incompetent wannabe artist.

Blogger Michael Maier April 02, 2017 11:00 AM  

JohnR219 wrote:@24....close...rap comes from the glorious Appalachian tradition of square dance calling...blacks can't invent anything cultural...they just glom on to what's already there...

SWING your partner,
round an' round,
den slap that bitch
into the ground!

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 02, 2017 11:01 AM  

Most of the early "rap is crap" critics were committing a category error when they complained about "rap music". Their instincts were right, but their sneering arguments were mostly off base and therefore unconvincing. The fact is that rap is not, technically speaking, music at all.
In other words, those who said "Rap music is an oxymoron" were right from the beginning.

What is often known as "rap music" is a degraded, primitive form of music created mostly by non-musicians, which is necessarily going to be either sample-based (Public Enemy), childishly simple (Dr. Dre), or an additional vocal track added to existing music (Puff Daddy, Jay-Z).
"Retards Attempting Poetry."

I heard "Rapper's Delight" not long after it was released.  It was a joke even then, but today you're forbidden to laugh at it.

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 11:01 AM  

Rap began when a white Okie of Scottish descent crossed white country blues with square dance calling. He called it "talking blues."

It came to the city when a teenage Jewish kid in Duluth heard it on some old records, updated it and took it to NYC where he hoped to find fame and fortune.

Neither one of these considered it a genre. It was just a technique they employed from time to time. One or two cuts on an LP for a bit of spice.

Then the city kids took it up and ruined it.

Blogger Michael Maier April 02, 2017 11:02 AM  

I won't argue that music is degrading, but just where is ALL that "harmonically complex" pop music? Any of it, from the 1920's to today?

Examples?

More complex, yes. "Complex"? Nah.

Anonymous Baseball Savant April 02, 2017 11:14 AM  

Jay Z is fucking terrible.

Blogger James Dixon April 02, 2017 11:21 AM  

> It is, rather, a non-melodic vocal styling; it is an element of music, or if you prefer, a musical tool, rather than a form of music in itself.

Vox, the word you're looking for is poetry. That's what Rap is and has always been. Whether it's good poetry or not is debatable.

> And then there's country music which today is unrecognizable from its former self and indistinguishable from everything else...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Vrur_ewM

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 11:28 AM  

"We have both kinds of music here, country and Western."

The joke is, the lady knew what she was talking about.

Anonymous KG April 02, 2017 11:31 AM  

This is not good for the millions of kids whose only hope of escaping poverty is to become a famous rapper

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 02, 2017 11:33 AM  

Rapture by Blondie destroys your defense, thetroll.

It is a fully melodic trance song until Debbie Harry has to wedge in the incongruous Mars rap at the end of the tune.

It is so clunky that it makes Vox's point precisely. The minor key melody of "back to back sacraillac" is almost certainly what made that song memorable. The "rap" of the "Rap"-ture was gimmick.

That doesn't mean there hasn't been a few good rap tracks. They either succeed by having musical layering or just serving as a spoken word story.

But it was a clear dead-end as a musical form as early as Rapture, which shows that rap's success as a feature is determined by its utility in supporting the musicality.

Jay-Z, of course, is the black My Poppy.

Anonymous Laz April 02, 2017 11:53 AM  

"The kids and young adults who liked rap were more clearly skewed to the broken home crowd and the race activists..."

Broken home? That was pretty much everybody in the late 80's and early 90's. Even those of us not from a broken home liked rap then. We played as much Dre and IceCube as we did Chili Peppers

Anonymous A Most Deplorable Paradigm Is More Than Twenty Cents April 02, 2017 12:04 PM  

Auto-tune only works when the singer is off note. Auto-tune is teaching singers to consistently flat or sharp.

https://infogalactic.com/info/Auto-Tune

Autotune is to vocal music as teaching a puppy to crap in the living room is to house-training.

Blogger dc.sunsets April 02, 2017 12:11 PM  

Rap is like scat

Why add anything to this complete and insightful statement?

Blogger dc.sunsets April 02, 2017 12:15 PM  

Fisher, the lyrics you posted look like a description of what Channon Christian endured in her final hours.

Those who celebrate barbarism are not fit to reside in any civilization.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 02, 2017 12:19 PM  

James Brown made his band play every instrument as a drum.

Want to see the difference between rap element and a full song?

Zulu

Blogger dc.sunsets April 02, 2017 12:20 PM  

PS "Rap is like scat" where scat is a topic favored by park rangers giving a lecture about animals.

I think the "animals" reference adds some circular applicability as well.

Anonymous Gen. Kong April 02, 2017 12:21 PM  

Thucydides wrote:@40

The only way to get that sort of music out today would be to either subvert other media (i.e. get that on the soundtracks of commercials, movies or TV shows), or play it in public spaces where people will be exposed to it for the first time.


It's quite telling when masterpieces by Mozart, Bach, Brahms, etc. are employed by strip-malls and the like to chase away loitering 'yoots' - many of them whites in rural locales where the dindu is still relatively rare (though always increasing thanks to the refugee and Section 8 racketeering). A culture so polluted is pretty much beyond all hope of redemption. The works in Avalanche's posting are all public domain worldwide. You can even download the printed scores to most if not all of them for free. A producer of a movie wouldn't even have to pay Harry Fox a sync license fee - apart from maybe an inexpensive one to use a recording (recordings of public domain works are generally not public domain, unless they're quite old with sound-quality issues).

Certainly a lot of people are frustrated by what is "available" but either find it difficult to articulate "why" they don't like it (BTW bit thanks to Vox for providing a context and explanation for why Rap isn't music), and don't know how to search for other music to replace what they are hearing now. Even a person with very eclectic tastes like myself might never have come across these works (I have not), so getting them out in the open is going to help a lot.

You'll note that even the fine items in Avalanche's list are all on SJW-converged YouTube, so once again the platform issue rears its head. Again we see the urgent need for alternative platforms. #58 (Rubber Ducky) and others also raised a very interesting point - the general passivity and laziness of younger whites. They don't even want to take the time and discipline to learn to actually play an instrument but want instant gratification. Some referred to it as a kind of Stockholm syndrome. I wonder how much of this is essentially 'programming' from watching the jujubox. This passivity is not new by any means and was already present in massive numbers by the boomer generation. Go to a classical concert sometime. You'll see very few people under 60, and most of those will be Asians.

Anonymous Just another commenter April 02, 2017 12:29 PM  

Being a more rural-minded sort, the phrase "rap is crap" and "rap is like scat" are synonymous, as scat is a noun.

scat: n animal fecal droppings.
"We passed a fresh pile of bear scat while hiking in the woods."

Sho' nuff.

Of course, rap is mostly a modern low-talent rip off of Skeltonic verse, invented by a white guy, Brit John Skelton (1460-1529).

Or maybe not. I don't like it, whatever you decide to call it.

Blogger Bigg A April 02, 2017 12:39 PM  

Moar examples of niggertry here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWb07PfadOE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx2avVa8l38



Vox is right BTW.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab April 02, 2017 12:48 PM  

Used to be every block in America had a garage band or two. Most of them better than ninety percent of rap. Everybody in my great grandmother's family could play an instrument.

So we are going downhill. Fast, on greased skids. Music is part of culture and the minute we entertained the gangster minstrel show that is rap we doomed part of our culture.

Professional entertainers have traditionally been regarded as shady carny types. We need to go back to that. In fact, our deportations should start with every foreign entertainment person who bad mouths our country. Put them in one of those giant 'pumpkin chamber's and launch them at the nearest border.

Anonymous Pax_Romana April 02, 2017 12:53 PM  

Whenever I bring up my general distaste of rap, someone of my generation always points to, "Hamilton." I've never seen it - because I'm not giving some revisionist my money - but the Millennials talk about it like it was the Second Coming of Christ.

Blogger YIH April 02, 2017 12:55 PM  

kfg wrote:"We have both kinds of music here, country and Western."

The joke is, the lady knew what she was talking about.

Ironically, by the time that flick debuted, TV and movie Westerns had mostly faded away and that music as a distinct genre got absorbed into Country.

Blogger Skyler the Weird April 02, 2017 1:04 PM  

RAP killed the Blues.

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 1:11 PM  

"Being a more rural-minded sort . . ."

The roots of rap are rural:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIRb5r2C-K8

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 1:19 PM  

"Westerns had mostly faded away and that music as a distinct genre got absorbed into Country."

Country had already faded away into Ol' Hank's roadhouse pop music. Really a form of city music. Country is Eastern woodlands folk music of the Scottish immigrants. "Country" is a marketing term for what was popularly known as "hillbilly."

Speaking in rough, statistical generalities, Country music (including gospel and blues) is Scottish and city pop is Irish.

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 1:26 PM  

Addendum:

And translating out of marketing speak, C&W=Eastern Rural Music+Western Rural Music=American Rural Music.

Blogger Ariadne Umbrella April 02, 2017 1:26 PM  

I can think of two things that made regular music far-off. One, snotty, elitest, awful music critics and fans. Would you willingly talk to a Scalzi type about anything? Since there is such astonishing variety and creativity, it helps a noob to have a guide: not a nasty insidery one, a regular person.
Second: Boomers. There are plenty of young people who want to make the ethereal music they can hear, at times, but the teachers are teaching h/t play, say, Abba and Beatles. Of this, I am not joking. The local middle-school teacher worked her kids through Bach, then ?? a full, classical education. They went to high school, and the orchestra teacher set them to work on Beatles tunes. Most of them quit.
Accessibility, humility, kindness, fellow-feeling. Expense, too. $400 violins, versus a $40 turntable?

Blogger Unknown April 02, 2017 1:41 PM  

I think that the question of "rap" as musical genre vs. technique is mainly one of semantics. If one were to insist upon melody and live instrumentation as critical defining features of music then I suppose much of rap would not pass muster. Perhaps aural art would be a sufficiently broad inclusive category? In any event, I take issue with the sentiment that all of rap is culturally degraded, lacking in talent, or uninteresting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ssvY_xWng&index=1&list=PLDN4ZscittH_-_d0eqqE6fTVK9xnz1EZt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mV47wPD-sU&index=9&list=PLTHcRtehh_qvyB7heVl2R1ASieyck6zrX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0plNlwiop0&index=11&list=PLTHcRtehh_qvyB7heVl2R1ASieyck6zrX

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UH0B4CSn3w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbc5S4eAUcM&index=3&list=PLeN62KpDJzWrU9qlpHfVqjBDQXHknNkFN

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDT-FCaKw44&list=PLeN62KpDJzWrU9qlpHfVqjBDQXHknNkFN&index=7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_5edxArGT8&list=PLq42uKLq5XS-TshC3uol0iwE0UIoACmk8&index=10



Regardless of whether or not you enjoy listening to any of the above....I think that the talent involved in their production is undeniable. Perhaps many of you would disagree with that sentiment.

Not all rap is filled with marxist/anti-civilization themes. That's merely the way it is used in its most popular, lowest common denominator forms. As a technique for layering spoken word poetry over rhythm, I personally find rap to be endlessly interesting.

Anonymous MongoJimmy April 02, 2017 1:41 PM  

Rock and Roll was a mixture of country and blues, played on electric instruments. Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent e.g.

Rap was a lot better before it became hip hop.

Blogger willconsult4food April 02, 2017 2:00 PM  

Rock drummers that used double kicks included Keith Moon, Nick Mason, Ginger Baker, and Phil Collins. I think Moon and Collins may have strongly influenced metal drummers. Among jazz drummers, I can think of Chester Thompson, and perhaps one of earliest, Louie Bellson.

Anonymous MaMu1977 April 02, 2017 2:05 PM  

As someone who had the distinct "pleasure" of growing up in Brooklyn during the 80's, I can most definitely say that the dominance of rap as a musical form was entirely manufactured by record companies (and not black people.) As recently as 1991 in the middle of NYC, there were a grand total of 2 radio stations in the birthplace of hip hop that would play rap music in multi-hour blocks (98.7 Kiss FM and 107.5 WBLS), because no one over the age of 19 was willing to listen to an enire album of rap songs (we may have had favourite songs from various performers, but even during my teen years, I didn't meet anyone who had a favourite, 'I'll tell anyone that this entire album is worth the $15.99 price tag!', artist.)

As far as the comments on this post are concerned, I can't even muster the slightest defense of this "art form". You guys are right, and this is coming from a black man who would turn on his radio at 3:30 every day to request Slick Rick and Brand Nubian. Rap music was "innovative" (after all, if you haven't heard it before, because you were raised by a single mom whose music choices were limited to whatever song{s} were playing when she conceived you, anything is new to you), and "illuminating" (see the above comment), but it was rarely "good" and almost never "genius" (there's a reason for the profitability of the website "Rap Genius". When your lyrics need to be decoded by various people for comprehension purposes, yet the final results revolve around the same 3-5 topics, you realise that the artist's have conflated complexity/ciphers for intellect.)

And to be clear, hip hop began its inexorable descent to human wastage with the introduction of the group "Black Moon". Gangsta rap had its adherents, hardcore rap had its acolytes and thug rap had its devotionaries, but "Enter The Stage" was (by my teenaged ears) the death knell of hip hop as a positive form of entertainment. The beats were... well made and the verbal "flows" were on point, but the promotion and distribution of one specific song was enough to make me run towards nu-Metal, drum and bass and literally anything besides the "boom boom bap"-"Reality", aka "Killing Every N*gga In Sight".

Anonymous MaMu1977 April 02, 2017 2:06 PM  

For all of the bemused, non-comprehending and/or disgusted rap haters on this post, let me make this abundantly clear: a group of pseudo-Black Power-spouting "musicians" were convinced to perform and promote and distribute a song titled "Killing Every N*gga In Sight" for money. And yes, these police brutality decrying, black unity promoting and minority empowerment claiming (at least, in media interviews), artists allowed their names and images attached to a song that was the entire antithesis of their political personas. Even as a teenager, the idea created a sense of incongruity in my head, as if I'd turned on the t.v. and watched a group of Klansmen tell an audience that "K*kes and N*ggers aren't that bad". Or Oprah, an ubiquity in almost every black female-led home during the 90's, hosting an episode titled, "Why women need to quit their jobs, make their men steak dinners, then fall back on their beds and spread their legs." Cognitive dissonance is a platinum-plated SOB when you've enough sense to pull the incongruent sections apart and examine each side sans prejudice.

On that day, I received my first dose of the "Red Pill" (years before "The Matrix" was more than a concept.) My ambivalence towards all claims of minority suppression, my relative lack of concern towards YKW-focused scorn, my tentative support for policemen of all backgrounds, hell, my consistent lurking on a website whose visitors have no qualms about decrying the presence of "me and mine" in their country, all have their genesis in that song. After all, if all it took to get a group of young black men to put targets on the backs of their fellow "brothers" was a few thousand dollars and a random appearance on MTV, what *else* was out there in the cultural ether?

I apologise for jumping on the soapbox, but the idea of cultural subversion/substitution/supercession is one of my bugbears. When the topic turns to an idea that I have first-hand experience with (in this case, the origins and mutations of hip hop), it becomes easy to pontificate.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 02, 2017 2:14 PM  

Hawk Spitui wrote:

I'm amused at rockers who decry the degenerative tendency of rap, rock is as much an example of loss of musical competence as rap was. That there was half a century of pop music before the rock era, and much of it considerably more sophisticated than most of what the rock era produced, seems to go down the memory hole.

I suspect when the history of 20th century music is viewed from the distant future, the first half of the century will be viewed as more significant and interesting than the second half.

The most popular band of the 1930s was Kay Kaiser and His Kollege of Musical Knowledge.

Int he 1940's it was Spike Jones. Now, I love Spike, and he had unbelievably good musicians, but "Feidelbaum" or "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" is never going to wind up on anybody's list of musical genius.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 02, 2017 2:16 PM  

Snidely Whiplash wrote:I love Spike, and he had unbelievably good musicians, but "Feidelbaum" or "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" is never going to wind up on anybody's list of musical genius.
Except maybe Weird Al's

Blogger bob kek mando ( Death To The Boor-geois, Keks To The Lol-etariat ) April 02, 2017 2:18 PM  

my Most Annoying Rap Moment has to be when Kid Rock whines about people picking on him.

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kidrock/cowboy.html
"Why they wanna pick on me...lock me up and snort away my key
I ain't no G, I'm just a regular failure
I ain't straight outta Compton I'm straight out the trailer
"

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 2:22 PM  

one more....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJFYoaTVHYc

Anonymous MongoJimmy April 02, 2017 2:29 PM  

On a positive note, writing rap lyrics is a good way of whiling away the hours whilst locked in a jail cell.

Anonymous JI April 02, 2017 2:43 PM  

Rap was always doomed for the same reason GRR Martin's works are doomed - nihilism is a dead end.

Blogger Basil Makedon April 02, 2017 2:47 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Basil Makedon April 02, 2017 2:48 PM  

Sorry, I should say that I agree that rapping is a tool in the toolbox and Hip-hop is the genre of music that makes most use of that tool. You could have rapping in any genre.

Anonymous Walter April 02, 2017 2:52 PM  

The only rapper I like is Eminem. He is amazing! Other than him there is almost nobody.

Blogger Nate April 02, 2017 2:55 PM  

Rap is just spoken word vocals. Hand Williams Sr was doing it in the 50s under the name Luke the Drifter

Blogger Nate April 02, 2017 2:56 PM  

I would point out that rap rock was actually invented by the beastie boys. Listen to sabotage. They are singing as much as they are rapping.

Anonymous Raw Cringe April 02, 2017 3:12 PM  

The cool kids are listening to cloud rap / vaporwave, yung lean, chance the rapper, filthy frank, plus horrorcore-type stuff, suicide boys, death grips

Babymetal is ironically cool but literally no one cares about jay z, even the superior kanye struggles to stay relevant

disturbed has always been normie cringe same for twenty one pilots

t. cool kid

Blogger James Dixon April 02, 2017 3:17 PM  

> Rap is just spoken word vocals.

I.e., poetry set to music. Which I understand some folks have argued should always be the case.

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 3:30 PM  

I disagree completely. If you insist on such a narrow definition of "music" then perhaps "aural art" would be an appropriately vague category. Their is high and low quality rap as with anything else. As a means of layering spoken word poetry over interesting sounds, I find modern rap music to be an ingenious synthesis and one of the few interesting and authentic cultural expressions that the modern US has to offer. There is also something refreshingly and unapologetically masculine about it, as a previous poster noted. Case in point below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3ssvY_xWng

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W2SbJbR6ys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJFYoaTVHYc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzsN3GKrvm4&index=2&list=PLae-8Efy-BDpPqE4vosbUu2GOQabOFrXG

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKEg9K0-3Q4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UH0B4CSn3w

Anonymous Siobhan April 02, 2017 3:37 PM  

Vox,

Permit a moment of solipsistic wallowing in victimization: Why did you do this to me???

I'm... appalled, having never before been aware of the Jay Z crap on Forever Young. I'm vaguely surprised Jay Z even knew the song, to desecrate it. I suppose it's reasonable that he'd appreciate it, as I did as a teen.

Can't he have his own thing? Isn't he rich and wildly successful doing his own thing? I saw Swan Lake at the ballet the other day, and found the casting of an African American ballerina as one of the noblewomen in Prince Siegfried's Bavarian fairytale kingdom jarring. Why is it only cultural appropriation when white people do it? A few weeks ago I took my daughter to a children's theater production of Pippi Longstocking - which had a black girl playing Pippi. Sigh.

Blogger James Dixon April 02, 2017 3:39 PM  

> If you insist on such a narrow definition of "music"

The word has a historical meaning. The fact that you reject that meaning is immaterial.

Blogger Orville April 02, 2017 3:48 PM  

Rap is just spoken word vocals.

I.e., poetry set to music. Which I understand some folks have argued should always be the case.


In that case Bill Shatner is the founder of rap. That explains a lot.

Blogger Noah B The MacroAggressor April 02, 2017 3:49 PM  

On the radio yesterday there was a sad but simultaneously hilarious exchange between a Van Cliburn finalist and his NPR host. The pianist noted that there was in fact high interest in classical music among black children but that, for some unknown reason, very few of them are able to succeed as classical music performers. His dream, he said, was to help bring more diversity into the world of classical music.

What could this mysterious reason be for the lack of black classical performance artists, as well as black physicists and mathematicians? I'm sure you're all as stumped as I am.

In retrospect, though, the exchange was a lot less funny after learning that the pianist is himself about half black instead of just being another cucked white guy like I had initially assumed. You really have to feel for those outliers who don't quite fit in anywhere.

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 3:58 PM  

A few more examples...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfLVnV4Tyng

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFkBGqlN0IY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfFTT3iz740

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dwfBFBBLOQ&list=PL-qNRoPPAywCo4H6XWGSJSGoYQsaLSLMf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9zJHban6ZM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naw5VjcUQeo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojtrc7TzVi8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8OY1N_b7qY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCegITYW0jc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FlFtS6CBQY

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 4:20 PM  

James Dixon...

I pulled this from Merriam-Webster. Seems that the historical definition of music is sufficiently broad to include rap and probably a good many other things which you would likely reject. It seems that you are the one bending language to support your own version of reality. For the sake of avoiding semantic arguments (so that an actual conversation can take place), I offered the alternative term "aural art". Engage with me on those grounds if you would prefer. The point of my post was to point out that there is some truly mind blowing art which includes the technique of rap. I find the lyrical and poetic potential of such art to be inspiring. I believe that there are many examples which set themselves apart from the mainstream examples provided by others in this comment section.




Definition of music
1
a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity
b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony choral music piano music recorded music
2
a : an agreeable sound : euphony her voice was music to my ears the music of a nightingale
b : musical quality the music of verse
the music of lovingly orchestrated words — Saturday Review
3
: a musical accompaniment a play set to music
4
: the score (see 1score 6a) of a musical composition set down on paper leafing through the music
5
: a distinctive type or category of music
there is a music for everybody — Eric Salzman
rock music
jazz music
classical music

Blogger James Dixon April 02, 2017 4:52 PM  

> Seems that the historical definition of music is sufficiently broad to include rap and probably a good many other things which you would likely reject.

I'm sure you think so. But then denial of reality is commonplace in those who have to reject historical definitions to get what they want. Rap rejected the traditional musical forms and thus cannot be classified with them.

Taking your attempted definitions:

Definition one: Rap has no unity and continuity. See the rejection of traditional forms above.
Rap has no melody or harmony. It does, when properly performed, have rhythm. But then so does an artillery barrage, to which it could easily be compared.

Definition two isn't applicable to a musical form, as demonstrated by the examples. They are an comparison and equation of the music to other things

Definition three isn't applicable, nor is definition four. Both of those assume an extension of a tradition definition of music, which Rap hasn't fulfilled.

And since it does not fit into the above definitions, it is not a type or category of music, so five isn't applicable.

Anonymous Hawk Spitui April 02, 2017 4:56 PM  

>Examples?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyVp2O6ql64
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtD-zsRSVFU

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 02, 2017 5:00 PM  

Siobhan wrote:Can't he have his own thing? Isn't he rich and wildly successful doing his own thing?

Years and years and years ago I saw a documentary about Slim Gaillard. Among his many other accomplishments he wrote Tutti Frutti. And he absolutely HATED Little Richard's rendition.
"He wrote enough of his own songs, why couldn't he ruin one of them?"
"My song isn't about a gay bar in New Orleans"

Joel Hyduke :
Get the stick out of your ass.
Rap is about as musical as the hook-up tones of a modem.

Blogger alt-deplorable.jezko April 02, 2017 5:27 PM  

rap is going nowhere because the rap people are going nowhere. since 'western culture' (wink wink) has been in a bit of a lull lately, the parasite has nothing to leech off = going nowhere.

culture is a function of its people.

Blogger Dexter April 02, 2017 5:38 PM  

Rap: a degenerate form of music created by Africans to stupid to master musical instruments.

Carjacking: a degenerate form of car theft invented by Africans too stupid to master hotwiring.

Zimbabwe: a degenerate form of Rhodesia invented by Africans too stupid to master civilization.

Ebonics: a degenerate form of English invented by Africans too stupid to master grammar and spelling.

And so on...

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 5:56 PM  

>Rap rejected the traditional musical forms and thus cannot be classified with them.

Beethoven rejected the traditional musical forms of the Baroque period. Would you say that his work does not count as music on those grounds? Of course you wouldn't. You allow for its break in form and judge it by its own merits. This is not to suggest that any modern rap is remotely comparable in quality to Beethoven, but to point out that all musical genres differentiate and attempt to sanctify themselves by breaking form in some ways.

As a distinct audible entity with flow and progression I believe that a rap song does meet the criteria of both unity and continuity, so we will have to agree to disagree on that point. You are correct that many rap songs don't have melody or harmony, but neither are required according to the definition I've posted. It states that music has "vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony". If all of those elements were meant to be taken jointly then the word "and" would have been used. The way its written suggests a more expansive aim.

The artillery barrage analogy was hilarious but somewhat incorrect in that its common practice for gunners to fire randomly in order to instill terror in the target via unpredictability.

Snidely Whiplash...

Ha...fair enough. I do come off a bit defensive in my post. I was merely trying to give a different perspective as a fan of underground rap music and poetry. I also wanted to point out that while the vast majority of rap music peddles degenerate and marxist themes...there are some exceptions. I can accept the fact that most on this blog think that rap is garbage.

Anonymous SciVo de Plorable April 02, 2017 6:10 PM  

I think I saw Public Enemy open for Billy Joel. Or was it for U2? Anyway, given the forgettableness, I'm persuaded that rap is better considered as a style than a genre.

I partially disagree with the criticism of Jay-Z, having enjoyed his contribution to Rihanna's Umbrella. At the same time, I strongly agree that rap is at its best as a styling, since the most recent show I've seen is José James' "Love In a Time of Madness" and wow.

He's good, but I was reading the internet on my phone when he was just rapping. And I mean really good, as in I was sad that I wasn't married, because the point of seeing his show is to go home and fuck.

Be forewarned, he does this trippy thing sometimes where he impersonates being his own DJ, drawing the record back. But he's really really good at it, even getting the pitch changes right, and he keeps it to particular songs. So even though pseudo-DJ is a style, you could also consider it as one of his sub-genres.

Blogger James Dixon April 02, 2017 6:13 PM  

> Beethoven rejected the traditional musical forms of the Baroque period.

"of the Barque period". Rap rejected far more than that.

> I was merely trying to give a different perspective as a fan of underground rap music and poetry.

If you want to defend Rap as poetry, than we have no argument.

> I can accept the fact that most on this blog think that rap is garbage.

As a form and as a generality, yes. Some folks can make art out of garbage, though it takes a great deal of talent and work. I'm not trying to argue that such art is non-existent. Nor is Vox.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 02, 2017 7:04 PM  

The ear can no more tolerate a steady diet of rap than it can a steady diet of crescendo.

This is why "sampling" was such a controversial thing back in the day. It wasn't a question of copyright for listeners...it was a question of music.

Do you remember Ice, Ice Baby without the bass-riff rhythms from Queen? Of course not. It is the underlying tune that makes it. Same with Rapture: the only memorable part of the rap portion is the stupid image of Martians eating cars.

Every good "rap" song has a tune, either sampled, stolen or original.

Puff Daddy's biggest hit was a musical cover of "Hard Knock Life" from Annie.

Anonymous VFM #6306 April 02, 2017 7:20 PM  

I meant Jay-Z. The irony is this: the little white girl who made Jay-Z a star didn't get paid a cent for providing the chorus:

"Danielle Brisebois: It was kind of fun hearing yourself on the radio on a rap song. The bittersweet part of it was that none of us orphans got paid a penny for our vocals. It’s always been a bit of a sore spot for me. I love Jay Z. I’m a huge fan. I don’t even think it’s his fault. I think it lies more with Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse because they are the ones who could have revised our contracts. They could have given us something like a royalty for our performance. We were basically the artists on the song. We sing the whole part. There is no Jay Z on the chorus, it’s just us kids. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some kind of artist compensation, but them’s the breaks. That’s the hard knock life."

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 02, 2017 7:45 PM  

Avalanche wrote:Traditional psalm singing, or "precenting the line" as it is correctly known, in which the psalms are called out and the congregation sings a response, was the earliest form of congregational singing adopted by Africans in America.
Great post! A few years ago, I came across a recording from a church in Scotland that kept the "hymn-lining" tradition alive. My jaw hit the floor. It sounded EXACTLY like blues, more so than any indigenous African music I've heard.

Anonymous Wooly Phlox April 02, 2017 9:53 PM  

Sage Francis' Copper Gone and...

...Aesop Rock's The Impossible Kid.

I bought them three weeks ago. +2 SD or more over Eminem, both of them.

Oh, and they're white, and using this tool well. So is Brother Ali, who is exactly as white as paper, because he is an albino. "White-White" in Crayola™ terminology.

And he's the best freestyle rapper I've ever heard. It's a tool. It is used well lately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAu1WVtD1Xc

I swore off Rap until about two years ago. It gets better. For some reason.

Anonymous Wooly Phlox April 02, 2017 9:59 PM  

I stopped listening to Rap at Snoop Dogg's intro. Not until 2 years ago.

Strange Famous™ records, and Rhymesayers Entertainment™.

They are indeed the Rap Castalia House.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=aesop+rock+dorks+lyrics

Anonymous Wooly Phlox April 02, 2017 10:16 PM  

You're welcome, Vox.

SF/F is a tool, too.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/aesop-rock-gza-have-largest-vocabularies-in-hip-hop-says-new-study-20140505

There is intelligent rap. It exists.

Anonymous Wooly Phlox April 02, 2017 10:18 PM  

Big fsux pas. Castalia House™, I mean.

Anonymous kfg April 02, 2017 10:24 PM  

@131: " It sounded EXACTLY like blues . . ."

Out of that same musical tradition comes a song form known as the "Lament," which is the blues - blues simply being an American slang word for lament.

Just as "rap" is just a slang word for "talk."

Country, Gospel, Blues and Rap all have Scottish roots. American black culture learned them all, initially, from Scots ( with a touch of little Bobby Zimmerman as a vector at the end).

Anonymous Wooly Phlox April 02, 2017 10:40 PM  

(((Mel Blanc, The Voice of Bugs Bunny™))) invented modern rap, at least that of circa 1998, or so.

Incredible.

An old Jewish "white" guy invented rap. And about money, at that.

And the topic remains the same for mainstream rap. Money.

That fact never gets old to me. Neither does this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5vevoaO4Gs

Blogger Joel Hyduke April 02, 2017 11:31 PM  

Wooly Phlox...Brother Ali is talented....but a huge SJW so I can't really get into his stuff.

I posted some stuff by El-P and Aesop Rock above. Highly intelligent rap with intricate and complicated rhyme schemes. Impossible Kid is a cool album...but Aesop Rock's earliest work is even better. Definitive Jux label. Check out the albums he made with Blockhead (Labor Days and Float). They are masterpieces. "Cold Vein" is another masterpiece off of def jux label. Edan's "Beauty and the Beat" is another masterpiece made by a white rapper. Qwel is a white rapper from Chicago with a great body of work. I posted examples of each below.

The 80s and early 90s was not the peak of rap music. It got commercialized and all the interesting stuff went underground. The late 90s and the early to mid 2000s is the apex of the genre.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0plNlwiop0&list=PLTHcRtehh_qvyB7heVl2R1ASieyck6zrX&index=11

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU-EfwLJAtQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W2SbJbR6ys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltCC-rCeHMQ&index=3&list=PLaamYRFrlgpNajBPrQkEjZrf49WeZ2Cgw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uoansHOhS4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzsN3GKrvm4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UH0B4CSn3w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKEg9K0-3Q4





Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 12:22 AM  

Vox.

You have no idea.

You need to get the band back together, and you write some rap.

Man, oh, man what you could do with this tool.

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 12:24 AM  

@138

There's a common theme, here.

I can't -- I'm not allowed to -- quite put my finger on it.

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 12:41 AM  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-AJE9PnVSA

What?

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 12:57 AM  

@138 Joel

It's funny how the Wiki page on Ali says he converted to Islam, and yet all he raps about is informed greatly by Christianity. Funny, isn't it?

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 1:03 AM  

If Vox became a successful rapper, I wouldn't be surprised.

Do it, Vox! You're Buckaroo Bonzai. Not a problem. Got this.

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 1:12 AM  

Tag Team is still making $50k in royalties from "Whoomp, There it Is."

Every single year.

Are you more intelligent than Tag Team, Vox? Is Psychosonic?

Can you pen and produce an award-winning rap song that gets you $50k a year, twenty years later? I sure wish I could. I'll be cleaning floor mats tomorrow.

Because I'm too unintelligent to write "Whoomp, There it Is!".

Apparently.

Anonymous WoolyPhlox April 03, 2017 1:19 AM  

@138

We are in a rennaissance right now.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash April 03, 2017 2:12 AM  

WoolyPhlox wrote:We are in a rennaissance right now.
Ask the swing kids how that turns out.

Anonymous Mr. Rational April 03, 2017 2:59 AM  

@56   Just like ragtime comes from Ludwig von Beethoven.

MaMu1977 wrote:And to be clear, hip hop began its inexorable descent to human wastage with the introduction of the group "Black Moon".
I'm afraid it was already present in the premier work of the Sugar Hill Gang (whose album I believe I inherited on vinyl but which I can't find).  There is nothing in it BUT human wastage.

It came from human wastage and never had any potential to outgrow or surpass it.

@101   Musical humor does not pretend to be serious music.

@103   If Kid Rock could do squat without stealing riffs from actual musicians, I might respect the stupid SOB.

Widely Headgash wrote:Rap is about as musical as the hook-up tones of a modem.
For once, I agree with you 100%.  Obviously a sign of The End Of The World.

Blogger JP April 03, 2017 3:13 AM  

I have synesthesia (google it, I ain't gon' explain it). So anyway, what this means is that anytime someone plays gangsta rap, Ii immediately brings to mind a picture of a 2 day old dog turd lying on the grass of some unkempt ghetto backyard.

Anonymous citizen-Pepe April 03, 2017 8:39 AM  

I think Jay z .the guy who stabbed another guy in the stomach and didnt go to jail. The victim didnt die i dont think. and said he never should have been arrested. But maybe somehow thats ok because he grew up in the ghetto and never learned right from wrong and now tries to behave better..maybe the song lyric -...Like a Black republican money i got it comin in...- can recruit black people to join the republican party. See black people a black republican money he has it comin in where as a black democrat is broke

Blogger JP April 03, 2017 9:04 AM  

@149 I remember when Blackstreet were claiming to be "trump-tight, all day, every day" like it's a good thing...

Blogger Fenris Wulf April 03, 2017 9:25 AM  

Cracked.com posted an article today about how hip-hop got started because a bunch of poor kids "acquired" DJ equipment in the blackout & looting of 1977. Priceless.

Anonymous CarpeOro April 03, 2017 10:09 AM  

I always told my younger siblings it wasn't music. My opinion was "it is a beat in search of a song" in other words, incomplete as a piece of music.

Anonymous citizen-Pepe April 03, 2017 10:26 AM  

Re: rap. In my lifetime I spent some of my very hard earned money on a total of 2 rap cds. if i were single and rap was a woman i wouldnt throw her out of bed.


Anonymous Hooch April 03, 2017 7:19 PM  

Interesting. Most people I know that regularly listen to rap listen for the "beat" and say they don't pay attention to the lyrics.

Anonymous Bryan King April 08, 2017 4:48 PM  

This is also why Kid Rock sucks.

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