Definition of the Day 3/15/14 — Rap Music

Posted: March 15, 2014 in Humor, Music
Tags: , , , , ,

 

RAP MUSIC, n.  1) A common oxymoron; 2) The type of music one plays or sings when one cannot play or sing music. Rap consists of ultra-repetitive rhythms, the simplest harmonic structure imaginable (more often, no harmonic structure whatsoever), and randomly plunked bass notes–“lines” is too kind a term, unless the lines are “sampled” (i.e., stolen) bass lines created by actual musicians. Like Metal, Techno, and Modern-Day Country, Rap is a type of music ideally suited to the tastes and understanding of those who received their musical educations in the United States (more correctly, those who didn’t receive a musical education); 3) According to nine-time Grammy winner Wynton Marsalis, Rap is “ghetto minstrelsy.” He explains: “Old school minstrels used to say they were ‘real darkies from the real plantation’. Hip-hop substitutes the plantation for the streets. Now you have to say that you’re from the streets, you shot some brothers, you went to jail. Rappers have to display the correct pathology. Rap has become a safari for people who get their thrills from watching African-American people debase themselves, men dressing in gold, calling themselves stupid names like Ludacris or 50 Cent, spending money on expensive fluff, using language like ‘bitch’ and ‘ho’ and ‘nigger’…. I don’t have to attack hip-hop. Hip-hop attacks itself. It has no merit, rhythmically, musically, lyrically. What is there to discuss? … Is it okay to call me a nigger and your wife a bitch?”

* * *

–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

NOTE: Here’s the article in The Guardian from which I took Marsalis’s quotes. Be warned that the article’s author is apparently a guilt-ridden white leftist who evidently feels that it’s the liberal white man’s burden to defend Rap, and to put down musicians who describe it accurately. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the guy isn’t a musician.

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