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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton Is Rap Folk? (146* d) RE: Is Rap Folk? 24 Oct 99


Jon,

What I attempted to say is that "rap" is not necessarilly all on recordings. It happens in the street. In that way, in the black community, it has the ear marks of folk music. "Contemporary Folk" is a kind of recording company label, a euphenism for "singer/songwriter".

I confess that I don't understand the words of rap singers. Many black people do however. It's speech patterns that are genrally unfamiliar to the white community. I had trouble understanding the African style speech in the "islands" as well. Eventually I guess one can learn to "hear it". The subject matter of commercial rap music of that which I do understand is so offensive to me that I lack the motivation to want to understand it furthur. I feel that it is a socially divisive music and that there are judgements expressed by it that are not constructive to racial harmony. My opinion, but of course, there's a lot that goes by me. So I really don't know. A lot of the words that are improvised tend to sound like doggerel to me as constrasted by the tradition of early calypso singing in Trinidad which reached quite a folk art level of sophistication, IMHO. Here, the diction of such singers as Lord Burgess, Lord Melody, Mighty Sparrow and others were clean and trenchant. But, this is my limited experience with rap so I feel it necessary to listen to a lot more and keep an open mind.

Frank Hamilton


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