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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Frank Hamilton Is Rap Folk? (146* d) RE: Is Rap Folk? 28 Oct 99


Lonesome EJ,

The reason that Rap may transcend popular music as a folk art is because it borrows from historical traditions found in the African American and African Communities. These elements are chanting in a rhythmic fashion that tells of the events of the times and comments on them not unlike that of the ancient Girots in Africa. Rapping used to be called Jiving and was at one time popularized by Fats Waller. There is a longevity here that doesn't apply to Dylan or the Spice Girls who are basically popular performers that reflect the trends and fashions of the music industry. Rap does this too but where it differs is that it is black, not racially, but culturally and this culture has musical antecedents that go back centuries. In this way, Rap may not be new but a re-fashioning of older forms of expression. Leadbelly does a kind of "rap" on his recording of the Rock Island Line. The preaching of Reverend Gary Davis might be close to this in it's improvisational character. I have no doubt but that the talking blues originated in the black eommunity and was appropriated by white performers such as Jimmie Rodgers (The Singing Brakeman) and Woody Guthrie. Talking a song in rhythm is found in many examples of African-American culture. It's improvisational quality is another characteristic.

Frank Hamilton


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