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Is Rap Folk?

Frank Hamilton 21 Oct 99 - 11:20 AM
Bert 21 Oct 99 - 11:24 AM
Neil Lowe 21 Oct 99 - 11:33 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Oct 99 - 11:37 AM
catspaw49 21 Oct 99 - 11:44 AM
Frank Hamilton 21 Oct 99 - 11:46 AM
Neil Lowe 21 Oct 99 - 11:50 AM
northfolk/al cholger 21 Oct 99 - 06:55 PM
Chet W. 21 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM
Chet W. 21 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM
MaryLee 21 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM
sophocleese 21 Oct 99 - 09:49 PM
Alice 21 Oct 99 - 10:26 PM
catspaw49 21 Oct 99 - 10:55 PM
Mudjack 21 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Oct 99 - 11:43 PM
thosp 21 Oct 99 - 11:48 PM
Bill D 22 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 08:29 AM
22 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 10:25 AM
Frank Hamilton 22 Oct 99 - 10:53 AM
j0_77 22 Oct 99 - 11:02 AM
Frank Hamilton 22 Oct 99 - 11:12 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 22 Oct 99 - 12:08 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Oct 99 - 12:53 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Oct 99 - 01:19 PM
Fortunato 22 Oct 99 - 01:36 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 01:43 PM
flattop 22 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 02:16 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 02:52 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 99 - 02:59 PM
Steve Latimer 22 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 04:27 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 04:33 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 04:46 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 07:17 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 09:24 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 99 - 10:27 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 10:41 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 11:34 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 23 Oct 99 - 04:13 PM
katlaughing 23 Oct 99 - 05:07 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 23 Oct 99 - 06:24 PM
katlaughing 23 Oct 99 - 07:13 PM
Frank Hamilton 24 Oct 99 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:20 AM

Hi Gang,

Got an interesting post from Ari Frede at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Thoughts?

This was a really nice thing that happened. It's on their website Wednesday, but I don't know if it'll last. http://www.chicagotribune.com/leisure/tempo/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV-9910200106,FF.html

We graduated fine. Tisa did an AMAZING rhyme that I never get tired of hearing. I, Mr. Memory, forgot half my lines, choked, and handed her the mic. (For Marta, what you missed was: "So stuck up in traffic while the trains pass you by your car is your coke but you never ask why the rain's pouring in through that hole that you left in the ozone, Bozo, so better find another way to punch in downtown than making me breathe through your funnycar, clown It's not poliTICal correctness that makes my lungs tickle, breathless, and Tisa, her Royal Nextness, will ride the rhyme to its nexus.") But I regained my status when we freestyled -- Tisa thinks we have opposite talents; what she has in writing, I've got in fredestyling. I think it's a good article, especially considering it's the Trib and how small we thought the piece would be. If nothing else, I count this article as a professional victory and as evidence that I CAN SO use my job to work against racism.

Chicago Tribune Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Tempo Section, front page.

LISTENING WITH RAPPED ATTENTION URBAN MUSIC OFF THE STREETS AND INTO THE CLASSROOM

By Monica Eng Tribune Staff Writer October 20, 1999

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and three white students sit around their African-American teacher in a small sunny room at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

A loping, atmospheric beat is streaming out of the boom box in the corner. They bob their heads and tap their feet as they spill words onto

the pages of their rhyme books.

It's a generally laid-back room, but this exercise creates a certain Final Jeopardy-like tension as the students compose a rhyme against the ticking clock of music.

As the beat winds down, the slim, coffee-dreadlocked teacher, who goes by the single name Anacron, asks, "Is everybody cool?" They indicate that they are ready to go.

The beat kicks in again. Fifteen-year-old Jonah "J4Play" Bondurant begins the rhyme circle with his composition, which starts: "Watch me penetrate the senses . . . chemical imbalances . . ." His rap style rides the beat with complicated cadences and a slight gangsta accent.

Wrapping up his rhyme by repeating the last line, the lanky Lane Tech junior kicks it to Anacron, who begins, "This week's topic is performing live/Including the nutritional facts without the excess jive/To survive on the stage is an astounding feat in itself/You must be live to engage a pounding beat upon the shelf. . . ." He seems totally at ease with the form, moving his head from side to side with the beat.

Next up is Tisa "The Tisanator" Batcheldi, who wears combat boots, leggings, a dress and a sweater. Her pigtails make her look like Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island." She raps softly in a smooth stream and then hands the invisible mike to Cece, a day trader/aspiring singer/songwriter. Cece "Shimmy" Page, a blond in conservative dress, improvises an intro to her rhythmic rap, explaining that she wants to join the class so that she can add some texture to a folk-rock Christmas album she is making. She winds down the rhyme, and the whole group smiles and relaxes.

Anacron commends them all on a job well done.

"Do you write for Master P or something?" he asks Cece, who credits her poetry writing for her facility with rhymes.

If a formal class based around rap sounds unusual, that's because it is. The Old Town School even conjectures that it may be the first of its kind. But if administrators at the school have anything to say about it, it won't be the last. It's just one part of the school's push to expand notions of folk music and update its offerings with more urban arts and contemporary styles.

"That has been the mission of a lot of people here, but there haven't been many contacts with contemporary urban folk practitioners," says Old Town adult program associate and rap student Ari "Just" Frede. "I interviewed Boogie (Laurisa) McClaren (earlier this year) for the hip-hop dance class, and she started teaching right away and her class ran with unprecedented success." McClaren is a dance teacher with a new but loyal following at the school.

When Frede was looking for a rap and break-dancing teacher, McClaren introduced him to Anacron. The 23-year-old underground rapper moved here from Los Angeles four years ago and has been rapping, producing, bartending and poetry slamming ever since.

Some may have a hard time thinking of rap (which is about 25 years old) as folk music, but Anacron thinks it's about as folkie as music gets.

"I think that folk music is something that goes along with any group of people who have been established as a culture," says Anacron, who has been studying music since he was a child. "But to this day most folk music has only been looked at in terms of white and European culture. But really it's any kind of music that is created from the heart and soul and is practiced by a large group of people from the same background."

For the most part that "background" has been the African-American urban experience. So does he find it all strange that he is teaching the class to white students?

"I don't think it's strange at all because I feel like a lot of people are interested in hip-hop because it is something they don't know about," Anacron says. "They are interested in learning what is behind rap music and what is behind the lyrics, what people are feeling and what's going on. I can't make anybody a rapper. You just can't do that. I would rather have people go through the eight weeks and come out with a better understanding of what hip-hop as a whole is and a specific understanding of what rap is about, but I'm not trying to make anybody into a star. I think hip-hop has too many rappers as it is anyway."

Although he stresses the music-appreciation aspect of the class, Anacron, who says he calls himself by that name because "I'm very anachronistic," offers plenty of practical tips to his students as well. As a teaching aid for a lecture on live performance, he recently showed a clip from the movie "Wild Style." It featured a duo called the 5 Footers, who were charging up a tough audience with the following traditional chant: "Throw Your Hands in the air/Come on and wave 'em like you just don't care/I said hey oh/Oh oh oh."

"Now that is a classic way to engage an audience," Anacron says, pointing to the video. "People are still doing it today and it works. And you see that audience? It's full of thugs who are too hard to smile at their mama, and they're waving their hands in the air."

Although students such as Page and Bondurant can see themselves possibly recording a rap down the line, others such as Batcheldi see it as a way to get to know the music better and to help with writing.

"I joined because rap is such a fascinating art form and hip-hop is so current," says Batcheldi, a 30-year-old Ravenswood resident who is also an Old Town School employee. "I liked it because the focus was on words which I love, and it was a way to get back into writing regularly and playing with ideas."

Frede enjoys the way it brings together the oral and written traditions of learning that New York City rap scholar Tricia Rose writes were essential to the creation of the genre in her book "Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America."

"Anacron uses written traditions at the beginning of class where we sit down and freewrite for a while and then at the end where you have to freestyle and rap spontaneously, which is very difficult for someone who doesn't come from that tradition," says Frede.

"So having both of those things in one class is what Tricia Rose was trying to say was so essential: You have to have a culture where people are learning in both of those cultures and that didn't happen when slavery was keeping African-Americans from having access to the written word, and it didn't happen when white people were so separated from cultures that were learning with an oral tradition. What (Anacron) is doing is trying to build the skills that you need to be able to practice rap within both of those traditions, which is how it exists in the real world."

In life outside the classroom as a rapper and hip-hop producer, Anacron sees a big dichotomy between the underground rap world and the commercial rap world.

"That's probably one of the hugest separations in rap today," says Anacron, who tends bar and co-hosts poetry readings at Wicker Park's Mad Bar. "But I think that both are good for hip-hop and they both contribute to hip-hop and take from hip-hop in their own ways. But the commercial rappers will say, `Oh, underground, they're all broke and I'm trying to earn money.' Then the underground rappers will say, `I'm doing this because I love the music and if you are mainstream and you're signed you're not real, you don't love hip-hop.' But that's all extraneous. It's about the music."

Despite his diplomatic postion on the situation, Anacron is firmly planted in the underground world of rap, which he says is "huge" and mostly patronized by white upper-class kids. When he is not writing beats at home, the Los Angeles-raised artist is traveling around to produce for "cats in Europe, the West Coast and the South." Chicago, where he decided to make his home four years ago, "is where I usually lie low."

Although you probably won't find a lot of underground recordings in record stores, Anacron recommends www.truehiphop.com/atak for a large selection from the genre.

Rap and hip hop dance classes have now been added to the school's permanent repertoire and will be offered indefinitely while there are students. Next spring, Old Town will continue its exploration of the urban contemporary genre with break dancing and deejay workshops.

Those who want to see what eight weeks of studying rap can do for a group of white hip-hop neophytes can check out the crew's graduation recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the main auditorium of the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4536 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-728-6000.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:24 AM

Rap, only 25 years old? Billy Cotton will be turning in his grave.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:33 AM

Pete Seeger essentially answered "yes" to your question some months back...wish I could remember the article I read it in....think it was in the Utne Reader....

Neil


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:37 AM

Good post Frank. If "Talkin' Blues" are seen as "in the folk style", then Rap sure would be, as well.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:44 AM

You just stole my line Rick............

Well,anyway, nice post Frank.

Spaw - into the "folk-like" style


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:46 AM

Rap may have folk antecedents. The griots of Africa (Senegal) have a kind of rhythmic pattern of sing/speech that tells the stories of their ancestors and comments on the issues of the times. Rap as a genre as far as we know it so far has a fairly short span but as an offshoot of an African and African-American form of expression, it may have roots that extend back generations. This may be a truly urban folk music. As far I as I can tell, it doesn't limit itself to the commercial music biz but is often practised by those who have never made a recording. As in the case of any traditional folk music, it contains highly objectionable content occasionally. Of course, this "content" is what we often hear on the radio and may not be reflective of the whole genre itself. Thoughts?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:50 AM

Nope..wrong again..it was Beck (does he think he's a folk authority or something?) who said it in this article. Verify before posting, Neil. I don't know how I got Pete Seeger mixed up in all this....

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 06:55 PM

No lesser authority than Art Thieme.... Some time ago I wrote a post inquiring about the whereabouts of a pair of Chicago area performers in the folk style named Inman and Ira...Art responded...and in part, (because I'm not ambitious enough to dig up the direct quote) said they were...original rappers. Is it folk, here we go again, academics, purists, traditionalists, et al, choose your weapons.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM

Answer #1 - Hell, no. It is THE most commercialized, manufactured sound form in history, and it makes much money from legitimizing the criminal and violent tendencies of an already screwed up culture. (See previous threads on "Cop Killer" and "Objectionable Material").

Answer #2 - Jesse Jackson said it best when he called it the "soundtrack of failure".

Still vehement, Chetwhousedtoteachinajuvenileprison


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM

And another little piece of timely folklore. The local major chain of music stores around here do not display rap albums on their racks or in their bins. Instead there are xerox copies of their covers in the CD holders. I asked them why, and they said that those were the ones that got shoplifted the most by a long shot, and furthermore a lot of the xerox copies have been shoplifted since they started doing this. If anyone doubts the hard-wired connection between rap and criminality, please explain the above. I assure you it's true. You also might try checking out some of the popular rap artist websites, such as www.thug.com. (also true; probably some good links). I spent years watching and listening to children puking out whole albums of this shit when they couldn't write a complete sentence or add two numbers. I did it until I couldn't take it anymore. Don't anybody try to outliberal me on substantive issues, but this is one subject that does not merit our compasssionate understanding.

As above, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: MaryLee
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM

On one hand I would say NO! But, at the same time, I'm thinking, Yeah, it's kinda YES. Especially after reading, and pondering, the first posting. I sure don't like the comercial version with the advocating of criminal activites and nasty language, but, then, maybe some folks thought the '60's stuff I love was garbage too. Ya just don't know. Fortunately, the radio has many settings, I have my own kind of CDs and tapes and the vehicular boom-box does move on and away from shaking my own little van!

I guess one purrson's mewsic is another's yowling!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: sophocleese
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 09:49 PM

I thought the acid test of whether a song was 'folk' or not was if it lasted through a generation or so. There are some people who are still arguing that Bob Dylan's stuff isn't folk yet as it hasn't been tested through time. I don't think you can apply the test to one style of music but not to another.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Alice
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 10:26 PM

Talking is not singing. It may be a type of poetry, but it isn't music, even if it does have instrumental backup. We had this argument, uh, I mean discussion, about a year ago, and here it is again. I'm with Chet on this one.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 10:55 PM

Zappa referred to it as atonal mouth noises. And much as I utterly detest the entire genre and have seen the effects Chet refers to, Rap is music in that rhythms are the earliest form as is the human voice.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mudjack
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM

I've been under that impression for some years now. Ihe BLUES as we know it today had it's reputation of being fit only for speak easies and not accepted as popular music. Fotunately the music form was recorded and preserved for our study. Rap is putting forth messages of what's happening in the streets, no matter how much we dislike the content, the fact is it relates what struggles and strife these times are all about. I still have a problem with the foul language and lack of respect for morales and human life. Drugs, Drive by shootings. But the Blues says the same thing.
It's as honest as any music can be, it's just not in my song bag.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:43 PM

FRank- DOn't I recall your rejecting old pop music that's sung today as folk because of its origins? Do I detect an inconsistency here?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: thosp
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:48 PM

hmmmm my post didn't take-- oh well, here we go again
Mudjack- i agree with you completely-you saved me alot of typing-(which i hate to do)thanks


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM

folk?...maybe..sort of................BAD folk!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:29 AM

Chet, one point only: I think the Chicago school can only help by taking on this genre and shining an apprently positive light on it. A lot of the general whute population are fearful of black youth because of their *music*. I just had a wonderful experience having dinner with Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and prominent civil rights attorney; as well as heard him lecture. He pointed out that to combat such fears of our differences, we must learn about each other through dialogue and sharing of our cultures. He said we are all angels with one wing. That we must embrace each other in order to fly.

Like it or not, rap is part of the urban culture of Americans of African descent. (I mentioned to him, at dinner, the PC thread I'd started and about people being tired of changes in designating someone's race. He uses the "American of whatever descent", which I felt was a worthy disticntion.) I hope that this program can help to bridge the enormous gap between different cultures.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From:
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM

Kat, I wish I could have had dinner with you and Morris Dees; He is one of my personal heroes, as are you. The thing about rap is (and I hope this is not a rehash of what we've said before) that even though there are positive examples aplenty (I just heard some by ZapMama that was pretty interesting and non-violent), the mainstream is still glorifying the criminal subculture. As far as I know, it has never happened before that a large segment of any society has proudly *identified* themselves as criminals, (eg.- Thug.com). There have, of course, been large criminal subcultures before, but they didn't announce themselves as such, nor did they have mainstream media, clothing, and much more providing in many young minds a kind of legitimacy for something that can only be negative. I doubt that any of my previous students committed their crimes only because of rap, but if it made even the littlest difference in the ruination of some of them, then I have to loudly oppose it. I saw so many lives completely shot to hell before they even started, a point came when I had to get out of there or become the unknown martyr. ( I tried real hard.) As for the existence of some positive examples, I think that's good and I think it's growing. But what if there was a Nashville-type "country" song about healthy relationships, compassion and kindness, struggles for justice, equal treatment for all, etc. We might say "Hey that's better" but it would not change the overall persona of the Hank Williams JR types that a large number of my neighbors so admire, and I doubt that any of them would even notice when the song went by on their radio. It's the same with rap. It only becomes a sensitive issue when some racial face is put on it, but I can tell you that the white kids I worked with were just as engaged by it as the black and Latino kids. We cannot make judgements, as we are occasionally called upon to to in civilization, we cannot make them with the same hearts and the same standards that we did thirty years ago, because it really is different now in some very fundamental ways. This is not Elvis's hips or Jimi Hendrix being permanently stoned. This is different.

With love in my heart, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:25 AM

Dear Chet, thank you. I am honoured that you consider me a hero(ine)*g*. The feeling is mutual. I was also very honoured to be included in the private dinner held for Dees before his lecture. There were about 40 of us and I was thrilled when he chose to sit at the same table as my friends and me! The best words I can use to describe him are genteel, erudite, and disarmingly charming. I would love to see him argue a case in court. He does not confront, nor get angry, he simply honours a person's stance, then gently and irrefutably shows them a better way (rather than the error of their ways.) The man is brilliant.

He told a funny anecdote. Said he'd grown up in a little crossroads community in Alabama. Had the same teacher for Sunday School and 4 & 5 grades. Said the teacher was a crusty old lady; she'd taught his dad, him and two of his kids before finally retiring. Also, said it was hard sometimes to tell if she was teaching Sunday school stuff or school stuff. She was a great one for prohibition and wore a button which said, "Lips that touch wine, will never touch mine." One day, in regular school, Morris said, "But, Miz Johnson, you told us Jesus turned water into wine!" She replied, "That's right, Morris, but we'd have a lot mroe respect for him if he hadn't!"

Anyway, I totally understand what you are saying and I know you, of all people, have much more experience in the "trenches" than the rest of us. I have so much respect for you and others who do that kind of work, Chet. I agree, esp. with your last statement about how we cannot do things the way we did 30 yrs ago; I was 16, then and would NOT even want to think about doing things the same way, again!*bg* I have to say, though, I am selfishly grateful that you are no longer in that situation, for your sake.

I don't know what the answers are. I don't think we can negate the positive things that the school in Chicago is doing with this genre. As far as whether positive country or rap would gain ground on the radio, and thus, in society: it's all a matter of economics. If they can find a way to make it attractive to advertisers through delivery of listeners, then it will go. All big IFS, I know. BTW, excellent points about the *legitamacy* of the "thug" stance. My mind immediately thought of the Mafia and how they've never had such commercialism supporting their tactics.

I will quit rambling, now. Bless your heart, Chet. It is definitely in the right place.

luvyaKat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:53 AM

Northfolk, you mention Ira and Inman. I recorded with them in the late fifties. It was the one session that I walked off of. They were doing chain-gang type shouts and very interesting work. A fat A and R man came in to the session with a big see-gar and proceded to do a number on them. He said that "The kids like lots of saxophones and big drums". He ruined their act. I was digusted. I told Frank Fried, the guy who had brought them to this label, I couldn't stand what they were doing to Ira and Inman. As far as I remember, they didn't actually "rap" but they were incorporating African-American chain gang and blues shouts into their music. They were exciting before the "music mob" got ahold of them.

Frank Hamiltonb


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: j0_77
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:02 AM

Why of course it is, and Frank technology is putting both the recording studio and the means to distribute the 'product' in every home these days.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:12 AM

Hi Dick,

Am I inconsistent? Dunno. I think that there is a case for "rap" being a style of urban folk music without the "songs" being sung as folk songs. The "songs" themselves would need to be generational, I believe. The style of performance may already be. It emanates from the African American community and borrows much from the music of the past. "Rapping" seems to be part of the picture. Fats Waller called it "Jiving". Street rhymes, jump rope games and other chants from the African American community might be the forbears of "rap".

As to the "gangsta" stuff, I'm not crazy about the violence and perjoratives given to women either but it bears reminding that many outlaw songs glorified Jesse James, Billy the Kid (a ritarded young man who slaughtered an innocent Mexican family for fun) and many others. The Mexicano Corrido glorifies famous drug dealers,occasionally. How about that notorius mountain ballad, "Pretty Polly"? Is the content of that song any better? Of course in the last stanza, true to the morality code of the Appalachians, Willie gets his comeuppance by going to Hell. But the graphic detail is almost "slasher movie".

Just asking question here.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:08 PM

Yes, it is. Rap is folk music.

And its not an outgrowth of talking blues, or based on a rediscovery of that form.

And despite the 'cop killer' forms of the genre, that get everybody screaming about rap in much the same way that Helms and his ilk scream that "the arts arts are decadant" everytime some isolated shock artist slaps a religious icon in excrement, it originally evolved as a form of dance music for street parties. It was the black urban equivalent of hoedown music. The gangsta stuff came later.

Like it or not its Folk Music with a captital F.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:53 PM

Frank,

I am not going to say one single thing about this--not one single thing--no nothing!!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM

I guess it kinda fits with what I think of as folk music.
Now, dammit, I'll have to qualify any statements I might make saying 'I like folk music'


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:19 PM

Rap would appear to stemmed from something that might have been folk and maybe the "urban culture" might add to this but I think that is as far as it goes. Was punk part of a cultural movement and could it justifiably be considered folk.

Frank, is contemporary folk singing folk? - it too follows those principals but I thought that you have argued against that. Is commercial recording folk? - I thought that you had argued against that.

To me, I don't care, I like what I like and I DETEST rap and if it is folk, I will have to come up with another word to describe what I do like.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:36 PM

There is no creature so vile or action so inhuman that music cannot immortalize it, nor, seemingly, that the American public cannot raise to celebrity.

Musicologists can dispute as they are wont to do.

Rap is not my folk music. It may be yours.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:43 PM

Jon, I don't think you have to find another name for what you like, I just think we might have to use sub-designations more, i.e. sea shanteys, cowboy songs, etc.

There are so many types of folk, one designation is pretty broad.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: flattop
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM

Is Pete Seeger rap or could he carry a tune when he was popular a hundred years ago?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:16 PM

Kat, I like a pretty broad.

Bert (running and ducking)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:52 PM

Yew can run and duck all yew want to, Bert, but you know eventually you'll run into Tree!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:59 PM

Morris Dees? What a deal Kat......I hate you...No Garden Faeries Tonight!!!

CHET...... I'm very glad that you continued your explanation as I would fear that some may have taken your first post wrong. I knew what you were saying, maybe everyone did....but I'm still glad for the rest of the tale. Like you, I've spent a lot of time in the trenches and to be truthful, sometimes I make a comment that requires further explanation and I often do not do it for whatever reason. I guess at times I'm just lazy and by the time I got finished explaining myself no one would read the 30,000 words to begin with! You did a fine job, about as comprehensive, yet brief, as I could imagine. Thank you my friend.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM

I hate Rap, I hate the tunelessness of it, the never changing beat, the violence that is the basis of much of it and I am very close to saying, at the risk of sounding like my Old man, 'Hell that's not even music.'

But is it folk? I begrudgingly admit that it is. It is the voice of a particular community, as were Woody, Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and many, many more. Did they have violence in their songs? Absolutely, I still have difficulty with some of the lyric content, but I love the music. Just because Don't like Rap doesn't make it any less folk.

Let's hope though that it doesn't stand the test of time.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:27 PM

Nah, nah, na, nana! Yea, 'Spaw, after five years non-stop of doing most of the press releases, writing petitions, emailing over 500 messages out to people when M. Shephard was killed, with the no hate logo I designed on my computer, and coordinating other events, along with the few other core people we have, and writing other stuff for the Natrona County Grassroots Project, a part of the Wyoming Grassroots Project, a human rights org., dinner with and hearing Morris Dees speak made it all worth it. Even the totally discouraging times when the legisalture sticks their heads where the sun doesn't shine and refuses to even discuss a bias crimes bill. I've lost track of the number of editorials and articles I've written about hate crimes in this state and elsewhere.

And, this wwek, we had two doctors, married, one of them is Korean; they have a one year old, move away from Wyo. because of the hate that was spewed at her, esp. a letter that some bytch sent her calling her a Korean whore and hoping that her baby son would be anally raped before he turned five.

It's been that kind of day and week, ya know? Then I read that our fed legis. considering passing a law against crush films. Now that I've read the sickening details, they'd better! I didn't even know these existed and now I am having a hard time getting it out of my heart. Crush films are of women, bare-footed or in high heels, crushing litle animals, kittens, monkeys, bugs and hamsters. Pacifist that I am, I WOULD get deadly violent if I ever caught nayone doing that. Oh, shit, I am sorry, I can't write for the tears. It just makes me so angry. Sorry for the thread creep, guys. Thanks for listening.

Feels like hell, today, but there's no sign of a handbasket.

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:33 PM

Ah yes Kat, I'm in enough trouble already with that rose that I got from a secret admirer.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM

I was nearing the end of another essay when my computer froze and I lost it. Anyway, thanks 'Spaw and Kat and all. I was saying that in my experience with rap (and I do know its origins, having nothing to do with Africa; I'll tell all later) I have found more mature ways, so to speak, to think about freedom of speech. There is no freedom of any kind without the responsibility that goes with it. Don't think badly of me, ye defenders of the First Amendment, for I am one of you, but this is an argument that cannot be made simple, just as ideals of freedom cannot be made simple. Please see the previous threads mentioned above if you weren't there when we did them, and also one called "long-winded BS". They are long, but I think we had a lot of good thoughts come out in them.

Dig deep, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:46 PM

Oooo, Bert, be careful talking about that rose; I've got a rose tattoo and wouldn't you just love to know where?!Heeheehee! Maybe she's just having you on and it's her after all!?

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM

Well WE agree with you Chet even if your computer censors you.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 07:17 PM

Thanks, Bert, and Kat, I think we have an idea where. Now if I can remember how I played The Rose Tattoo on my whistle...

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 09:24 PM

Another relevant thought occurs; There have not been any big rap concerts in this part of the country (go ahead a make a joke about the backwards south) in a long time. The reason is purely free from politics and bias; The insurance costs too much. The insurance companies certainly want to make money. The promoters do too, but they can't afford the insurance. Is this censorship? Of course, but it's self-censorship. If you're going to create an event with a proven track record of serious violence, the costs, unless you want to risk losing your ass, will be very high. It's like why they won't let you sit on the track at car races.

Clear as a bell, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:27 PM

As the thread creeps.......

Chet, you made a comment about responsibility....

Do you ever get the feeling that my generation accidently "screwed the pooch?" I do...about once a day. I don't want to drag this out, but we were raised by a very responsible generation us boomers. And as one who was actively involved in the changes of the sixties, I know it is not true across the board, but the "general" idea was more freedom but with the responsibility it entailed. Unfortunately that has translated 30+ years later to "do or say anything and don't give a turkey." Respect and common decency seem to have gone the way of the world too.......just do whatever and to hell with it.

Friends, that was NEVER the idea (speaking in general terms here), but it sure is how it came out.............drives me nuts...short trip. But thanks for triggering the thought Chet...I'd almost made it through the day without kicking my own ass.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:41 PM

'Spaw, Yeah we had our way with the pooch, but those of us who came out of it "all right" (accepting responsibilities that came with our freedom) I believe are, and always were, part of a thoughtful minority. Looking back, I remember clearly that at pretty much every counterculture event I saw, whether anti-war or freedom of speech or free love, most people were just there for the party, for the drugs and sex and Lack of responsibility. Those are the ones that spawned the last couple of generations that we speak about so alarmingly here. If by some miracle it had gone "our" way, maybe we would have the aquarian utopia we thought we were going to get. I don't think there were that many more thoughtful, responsible people back then than there are now. It's just that the media has them under tighter control now. The drugs and sex were pretty cool at the time, though.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:34 PM

At least back then, we were not as vicious to one another, in a general, societal way. We were not as innured to violence as a commonality, as a society, then, either. Ah, that darn old pendulum always has to swing too far, huh? Why the hell can't it just stay in the middle and live and let live? Guess not many believe in balance. I cannot believe the indulgences and lack of responsibility so many parents coddle their chldren in, today. I am damn glad I had my kids when I was so young, before the me generation became so pervasive. I am also amazed at how many parents who are older, in their 30's and 40's, who seem to ahve no confidence in their own common sense or they have none and therefor run from expert to expert, with the kid running the show, instead of the parent. Ms. Manners did get a call into the show about that. A five year old, throwing fits, in total control of all adults around him. And, parents have to be told how to handle that! Thanks mom and dad, thanks bet for giving me such good examples and helping to raise my kids. Oh, and before someone starts talking about how young parents today need to be told how to do it, I was a teen mom, so been there done that; had high standards, so I tend to probably be too judgemental.

rampagingkat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 04:13 PM

Always easy to genralize about the children of others--

Yesterday I was in a drug store with my 3 year charming and gregarious 3 year old who also happens to have cerebral palsy, and has been receiving speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy since she got home from the hospital--

A woman asked her, "What is your name" and when she answered with a cheerful babble, the woman asked her repeatedly, sternly, pointedly, then she started saying, "I want to hear that name" and practically shouted for my benefit, "You need to learn to say that name"--

Don't be so quick to judge what you think you see--because sometimes parents of special needs children forget their manners--and let you have a piece of their mind--

When that happens, you will be amazed at how little it helps to say, "I didn't know..."


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 05:07 PM

M. Ted, I would never do something like that woman did! How rude and thoughtless. I was just talking in a general sense, which I know, I shouldn't be doing. From what I could tell on the radio show, it was just a normal, but out of control 5 year old. Having worked in medicine for several years, I am pretty observant and do try to go out of my way to make people comfortable or to help out if possible and appropriate.

I wonder, sometimes, if there is more to our physical environment, besides tv, I mean, that contributes to the apparent rise in a lot of disorders we used to never or barely hear about; or is it just we are more aware and there is less stigma attached? I am thinking not along the lines of in utero, but after birth, or whenever things like ADD and others seem to develop. I would be interested in hearing from those of you who deal with these things.

It is wonderful that you are doing all of those things with and for your daughter, M. Ted. A challenge and blessing all at once, just like a kid, huh?*g*

One other thing and I will shut up. This is probably more what I had in mind, M. Ted. I see parents who seem to be so ambivalent and unaware with their kids. I am appalled, for instance, at seeing things such as in the grocery store parking lot today. A mother with two babies in car seats and a little girl, probably about 3 or 4, parked her car, got out, left her door wide open and walked across the lot to get a cart. The 3/4 yr. old went bounding across the parking lot after her mom, and the mom didn't take any notice. Babes were left there all alone witht the door open, the 3/4 could have been run over and the mom was oblivious. Besides being careless, I think it is just plain rude. I see so many parents who walk into a store, never holding their children's hands, the little ones straggling behind, dodging cars, while the parent moseys on in the store or, worse, yet, in a way, turns around and yells at the little one, with tiny legs, to hurry up. I am appalled at the lack of civility and caring. How will children learn to be courteous and kind if they aren't treated that way?

I think I am wearing out the soapbox.

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 06:24 PM

Sorry if I vented on you--I get a little touchy sometimes--

The reason that you hear a lot about things that you never used to is that it used to be that everyone was encouraged to shut up and keep it all out of sight--The allegedly retarded and spastic children were shamefully stowed away and forgotten about--

Up until fairly recently, many kids were classified as mentally retarded and institutionalized for life(and there often drugged and shockingly abused and mistreated), because they had a limp and a speech impediment--

Not surprisingly, even the designation of Mental Retardation has come into question--even still, you find many so called "enlightened" books about children's medical issues that say that the majority of CP kids are mentally retarded--

The truth is still is hard for a lot of people, doctors, teachers, and other professionals included, to get past the walkers, the limping, and lisps and occasional drooling to really appreciate how bright most of these kids are--

By the same token, a lot of kids ( many grown into adults) have had cognitive problems that have gone completely unnoticed because they didn't have accompanying motor impairments--

Sorry for the lecture, but I tend to go into that mode at any opportunity--

As to your parking lot kids--what can I say? The fact that kids nowdays manage to survive their childhoods seems like a miracle--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 07:13 PM

MTed, it's okay, we all vent on the Mudcat because it is safe to do so and understood with compassion. I didn't take it personally.

You are right about the kids who used to be shunned and hidden and abused. And, you are also right to go into an "educator-mode" when the opportunity comes up.

I know a friend of a friend who has CP. She is in a wheelchair, drives her car all over the state and uses a computer which recognises her voice to write. She works to a fuller capacity than I am able and holds a position of high merit. It's hard to believe some of the medical community would claim someone like her is "mentally retarded". Go figure, huh?

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 12:48 PM

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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