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Blues vs Rap

The Shambles 26 Jan 00 - 09:30 AM
Terry Allan Hall 26 Jan 00 - 09:52 AM
Linda Kelly 26 Jan 00 - 10:09 AM
Terry Allan Hall 26 Jan 00 - 10:15 AM
Rick Fielding 26 Jan 00 - 10:25 AM
Jon W. 26 Jan 00 - 11:14 AM
GUEST,CASEY @50 26 Jan 00 - 11:35 AM
Caitrin 26 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM
Terry Allan Hall 26 Jan 00 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 26 Jan 00 - 01:17 PM
Amos 26 Jan 00 - 02:10 PM
Skipjack K8 26 Jan 00 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Graeme Currie 26 Jan 00 - 02:30 PM
Steve Latimer 26 Jan 00 - 02:32 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Jan 00 - 03:14 PM
Caitrin 26 Jan 00 - 03:17 PM
Amos 26 Jan 00 - 03:25 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 26 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM
MK 26 Jan 00 - 04:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jan 00 - 05:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jan 00 - 05:27 PM
Amos 26 Jan 00 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,marcelloblues 26 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM
Caitrin 26 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jan 00 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,Terapln 26 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM
grgptrsn 26 Jan 00 - 07:42 PM
grgptrsn 26 Jan 00 - 07:46 PM
Amos 26 Jan 00 - 08:00 PM
Mark Clark 26 Jan 00 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,ddw 26 Jan 00 - 08:55 PM
grgptrsn 26 Jan 00 - 09:48 PM
ddw 26 Jan 00 - 10:10 PM
Barry Finn 26 Jan 00 - 10:52 PM
MK 26 Jan 00 - 11:26 PM
Rick Fielding 26 Jan 00 - 11:34 PM
Mbo 26 Jan 00 - 11:40 PM
Mbo 26 Jan 00 - 11:44 PM
Caitrin 27 Jan 00 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Mbo 27 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM
Easy Rider 27 Jan 00 - 10:29 AM
Caitrin 27 Jan 00 - 10:43 AM
Terry Allan Hall 27 Jan 00 - 10:47 AM
Guy Wolff 27 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Jan 00 - 01:16 PM
MK 27 Jan 00 - 02:05 PM
The Shambles 27 Jan 00 - 02:17 PM
Amos 27 Jan 00 - 02:27 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 27 Jan 00 - 02:39 PM
Amos 27 Jan 00 - 02:50 PM
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Subject: Blues vs Rap
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 09:30 AM

I am going to generalise wildly here, for the purpose of discussion. Why is it that those who love 'The Blues' hate 'Rap' and why do those that love 'Rap' hate 'The Blues'?

It seems strange, as I think the root of the cultural reasons for both forms is partly away of signalling, an alienation from one culture and to reinforce an alternative one. I can understand that but the musical content of one, I find a delight and the musical content of the other I find leaves me cold. I don't understand that?

In a strictly musical sense 'Rap' may be limited and repetitive but I have heard that criticism levelled at 'The Blues' too. The subject matter of many blues songs too, would not be described as Politically Correct either.

Could it be that the origins of one are entirely urban, is there such a thing as rural 'Rap'? The other moved in to the urban areas but had most of its origins in a rural (folk) setting? I have deduced that a lot of the Mudcat's contributors, whilst liking 'The Blues' do not like 'Rap' (even to the extent of introducing a C, to the word), could this be part of the reason?

Will 'Rap' ever find the wide acceptance that 'The Blues' eventually did?

I have tended to concentrate on the first part of the question; I would also welcome views on the latter as I am less sure of that part. Maybe, do not like, would be better than hate?


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 09:52 AM

A few generalities...not to be taken as "gospel"...

Blues is the music of the working man. It has many names...For instance, if it's sung by white folks, it's "country" music (as opposed to the homogenized pablum on the "country" stations...think instead Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Merle Haggard, Jimmie Rodgers, etc...as opposed to Garth Brookes, The (new) Dixie Chicks, etc.) If it's sung by a black person, it's just called "blues". I've heard it many times referred to as "the song of a good man feelin' down." Blues usually uplifts the soul.

Rap is the non-music of the criminal class. It has no melody, and rarely, if ever, uplifts the soul...instead it celebrates the mistreatment/destruction of women, children and common decency. Defenders of rap contend that it represents (thru music) the future all blacks must face...Fortunately, intelligent people (of all skin hues) realize that it is simply filth aimed at the lowest mentality, courtesy of the record companies' thoughtful exploitation of the "oppressed".


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 10:09 AM

so you don't much care for rap then, Terry???


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 10:15 AM

I avoid filth in all forms. When I muck out stalls, I wear rubber boots, too.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 10:25 AM

I started a thread a few months ago about urban black music, and was amazed at how passionate it got. I won't "blue clicky" it here because I think most Catters enjoy the "current debates" rather than looking at what people had to say about an issue "back when".

Glad you started this Shambles. There will probably be some heartfelt and impassioned writing, and to me, that's where Mudcat really shines.

As to your query about whether rap will enjoy the widespread acceptance that blues has? It most definitely already has! Millions of folks, urban and even some rural, have embraced it as "their music". Now whether it will become safe enough to be imported into white mainstream culture? Don't know. We've certainly had no problems lifting what we want from other cultures, while dismissing the rest of that culture. I'm a prime offender, as I love playing and singing blues, and prefer foreign foods. It's just the way of the world.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Jon W.
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:14 AM

I have to generally agree with Terry, and with Rick regarding the acceptance factor. However, when I have heard rap (I don't listen to it on purpose) I feel as though the performers would just as soon see me dead. There are some exceptions I suppose, though I think that most of them have made their names in other endeavors (acting or sports, for example)and aren't serious rappers. A lot of white teenagers, including a couple of my daughters, seem to enjoy it.

Blues to me is mostly uplifting because it almost always has a sense of humor. I can detect very little or no humor in rap, just anger.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,CASEY @50
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:35 AM

The problem is not the music----IT'S THE CONTENT.

Casey


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Caitrin
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM

Rap can't really be characterized as just one form. The stuff Terry is talking about is "gangsta" rap. Yes, it's terrible stuff. There are a lot of other kinds of rap, though. Some, for instance, are just pop. Will Smith, for instance, is just silly. There are also those that have a very legitimate message and convey it well. Some of Erykah Badu's music is rap, and it is a celebration of her culture and womanhood. Coolio's "Gangsta' Paradise" was an expression of the despair lots of young blacks feel without suggesting that people kill each other. Not all rap is Tupac.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 12:51 PM

To be a fair man, I went to the trouble of putting a C-90 cassette in my stereo, turning to the local rap station, recording & listening to an hour and a half of this "music", I've found:

references of violence to women, including rape-glorification...71 instances

"popping a cap" (murder by hand-gun)...43 instances

drive-by-shooting as a sporting event...34 instances

selling dope to children...33 instances

complaining that "whitey" hates "brothers", and keeps same in the ghetto...45 instances

anything of a "positive" nature (hard work'll make you a success, love your fellow man, be kind to people, respect the elderly, etc.)...0 instances

BTW, according to their ads, this station DOES NOT play "gangsta" rap...this is the "mainstream" stuff.

I believe I'll stick with Leadbelly, B.B. King, Tracy Chapman, George Benson, Jimi Hendrix, Lowell Fulson, and the many other great black musicians who've made a cultural contribution to our world...life is too short to waste on filth.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 01:17 PM

Interesting observations, although I wouldn't necessarily agree with all of them. First off, I love blues and I can tolerate rap - at times I can say I like some of it. The "groove" rap gets into occasionally can have an entrancing effect. Although I don't enthusiastically embrace it, I appreciate the fact that rap is its own genre, an outgrowth of seemingly random elements that combined in just the right way to produce something different. I also think there are creative and unique (abeit repetitive) uses of sound being employed in rap music (this coming from someone who can broadly define music to include the sounds a trash compacter makes).

Mostly, though, I listen to rap for social and ccultural perspective - to stay informed by keeping a finger on the pulse of popular trend. In that respect, Shambles, maybe you hit upon the reason for the disparity you observe: that blues has roots in a rural/agricultural setting, while rap seems to be primarily an urban phenomenon. Another reason may be an insular lack of exposure to a variety of influences. If I had not had an uncle who had taken enough interest in my budding musical tastes to expose me at an impressionable age to the music of Jimmy Reed, Mozart, Bobby Bare, Dylan, Frank Zappa, Coltrane, and The Doors (sometimes all in one sitting), I may not have had the liberal perspective on what constitutes music - and what has musical value - that I have now.

As to general acceptance...hmmmm. There are a lot of kids, regardless of race, color, creed, etc. who seem to be enthralled with rap. When they eventually become gainfully employed, independent, and firmly ensconsed in the middle class as upstanding citizens of the community, they will bring their musical memories with them. I did. Rock 'n' Roll was once reviled by parents as being "evil." The children who grew up with it are now parents themselves, and as they matured, rock matured and gained a modicum of respectability. If some popular rappers can continue to make music when they are sixty years old, rap may well gain a standard of respectability (or at least acceptance)itself.

Is rap popular because its (mature) listeners identify with it - hearing echoes and seeing reflections of their own experiences - or does rap's message function as a "standard" against which people try to gauge their lives? Media analysts constantly try to determine whether the stuff being churned out influences consumer choices, or if consumer choices influence the stuff to be churned out. As it is with most things, the two are probably not mutually exclusive: the choices made are the result of a complicated interaction (that thankfully/hopefully will never be fully understood) between the consumer and the thing consumed.

In any event, rap has been absorbed into the corporate fold, homogenized and diluted for mass consumption, and any substantial value or influence it had as a catalyst for political change or revolution has been relegated to the role of serving as a marketing vehicle for selling the latest fashionwear and beverage product. The powers that be learned forty-odd years ago that the best way to diffuse a socio-cultural revolution was to sell it for profit. Usurp its symbolic images and manufacture them for mass consumption. When everybody's wearing beads and bells, it's hard to maintain the "us versus them" lines of demarcation.

Neil Lowe (with reference to Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media)


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 02:10 PM

Here's the thing for me. The blues celebrates the soul up against adversity; with most blues you get a sense that despite despair, the voice is one of perseverance, finding humor in adversity, and forging on; even the most depressed blues lines (jump in the river an drown) seem to reflect a committment not to do so -- to make something out of despair.

Rap, on the other hand is purely adversarial, resorts to the vernacular of hatred instead of humor, of sexism instead of sexuality, and (from the samples I have heard, which are not inclusive) seem to reflect a committment to make nothing out of things, others, and life in general. Rap tends to trash life, where the blues elevates it to something worth singing about even in its low times.

Compare:

Bessie Smith (singing): You been a goood ol' wagon, daddy, but you done broke down.

IceBerg (or whoever) (yellin): Git DOWN bitch!! Yo' f##ckin git muckin' sh@@t HO!! Damn!

See what I mean?

A.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Skipjack K8
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 02:16 PM

I'll come clean and admit to having 'Rappers Delight' by the Sugarhill Gang in my collection. I think it was about 1979/80 or so, and I still think it's a good record.

It was the first instance of rap that I heard, and I liked it. It features, however, spoken words over a melody. The next example I bought was 'Wordy RappingHood' by a spin of group of Talking Heads. Again, very witty words spoken over a strong beat melody. It still sounds good.

But then rap got hijacked by disaffected (understandably) black youth, and was, as said above, pimped by the record companies.

Blues were blues, and still are. Rap ain't traditional (Ha) rap no mo'....... and they can shove it!


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,Graeme Currie
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 02:30 PM

I want to complain about ignorant racism such as Terry Alan Hall's. Briefly, rap is talking over beats and sounds. It has its roots in dub toasting if I can rely on pop music history books, like Subcultures by Dick Hebdige, and the general knowledge of my once teenage self. The content is the expression of the individual artist, the tradition, community and of course commercial considerations come inot it. I find Hip Hop music to be some of the most exciting and musically interesting that there is. I find masses of energy and creativity there as well as social and political awareness. It makes me dance and simultaneously informs me about black people's struggles. I call that good. I don't know what Mr Hall got hold of but I recommend he check out (off the top of my head, I'm no expert or big fan or anything, just a Scottish boy) Boogie Down Productions - for example the tracks Stop the Violence, Illegal Business - and A Tribe Called Quest. Has he never heard of Lauryn Hill either? My God there are German 'girl' bands who rap (Tic Tac Toe anyone.) But even to dismiss the stuff that is about guns and rape and drugs is to turn a heartless unchristian eye to the sufferring of our fellow human beings by denying the reality of the present situation. Mr Hall how many of your friends have been shot? How many take drugs? How many are in gangs? If they were, if you and they had been born into that kind of an environment how positive do you think you would all be? What kind of music would you have been listening to as a child and a teenager? If you want to improve the world you should try to empty your heart of some of that hatred. Let love in. Perhaps you should reconsider your blanket condemnation of rap on the basis of these points.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 02:32 PM

I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady, you know I caught her messin' with another man. -Jimi Hendrix.

Terry Allan, I'm a blues fan, but just listening to my collection for an hour and a half would probably result in the same statistics, other than drive by shootings which is a new rage. And no, I don't listen to strange Blues artists, but the lyrics of such greats as Mississippi John Hurt (Frankie), Robert Johnson (32-20 Blues) Howlin' Wolf (Fourty-Four), Muddy Waters (Walkin in the park) and many, many more depict an acceptance of violence in the culture of the performer. I'm a non violent person, but I love the music, not the message. I disagree with the inherant violence in rap, but if I liked the music I would listen to it as well. My standards are high enough that Ice T or Missippi John Hurt or Willie Nelson singing about killing someone is not going to make me want to do it.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 03:14 PM

Blues so often expresses the emotions of "losing". Rap often says that "winning" is possible. I guess if the reality of your world is gang-war, conflict, crack and prison,...then killing, rather than being killed, is a form of "winning". The music ain't pretty, and it ain't positive, but it's damn relevant. Obviously more relevant to young blacks than their mothers' and grandmothers' "Jesus" songs.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Caitrin
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 03:17 PM

There are probably as many violent folk songs as there are rap (if not more, just by virtue of being around longer). For instance, check out the "Songs of Vengeance" thread.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 03:25 PM

Indeed, violence is the theme of folkmusic going back to Beowulf. And rap as a _form_ certainly qualifies. On the other hand it is one thing to mourn violence, another to craft lessons from it (Tell Ol' Bill, when he comes home, to let them downtown wimmin alone) and something else altogether to glorify it. The only folk song I can think of that does the latter is the Rangers Fight Song, which incites the worst kind of brutality against enemies. But they are a rare exception, where in Rap they seem to be getting more and more the rule.

As for the "hard streets" argument, diarrhea is real, too, but I don't think I'll sing about it. (Not an original line, I'm sorry to say).


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM

Although not a great lover of negro spirituals, gospel music or jazz, I do love the blues; and some spiritual, gospel and jazz music is very good listening. Certain pieces stay with me as inspirational and memorable music. I am sorry to say that to me Rap is not music, more like rhythmic poetry. I can see that mind numbing anapaestic poetry may be enjoyed by some people; but have found the vast majority of Rap poems I have heard are neither inspirational or memorable. They are in fact generally considered a noisy nuisance by most people; and when played loudly, the reason I have been driven out of music shops and stores without making a purchase.. Yours,(the ancient music critic) Aye.Dave


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: MK
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 04:14 PM

Well RAP is a real sore spot for me, and I will admit to be highly opinionated and biased against it......so take my opinion with a grain of salt...but I feel compelled to express it here.

I have personally never considered RAP a valid musical form. I have no respect for anyone who can recite ''nursery rhymes'' on a sub-cultural level to a drum track, with a little bit of bass, and scratchy bullshit added in as coloring, nor do I have any respect for those who really enjoy this kind of music and have it booming and blasting out of their cars --and I use the term MUSIC very very loosely.

There is no comparison of RAP and Blues. They are two entirely separate entities as far as I am concerned. I do consider Blues a very valid musical form, and one that has spawned many offshoots and influenced countless musicians and composers.

To me RAP, is the ''crack cocaine'' of music. More often than not, RAP tunes perpetrate and glorify violence, cop killing, wife beating, racism, sexism......and don't even get me started on the whole ''Gangsta Rap'' thing.

I must confess that I crack a devious little smile on my face, whenever I hear that a Rapper has been blown away...or the head of a Rap label has been arrested on gun, drug or murder charges. It just reinforces everything I feel about Rap. This ''music'' is absolute garbage, and belongs where it originated --in the gutter.

Rap insults my intelligence.

Others may agree. Others may vehemently disagree. To each his own.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WRAP IT UP (Gino Lupari)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 05:24 PM

Get hold of Four Men and a Dog's CD Narking Mad, and listen to Gino Lupari's Wrap it Up

You get horrible racist sexist cliched country music, and you get stuff that makes you weep, it's so good and true.And you get stuff that is in between.

You could say the same kind of thing about any type of music. There was probably some great music in some of those Nazi beer halls.

Here's some of Gino's Lupari's rap:

Now listen you people
better take this down,
I'm the Bodhran player
and I'm back in town.
It's me lays down the rhythm
for the diddley I de dee.
Ain't no Flashy Fiddlers any good without me.
I can do it on the Bodhran,
I can do it on the Bones.
I don't need no fancy drum kit
like the Rolling Stones.
I'm a raker, I'm a shaker, I can make that white top hum,
I'm the man who puts the Iddery in the skiddery I de dum.
Just set up the liquor, make sure there's enough
Then clear the decks for action,
let me strut my stuff.

Hear me talking,
Let's go walking.

Now the fiddle's fine and dandy,
it's the voice of Irish folk,
and if you've got abanjo handy,
he can make the music smoke,
Throw in thye melodeon, you've gotta have a box -
and you'ver the making of a session,
but it isn't one that rocks
till the goat skin hero hits it with his little rhythm stick.
I'm the man supplies the heartbeat
I'm the dude that makes it tick.

He's the diddley dee director
He's the dude that makes it tick.


And that is the first half of it half of it - but you need to hear it. And watch Ireland's Pavarotti lookalike when he does it.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 05:27 PM

That's Barking Mad! No matter how many time I proofread, they slip through


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 05:32 PM

Gee, the things you learn on Mudcat! I never knew there was such a thing as Paddyrap! Or would you call it (shudder) McRap?? And why is it the Celtic overlays suddenly make the whole thing seem brighter and less destruction-bent? The grandiose swagger is a great tradition in folkways (I'm Mike Fink, half 'gator and half snapping turtle...) but it stands in sharp contrast to the mindless nihilism of gangsta-style rap. It's a great ability to run off inspired couplets standing up. But I can't hold with any use of an "art" form dedicated to sheer destruction and nullification. Where's the use of it?

As for Nazi beerhalls, I think "Lili Marlene" is one of the purest tunes ever written.

A


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,marcelloblues
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:10 PM

Rap in a great movie. Last saturday I went to see Ghost Dog (The way of the samurai), by Jim Jarmush, with the greater Forrest Whitaker. That's incredible, old mafia men in and around Jersey City (so I was told), overtalking the radio in the bathroom while dressing up, washing theet and other ridicolous stuff. Still laughing. Cheerz


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Caitrin
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM

I don't think it's fair to chalk up all rap songs as violent and degrading. Yeah, a lot of popular rap is violent. Some is just junk. That doesn't make all of it so. Some of it is genuinely poetic and musical. Before you write all rap off as worthless, listen to Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. I'm not much of a rap listener, so I can't come up with any others off the top of my head. I think those two women show that rap can be real music, despite the trash that gets put out by some rappers.

And in the Paddyrap arena, my personal favorite is Joe Dolan's "Jerusalem Rap".


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:39 PM

Whatever MacLuhan thought, the medium isn't the same thing as the message.

The medium - rap, folk, country, print, pictures - can be used to carry a whole range of messages, a whole range of contradictory meanings. If you hear a medium used for messages you hate, you can be trapped into thinkingf that's the only message it can carry.

So you get religions and cultures where pictures are seen as evil, or where fiddles are seen as the devils own music. You get stories about Robert Johnson having to sell his soul to the devil in order to becomes a bluesman.

That's the way some people see rap, and it's easy to see why - most of the rap I've heard seems to be loaded with attitudes and assumptions that I hate, both in the words and the way the backings are done. (And I can undersatnd why that is - a combination of people being damaged by circumstances and trying to survive in desperate and disatrous ways, together with moneygrabbers exploiting them ruthlessly.)

But it needn't be done that way, and it needn't be carrying this kinds of messages.

That's why I posted the Four Men and a Dog rap, just to show that the medium can be used differently. And I'm sure that a lot of the time it is being done differently and better, in ghettoes and in slums - but we never get to hear that. And if we did hear it, we likely wouldn't recognise it, because we've learned to shut our ears against the bad stuff.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,Terapln
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:56 PM

I'm gonna have to speak out about calling Terry Allen Hall a racist. Thats a bunch or crap (there's that word again huh Terry) I can see nothing in his postings that indicate anything like that. If this discussion was on skinhead "music" or death metal I'm sure he'd have a similar negative position. He's going purely on contents. Saying something negative about a person and their activities DOES NOT make one a racist. Except perhaps in the eyes of the narrow minded.

Now, to the question, Blues Vs Rap. One is The Music that stirs my soul and makes me want to play guitar and sing, one is gibberish ryming spoken over an irritating boomy beat while old LP's are ruined in the background.

Of course, this is all just my opinion.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: grgptrsn
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 07:42 PM

this being my first contribution as a member of the Mudcat, i want to be perfectly honest: i get serious enjoyment out of all kinds of music, including both the blues and rap (to be technical, 'rapping' is what the vocalist does, 'hip hop' is the music.) i love Blind Willie McTell, and i also love De La Soul. there was a time when i couldn't stand either kind of music, but i've discovered since then that blues and rap, like other truly worthwhile interests, are acquired tastes.

there are not many things that get on my nerves, but intolerance is one of them. the fact that so many people here can totally dismiss a genre of music w/ having only a simple understanding that's not even shallow. of course there's a lot of bad rap music being made, but there's a lot of bad folk music, too. the kind of rap music that Terry Alan Hall has referenced above is certainly not something i would ever purchase or listen to intentionally. but please believe that there is more out there that you're not familiar w/ yet, music that might be to your liking.

i could go on about this, but i'd like to be relatively brief. before finishing, though, i'd like to point out that i sense a lot of anger coming from those people who accuse rap music of being only anger-oriented.

- greg


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: grgptrsn
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 07:46 PM

my apologies... the above sentence fragment should have read:

the fact that so many people here can totally dismiss a genre of music w/ having only a simple understanding that's not even shallow is saddening to me.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:00 PM

Well, forgive me for shooting off my mouth. It may just be a sad coincidence that the "rap" medium, which draws on talents as old as Homer, has become the milieu for artists who want to give voice to a hateful or violent message. I have no objection to the basic medium; I think it would be kinda dumb to condemn a medium (especially if she were a happy medium).

But as to _content_, well, there just isn't room in my end of the universe for acting out venom, or filling the ears of other humans with what amounts to emotional toxins. Doesn't matter much to me if it is metal or rap of any other brand of chaos mongering, it's just not my lil baggy. Sorry if this offends.

Amos


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Mark Clark
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:05 PM

"I'm goin' back to Black Mountain, me and my razor and gun, Gonna cut her if she stands, shoot her if she run."

I agree that the blues is no stranger to violence. What I am curious about is why we are comparing blues and rap? Is it because both forms originated with the African community? That seems pretty lame. Why would we assume that they are somehow related? I think rap is more analagous to what we call the talking blues. Most of the talking blues I know are highly political and talk about doing some form of violence to someone. The rap beat is very compelling and it's easy to put talking blues lyrics to much of it. Try that at home and see what you think.

Sure, as a middle class white boy, I don't listen to a lot of rap although I'm beginning to think I should start paying attention. There's a message in there and if it didn't have appeal, there'd be no market.

Ever since the music industry threw off its training wheels, nearly all the music our culture has heard has been that for which there is a market. You can find other music but not on the level of widespread national distribution. If the message of violence and rage finds a larger market in some communities than that of peace and love, perhaps the message of peace and love holds no kernel of truth for fans of rap. If that is true, we're much worse off than we thought.

All the music we love best grew out of some social situation or another. If rap also grew out of a social situation, we'd better be listening, not turning a deaf ear. Perhaps we should be writing folk raps with a different message and see where they go.

Just a thought,

- Mark


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,ddw
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:55 PM

I can't say I'm much of a fan of rap, but it has occurred to me that it might be a spinoff from the old talking blues, which is a form that's been around for a long time.

As for the content, I agree with some of the posts above — the blues seemed to have an element of hope, of coping with adversity, but rap seems to be more about creating adversity. Maybe the kind of lashing out it advocates is a way of coping, but it's a short-sighted way at best. If urban blacks really started to do what the rappers urge, I think they would find themselves the victims of "ethnic cleansing" that would make Kosovo and Somalia seem like a stroll in the park. Racism against blacks is bad enough, but open black racism toward whites just compounds the situation.

As for the music that accompanies rap lyrics, I find it repetative, mechanical and annoying in the extreme. It seems almost devoid of any human content — unless you can find the human content in monotone disco with overlays of the above-mentioned trash compactor.

Still, if people want to listen to the stuff, that's their right. But their rights end where my ears begin, so they can darned well TURN IT DOWN.

cheers y'all

david


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: grgptrsn
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 09:48 PM

blues (10s, 20s, 30s) --> 'rhythm & blues' (40s, 50s) --> funk (60s, 70s) --> hip-hop/rap (70s, 80s, 90s)

this is a huge oversimplification, but am i the only one this makes sense to? instead of talking about blues and rap as opposites, perhaps rap should be looked at as being a descendent of the blues. i'm certainly not the first one to suggest this; so why does it seem like such a difficult idea to some Mudcats?

as for the notion that Blues = hope, Rap = despair & destruction, i'm reminded of a line from A Tribe Called Quest: "get in the zone of positivity, not negativity, 'cause we got to strive for longevity." and there's more where that comes from.

- greg


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: ddw
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 10:10 PM

Greg,

I think I understand what you're saying, but I think you're making a mistake to think it's a linear progression from blues to rap. First, because the blues and the interim steps all survived through the whole time line and stand beside all the others, not as replacements for them.

Secondly — tho' you have obviously listened to more rap than I have — I think there was a qualitative leap into rap; it hardly qualifies as music (i.e. something produced by musicians who actually play instruments) since it relies so heavily on electronics. I criticize disco for the same reason — it's just electronicly-generated noise.

Third, the musical forms you list leading up to rap all had a range of emotion in them — joy, playfulness, sadness, pain, etc. — that seems to be lacking in the rap I've heard. Maybe I'm just not attuned to it if it's there, but I find what rap I've heard banal in the extreme.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 10:52 PM

The "Last Poets" were the grandfathers of rap, they've been gone now 25 years & they were great. They had the medium & the message down pat. It's to bad what had to follow. Barry


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: MK
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:26 PM

.....Perhaps RAP is the ebonic version of the word ....crap.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:34 PM

Mike, that is ure ull hit!

By the way, you played REALLY well tonight. Especially your flat-picked leads.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Mbo
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:40 PM

Uh-oh...the famous debate! McGrath, I love "Wrap It Up"! That song absolutely rules! And Gino...Italian & Irish--what could be better? Personally, I'm not much into rap. I don't know why. Some rap is good, like "Rapper's Paradise" mentioned above is a classic, thought I heard it only twice. Will Smith's stuff is pretty funny--he's got a positive take of rap--"For ladies always pull out chairs, go easy on the swears" that's more like it. I'm going to duck flying projectiles now, but I liked the song "Wild Wild West." I also kinda liked "Hard Knock Life" by Jay-Z. The lyrics were pretty much obscenity-laden, but the bouncy beat and sampling of the song from "Annie" made it fun. I once heard a very cool thing on the radio back during Hurricane Floyd. A Rap love song from the early eighties! Folks need to bring that stuff back!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Mbo
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 11:44 PM

Oooh, forgot to mention Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" is a classic! I think even folkies would like it. Hey, he plays a classical guitar in the video--alright with me! And a neat string section to boot! Caitrin, you mean Joe Dolan made a Rap version of "Trip To Jerusalem"? I love that song: "Danced throught the streets of Elat town, sang Sean South of Garryowen." Classic! I've been thinkin' of doing a rap version of "The Spree." It really works! Try it!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Caitrin
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 09:59 AM

Actually, Mbo, Seven Nations did the rap version. I have to admit to having never heard the original version. *ducks to avoid flying objects aimed at her head* : )


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: GUEST,Mbo
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:22 AM

Who exactly are these Seven Nations fellows? I've never heard of them..except from you, of course. And does their name have any connection the Native America? From your descriptions, they sound a bit like Wolfstone, who I love! Let them sing!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Easy Rider
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:29 AM

I make no excuses for modern Rap in the following. I hate the stuff!

We should remember, though, that "Rap" is not a new phenomenon. It goes way back. There is a Yazoo CD, titled "The Roots of Rap", that you should all listen to. It consists of recordings of "Rap" songs from the 1920s. Bob Dylan wrote a couple of "Rap" songs too. "Standing on the pavement, thinking 'bout the guv'nment. Don't think, kid. It's something you did...". Violence has always been part of our culture, and it has always been expressed in our music. The difference is only in the details.

It has been said that Rap is the Blues of today's urban youth, just the way Country Blues was the music of the rural youth of the 1920s and 30s. The question is one, I think, of relevance. The Blues, a Black music genre, has not been popular with Black people for the last 60 years. It's us old White Folkies who are its audience now. Blacks moved on to Jazz, Electric Blues (Chicago), R&B, Motown, ... Rap, long ago. The White audience has always been a step behind.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Caitrin
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:43 AM

The black kids I know that have a real appreciation for music do listen to the blues, as do the white kids. The blues aren't really a "pop" form anymore for any race.

And I don't think the white audience is always a step behind...just generally in a different step. The people who are progressive and doing something new generally aren't popular at first. Ani diFranco, Donna the Buffalo, They Might Be Giants, and Moxy Fruvous are all making new kinds of music...it's just that most people haven't noticed yet.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Terry Allan Hall
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:47 AM

Well, well...by reporting (in a non-biased way) what the local "non-gangsta" Rap Station plays in a given 90 minute segment of the day, I've apparently convinced someone that I'm a racist.

Being a proud, card-carrying member of the Cherokee Nation (BTW, we're the only US minority who have to carry documentation to prove who and what we are!), I'd like to point out that we've always inter-married w/ both whites and blacks (and my cousin Jimmy-Don's wife is Hawaiian, if that's relevent!), and therefore I'd like to respectfully point out that (A) I'm NOT a racist, and (B) anyone who thinks I am a racist is cordially invited to go commit a biologically unlikely act upon themselves.

Still, just to make fair, I went over to my 89 y.o. great-aunt Jesse's house to check with her (I go by at least every other day to see if she needs anything)...see, she's about as dark-complected as it's possible to be...likely because her grand-dad was a former slave... so that would likely qualify her in this matter...she suggested the scotsman go back to "servicing" his sheep.

I did explain to her that that would be a "racist" thing to say...She was quite amused by the thought, but asked me to point out to all concerned that scotsmen/women were not a race, but a condition. Make of that what ya will.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 11:43 AM

Hello all, I think rap is doing the job it was after.. It's not there to make anyone comfortable and I for one will pass it by very quickly but everytime I hear it I thank god I don't live in the neighberhood where those stories come from.They sure arent asking my permition to talk about whats up with them.. We can feel safe and conected with our relationships with blues for a ton off reasons."I feel bad" "I'm so low" We as an adience we are SAFE<><<><> We are not sopossed to feel anything like beening safe when we hear rap..They are comming, thats the message..It's time to fix something or get hurt!! Blues has taught me so much about getting on with stuff in a bad situation.It's personaly helped me .Rap tells me it"s time to do something before it's to late..Thats not alot of fun... My best regards to all here Guy Wolff


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 01:16 PM

I always surprised at the venom that some people let out when they talk about music that they don't like, but even fairly reasonable people do get carried in the heat of discussion,and I try to remember that--I think this comment from Michael K goes well beyond the pale for me:

"I must confess that I crack a devious little smile on my face, whenever I hear that a Rapper has been blown away..."


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: MK
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 02:05 PM

Well I respect your opinion M.Ted, and I did mention this particular subject (RAP) is a particular sore spot with me, at the onset of my message.

Perhaps the remark you quoted, was a bit extreme or should not have been expressed in print (and perhaps a poor analogy to express how much I truly loathe this music?)...but I got carried away in the passion of the moment writing my comments. Usually I'm much more subdued.

...But, I'll bet there are many other Mucatter's who agree with me as far as my passionate aversion to RAP, who can't be bothered posting, or who would do so anonymously. In any event, to each his own...and you and I can agree to disagree.


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 02:17 PM

Your post prompted this Gino Lupari story. I was in the big city for a day and on the way home, went to see him playing at the Swan, in Stockwell on a Wednesday night. All night he had one eye on the TV as Manchester United where playing Juventus. The main part of the audience, which was not vast was composed of a party of Italians, who I suspect had come in to see this 'tenor' from their own country perform, or should that be 'tonner'? They were a little confused at the type of music that was being played but stayed, I think mainly to watch Juventus. The look on their faces when Man Utd scored twice, won the game and their fellow countryman, Gino punched the air did a little jig of joy, was a delight. It reminded me of the 'hippos' dancing in tutus, in Fantasia.

Is the fact that blues is now accepted, as is jazz and rock and roll, by all cultures, the reason why it is not as popular as rap, with the younger element of black culture? Is it the same in places like Chicago? Is the blues now dead?


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 02:27 PM

Blues dead??? Like, man, not!! Like, so totally NOT!!
As if!! I mean, that is so unTRUE!!! Totally!!

Amosina


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 02:39 PM

Michael,

I didn't actually express any opionion on Rap music--just to clarify, I didn't post because I wanted argue any kind of point about any kind of music--

My reaction was entirely to the idea that someone would express pleasure at the brutal murder of another human being, and only because they didn't happen to like the music that they entertainer performed--

As a performer and an entertainer, in a community that includes many performers and entertainers, I would have thought that you would have had a little more feeling for fellow performers--

As to what you like or don't like, that is strictly up to you, and as far as I am concerned, there is no need for us to either agree or disagree--

I do appreciate your comments, and they do help me to understand that your original remark was more figurative than it seemed--


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Subject: RE: Blues vs Rap
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 02:50 PM

If someone--regardless of gender, race, religion, income level or handedness--who promotes violence inherits violence, why is it very few people are surprised? Inheriting the wind is a known risk you take according to all the wisdom on the subject. So seeing karma work has a certain balance to it; that does not mean anyone should enjoy watching bad karma, but it does have a certain internal aesthetic; a lot more so that something excruciating like the Colorado school massacre.

A.


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