Is Rap a valid musical form?


This has been way more than the progression away from tubes to SS!

Believe the world of Hip Hop has been around and evolving for around 5 decades.

And for most of that time I have dismissed and avoided that world and its “music”.

So angry, offensive and abrasive. Just a bunch of rhythmic yelling.

I believe my former thread was titled “Why Rap?”.  Through that discussion and somewhat of an understanding that this must be a new art form that engages and entertains millions if not billions. That and a long standing belief that if a type of music or a particular artist attracts many, many fans there must be substance and quality there. Even if I personally don’t particularly like it there must be something there.

Rap and the Hip Hop world was always so foreign and culturally untouchable.

Then my Rap thread and several others at that time got me rethinking my perspective and I watched a video of a group of student performance musicians at Juilliard all exclaiming their fascination with a Rap artist named Kendrick Lemar and his “masterpiece” “To Pimp a Butterfly”. I bought the double LP. Trying to listen to it turned out to be difficult because of my old view of Rap and that of the world of Hip Hop. But it was also becoming clear that this was truly something of significant interest. However, I just listened to the two discs only once-with some difficulty.

Today, after several weeks, I hesitatingly pulled the album out again. And to my surprise and actually delight hearing it with fresh ears it grabbed me and would not let go. I immediately heard the brilliance of a multi faceted, and to me, all new experience in sound. Not unlike great 20th century or progressive Jazz it evolved from section to section with a plethora of fascinating, yes musical, experiences. Tonal, atonal, percussive, rhythmic, breathing combined with incredible, energetic tongue twisting strings of mostly unintelligible words. And not merely angry yelling.

Sure, a ton of F bombs but words that don’t flow over you like lovely other genres but invade the psyche and don’t let go. Not particularly pleasant but gripping and interesting in its complexity. Words delivered with such power and drive which acted as a rhythmic counterpoint. It was impossible to turn away or turn off. 
And speaking of turned off, the experience was the opposite of that. Stories of life undeniable human. Yes, driven by bitterness, anger and raw emotion. Impossible to  dismiss it as not deeply felt.

I do think “To Pimp a Butterfly” is unique. But I also believe that there must be much more in this Hip Hop world that has deep musical interest. Some time ago I heard Drake on SNL perform a song that was amazing though not really Rap. Rather an advanced and unconventional musical form. I hear similar musical threads throughout “Pimp”. I did get a CD of Drake. “Scorpion”. I also could not absorb it in my first listen. I look forward to the next, fresh listen. I did try to hear several YouTubes of some very successful Rap artists. They mostly lacked the interesting musical themes threaded through. “Pure Rap” with just the rhythmic words-not my cup of tea. But a musically valid form none the less.

 

 

mglik

Meanwhile, in some alternate universe, a thread is made asking if classical is a valid form of music.

@whipsaw:

"It's grossly inaccurate to suggest that Rap incorporates rhythm alone. Anyone who asserts that hasn't the slightest idea what they are talking about.

It is true only of some Rap"

You are entirely justified in calling me on my ignorance-- it's always a mistake to try to validate one's subjective tastes via objective arguments.

As a long time fan of other African-American music genres, it's weird to feel as I do about Rap but the Rap I have heard has not elicited any desire to hear more. We each have our esthetic inclinations-- I don't like Big Band, New Country, Hair Metal, or most Pop, either. 

 

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Rap stopped being valid for me when I heard Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz steal (sorry, I mean sample) the bass line from Steely Dan's "Black Cow".

C'mon, it's only 6 notes - you couldn't have come up with something on your own?

I think most rap is noise flavored with trendy vulgarities.  

But this is America and everyone has the right to listen to whatever they want so long as they don't make me listen to it. 

Exactly.

It certainly can't be considered musical by any stretch of the imagination and listening to it with headphones should be compulsory.

As it is there's enough noise pollution without adding more