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.




Y’all should watch the blue note doc “beyond the notes” it’s absurd and downright ignorant to say rap is not music. Dear lord.  

How one feels about rap/hip hop is a matter of TASTE! If you think White Zinfandel sucks and tastes like crap it INVALID as wine? If it's not wine, what is it? Like it or don't. But don't question it's validity.

It is beyond the pale to imply, or say, that it isn't valid as music. I think AL poetry should rhyme, but I'd never call a non-rhyming poem invalid. Who am I (or you) to say otherwise. 

I think avant-garde jazz is as unlistenable. Still valid. Who am I to say otherwise? 

This is a huge, ugly, cultural blindspot to question the validity of any creative endeavor simply because you don't like it. You don't know hip hop well enough to judge it's validity if you honestly think it lack melody. Dig a little deeper. READ ALONG WITH THE LYRICS AS THEY GO. It downright literary. Major major blindspot. 

@mglik  - thanks for taking a listen, glad you saw something in the songs, even if not your cup of tea

@krimsonhead  - thanks! I will give it a listen and let you know what I think

@mglik   - btw, what are some things you’d have people listen to that might be new to them? ( @simonmoon - would be great to know the same from you. An interesting side discussion based on your thoughts would be “great singers with ok voices”, of which I think there are a lot of examples - but maybe not in genres you like)

@brandonhall +1. 

Have a great day, everyone

Nas "One Mic". Public Enemy "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" Outkast "Rosa Parks", Eric B and Rakim "Don't Sweat The Technique", Gang Starr "Take It Personal", Eminem "White America", Biggie "Everyday Struggle". Tupac "Brenda Got A Baby" And on and on.

They're as lyrically significant as The Times They Are A-changin' or AMY other protest song you've ever heard.



@daledeee1 give a listen to “Jungle Jay” by Olu Dara, the jazz musician (from his album, “In the World”

The vocalist is his son, Nas. May not be your cup of tea, but I think an interesting example of where genres can go, and circle back on their origins. And it’s just about a perfect example of the singular flow of Nas, who toys with rhyme, rhythm and meter and makes it look effortless. Four minutes of your life. Let us know what you think

@bubba_buoy +100

@simonmoon on YouTube, check out Rick Beato’s channel (appreciate it’s widely known). Real musician. He does, among other things, a series called “What makes this song great?” What’s interesting is his analysis of the underlying musical theory in songs written by people who don’t know anything about musical theory, but nevertheless exhibit such in their music. Check out Ep 105, Seal, Kiss from a Rose

And you might like ixi music on YouTube, as well - she’s a real musician with an gift for exegesis who does breakdowns of NIN songs. Check out her breakdown of “March of the Pigs”, or, longer form, “Closer”. The “March of the Pigs” breakdown is great, because to most people that song sounds like a bomb going off - but there is intent behind every note. Trent Reznor is, of course, a trained musician who actively employs theory in his composition. The Closer breakdown is engrossing

I’d love to know what you think! (You may think it’s all nonsense, but I am thinking of the aspects of music you’ve described as interesting to you)