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.




@asvjerry, your posts are enlightening. Glad I could be of some amusement ;-)

@52356, John Gage 4’33 and your post is priceless. Lol! Also, the Bob Dylan that you referred to earlier and the flashcard idea, I couldn’t help but remember INXS and their Mediate music video.

Music to unite, never to divide

@jssmith and @mglik I’m really glad you both gave those songs a listen, even though you didn’t like them very much.

What would be five songs you each would recommend? Things you like but might be off the beaten path - would be great to learn about something I haven’t heard before

I actually agree with a fair amount of what you said in response to those songs (and appreciate the objective content of your comments) - which is why taste is so interesting. Some of those qualities you dislike wind up being things I particularly like in rap (agreed - they aren’t conventionally “musical” & nothing distinctive about the instrumentation/performance - I mostly thought about them as being somehow “accessible”)

(One of my favorite genres for musicianship is southern rock. Holy fxck, those guys could shred. I listen because I love the songs, but it’s a genre where sheer technical mastery and technique are so elemental to its form)

For whatever reason, the closer rap gets to a voice, lyrics, delivery and a beat, the more I respond to it, on balance - maybe it’s the “purity” of what the artist is doing, and listening to how they play with rhythm, rhyme, pacing - vocalizing with/against/without regard to the beat in amazing ways. It’s why I like “Warning” by Biggie so much — those last two minutes are nothing but his voice, two minutes straight

And seriously, would be great to get some recommendations!

Glad this thread has (mostly) turned into a good discussion about music and ideas

Have a great day, everyone


@mrskeptic - Three Feet High n’ Rising is a really special album. They were doing something really different and special. I remember “I be blowin’” as my introduction to Maceo Parker, and a beautiful rabbit hole of exploration

@52356 the John Cage reference is really funny


...rap songs about retired (pensioners) protecting pole dancers… 

...Now, there's a market segment ripe for 'fulfillment'....;) *L*

Monday and it's still quiet out there.....I suspect there's a lot of us snowed into their homes today in AVL environs....spank the alarm, roll over, and drift back into Dreamland...*S*  Impromptu 3 day weekends are rare enough...

@dabel  Glad to be of some version of 'consciousness distortion', and thanks for being the 'straight man' of a off-center poke at everymans' fav toy....;)

"Not detachable, but goes off enough to keep a smile." *G*

*sigh*  I guess I ought to be fractionally productive today, and actually -work- *shudder*

Oh, btw...apologies to rixthetrick and ricmech for confusing both...ric made a comment that I attribed to rix......but I'll be a snot and let you both figure out what i'm alluding to....but, no great shake of the earth involved....

Chalk up to MID.....'Multiple Identity Disease'...the only cure for it is pretty final....

Have a grate day, J