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

@czarivey you made my day then. Gang Starr was Guru and DJ Premier. Agree that Guru’s Jazzmatazz albums were solid throughout. 

It's fascinating to see how your perspective on rap and hip-hop music has evolved over time. "To Pimp a Butterfly" by Kendrick Lamar is indeed a critically acclaimed album that has pushed the boundaries of the genre and is often regarded as a masterpiece. Your description of the album's complexity, the interplay between music and lyrics, and the depth of emotion it conveys is a testament to its artistic significance.

Rap and hip-hop, like any genre of music, encompass a wide range of styles and artists, each with their own unique approach and message. It's great that you're open to exploring more of this genre to discover the depth and diversity it offers. Drake, for example, has been known for blending elements of rap, R&B, and unconventional musical forms in his work, which can be quite innovative.

As you continue to explore rap and hip-hop, you may find artists and albums that resonate with you in different ways. Some artists focus more on storytelling, social commentary, or personal experiences, while others emphasize wordplay, rhythm, and flow. It's a genre that constantly evolves and incorporates elements from various musical traditions, making it a rich and dynamic form of expression.

Your willingness to give it a chance and your recognition of the musical and emotional depth within these works are signs of an open-minded approach to music appreciation. Keep exploring, and you might discover more gems within the world of rap and hip-hop that resonate with you on a profound level. It's a genre that has touched the lives of millions and continues to be a powerful voice for self-expression and cultural commentary.

As long as this zombie thread has been revived 8 months after it's demise, I might as well post again, also.

As my previous posts have made clear, I dislike rap and hip-hop, based purely on what I perceive, musically speaking, as simplistic, lack of instrumental sophistication.

But let me make this clear. From a political point of view, as one of the only outlets African Americans, had to get their word out about how they are mistreated, I support that aspect 100%.

Also, not being knowledgeable, nor a fan of spoken word art forms, I will not judge it from that standpoint.

I would guess lots of us have read the writings and seen the footage of people from the ‘50s referring to rock n’ roll as “not a valid form of music,” “lacking in musical merit,” “lacking deep and broad emotional content,” “obscene, vulgar,” “a byproduct of societal decline,” “a contributing factor to juvenile delinquency,” “something that degrades the moral values of our youth,” etc. etc.

Do you see and hear that stuff and feel a combination of pity and delight at the unintentional hilarity of it?

Do those people sound laughably ignorant, petty, and miserable, to a comical degree?

Are you glad that your parents or grandparents were not the people captured on camera saying those things, ultimately used as documentary fodder to be laughed at and mocked by later generations for their preposterous, hateful blather?

Don’t be the 2040 documentary versions of the turds wearing crew cuts and browline glasses embarrassing themselves saying unintentionally hilarious blather like rap is “not a valid form of music…lacks musical merit…lacks deep and broad emotional content, blah, blah blah…”
thusly embarrassing yourself and your grandkids.

You sound exactly like those turds from the ‘50s.

Finally, it’s just f***ing music, man.
You either like it, or you don’t.
It’s not a sociopolitical movement, it’s not a political platform, it’s not a religion, it’s just art. A person is not some demon worthy of chastisement and slander if they don’t like it, and a person does not deserve a pat on the back if they like it, or “gave it a try.”