The Literary Roots of Hip-Hop Lyricism

12 December 2017

Rap Is easily heard as a play of words, a sampling of music rhythms and melodies, and for the passers-by, a taunt against another taunt. But for those who will listen closely, rap lyrics may be full of history, a love story, political critique, Innuendo, sarcasm as well as wit (Rose, 1994, p 14). The past decades had hip-hop fill up a cultural lexicon of vocabulary, characters and culture. Accordingly, the lexicon has been fed by hip-hop artists that return to certain archetypal images as well as conceits.

While many forms of popular music hat reinvent or subvert tradition for the sake of novelty, hip-hop culture values and cultivates memory using decades old lyrics and images for current crops of new hits, singles or albums. The past decades saw hip-hop music display various forms of musical borrowing they call sampling and mixes. During the early days of hip-hop, Ids from the Bronx and Harlem manually scratched vinyl records Into a seamless mix of dance music (Rose, 1994, p 18).It was noted by Deemed (2002, p 107) that Ids preferred a classic collection of soul, funk and R&B Curtis Mayflies, Isaac Hayes and George Clinton for their pieces. The digital age also provided growth for their sampling as hip-hop added an assortment of music ranging from heavy metal to country. However, many Ids and producers still unearth and return to soul and funk as they pay tribute to respected past musicians.It is to be noted however that the melody of scratching and sampling from classics added with the invention of new sound is Just but one activity amid the hip-hop music production.

A rich variety of multimedia collections, references and parodies Is Inherent to hip- hop music as a whole. This paper will try to establish the literary roots of hip-hop years as an off shoot of words and culture from the period between 1965 and 1980 In American Society. Discussion The mid-asses to asses is known as a time in when African-American identity coalesced as a new form of political consciousness was born.In fact, it had been observed that the word “rap” originally meant among the African American community as referring to romance or sexual interaction initiated by a man to win affection and sexual favors of a female. However, by the late 1 sass, the term crossed over into mainstream public language and has discarded the sexual reference. It non came to mean strong, aggressive and energize talk. Today, both uses are used in the Black speech community as rappers embody these meanings in their artistic images (Rose, 1994, p 19).

According to Rose (1994), rap Is a social movement popular primarily among Black and Latino races and during the asses, and by the asses, catapulted musicians such as Run DIM, EL Cool J, Salt n’ Peep, Beastie Boys, among others not only among listeners (Rose, 1994, p 21). However, Lippies (1998) presents a popularly accepted narrative that rap and hip hop originated from the ghetto neighborhood of the Bronx in New York city in asses. The ghetto is a marginal’s group of Black and Latino and the youths in this section created an informal way of expressing themselves as inspired from the Caribbean-style toasting.It is their way of having fun, share experiences, as well as criticize social inequality and poverty. It provided a creative outlet for Ids, Masc., graffiti artists and Boys and Busgirls to a frustrating and difficult life while encouraging competition and achieves something positive replacing street corner conflicts into competition dancing, and shooting to paint spraying. It soon became widespread and every locality in the globe has adopted ACH own, including European immigrants from Turkey, Morocco and North Africa (Bennett, 1999, p 75).

The reasons for the rise of hip hop according to some sociologists and historians, are found is the changing urban culture within the United States during the asses. Perhaps most important was the low cost involved in getting started: the equipment was relatively inexpensive, and virtually anyone could MS along with the popular beats of the day. Masc. could be creative, pairing nonsense rhymes and teasing friends and enemies alike in the style of Jamaican toasting at blues parties or playing the dozens in an exchange of wit.Masc. would play at block parties, with no expectation of recording, in the way of folk music. The skills necessary to create hip hop music were passed informally from musician to musician, rather than being taught in expensive music lessons (Samuels, 2000, p 11).

Another reason for hip hop’s rise was the decline of disco, funk and rock in the mid- to late ass. Disco arose among black and gay male clubs in America, and quickly spread to Europe. Disco provided much danceable beats which hip hop took advantage of while providing a musical outlet for the masses that hated disco (Saunders, 1996, bob).Rap music is said to originate from Black or African oral tradition of tonal semantics, narration, signification, the dozens, Black syntax, as well as other communicative practices. It is also noted that the oral tradition rooted from the surviving African tradition of “Mono” and the relevance of the word among the living. For the Africans, the rapper is a postmodern African “grist” or verbally gifted storyteller. He is also a cultural historian in traditional African society lyrically and linguistically fluent.

Traditionally, he is expected to testify, to speak the truth in certain terms.The rapper was also anticipated to speak fast (Decker, 1993, 55), this is why the quick utterance of words. “The rate of speech in rap must be constant in order to correlate it with the beat of the music… A rap song averages one hundred forty-four beats per minute..

. Each beat of the music can be correlated to a stressed syllable. If the number of unstressed syllables is equal to the number of stressed syllables in a rap song, the rapper utters a minimum of two hundred and fifty eight syllables per minute (Yakima, 1995, p. 38).According to Smithereens (1994, p 192), rap music is a contemporary response to notations of Joblessness, poverty, and disembowelment that blend reality and fiction. It represents the norm for the Black working class. It is a cultural critic with the rappers on the “front lines of the White Struggle.

.. Let is a rebellion against white 49). The mission of rap was seen to “disturb the peace” although much of rap music has moral lessons. It has become the principal medium for Black youth to and outlet of their views of the world.It also tries to create a sense of order out of the turbulence and chaos of their lives (Smithereens, 1994, p 198). The asses saw the emergence of guns, violence, misogyny, and taboo language in AP music that led it to negative perception outside the Black and global hip-hop culture.

But it is adhered to that the mission of rap remains the same as reflected in Rapper Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s 1982 hit song, “The Message”. For many hip hop rappers, their listeners and their communities, the chain remains the same as in enslavement as uttered by Naughty by Nature.Rap has its violence, its raw language, and its misogynistic lyrics but still, it is perceived as an art form reflecting “the nuances, pathology and most importantly, resilience of America’s best kept secret… The black ghetto’ (Daises, 1994, 59). As Deemed (2003, p 45) noted, “Hip- hop/rap culture is a resistance culture.

Thus, rap music is not only a Black expressive cultural phenomenon; it is, at the same time, a resisting discourse, a set of communicative practices that constitute a text of resistance against White America’s racism and its Resurrection cultural dominance. Hip-hop and “Palpitation” “Palpitation” is shortening of “black exploitation”. It refers to about two dozen a-rated films for African-American urban audiences filmed from 1970 to 1979. Themes of palpitation film focus on a black hero or heroine who had to choose teen duties to the law that is usually white-controlled against loyalty to the African-American community. Critic of palpitation argued that the movies over- simplified and parodied the ghetto considering that the asses is crucial for racial, socio-economic and gender issues (Hartmann, 1994, p 387).The three elements that made palpitation a hit among contemporary hip-hop: * use of theme songs or anthems * overt plasticization * allusion to the ghetto or “hood” (Deemed, 2003, p 47). Samplings used the characters and situations of the films, and transfer their mystique into hip-hop context as they invoke anthems.

Many hip-hop artists tried to capture some of the movies’ glamour and make it their own artist-persona. As Deemed (2003, p 48) cited, Jay-G’s 1996 “Reservoir Dogs” sampled the guitar solo and rhythm from Isaac Hayes “Theme to Shaft”.The song is set to the scene where the well-dressed main character walk the streets of Manhattan disregarding authority as he Jaywalks and gives the finger to a taxi that almost run him over. “Hayes lyrics elaborate Shaft’s charisma and intelligence,” (Deemed, 2003, p 48). Many film soundtracks are non-dietetic or beyond the narrative frame and only provide support for the emotional tone of a scene. It does not disrupt the action with its own reflections (Grammar, 1987, 41). But palpitation anthems had their lyrics comment on the plot transplanting the glamour of a film plot onto the track.

The producers “Reservoir Dogs” used “Theme to Shaft” independence and rebelliousness of its hero to portray Jay Z as cooler and more dangerous (Deemed, 2003, p 49). Other palpitation theme-song samplings are more drastic departures from a Curtis Minefield’s “Fireside’s Dead” (1971) in their “Hustler Theme” (1996). Mayflies decries the black pushers and pimps who deal in vice at the expense of their own immunity in Freddie but Smoothes Dad Hustler overlooked these lyrics altogether, incorporating “Fireside’s Dead” into a vivid celebration of a pimp’s life (Deemed, 2003, p 49).Many rappers elevated palpitation to canonical status making interpretation of these films unified politically and morally. References to the asses alludes to the birth of a new black American political consciousness rejecting assimilation fought for by sass Civil Rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jar. They incline to separatists such as Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Hip-hop compressed this pessimistic view f racial relations under the aegis of “Black Power”, represented in films, music videos and albums using faros, dashikis, and raised clenched fists that meant revolution.

However, Black Power is a term describing a variety of political stances that can range from radical to progressive. Soul provides useful and facile images of Black Nationalism and political separation but the asses assimilation and the asses with protest and separation are almost not linked. While ground-breaking work for Black Power in its various forms was accomplished in circa asses, the early asses had internal dissent. Governmental erasure killed Black Power as an organized movement (Decker 1993 p. 60).Contemporary hip-hop forgot and often misquotes asses black political activism to make it more glamorous and attractive to consumers. The ghetto sound and use African-sounding styles has alludes to the misconception that all black musicians were united under one political cause.

While Minefield’s ghetto orchestrations set the trend for musical Afro-centrism, Scott- Heron and Iceberg Slim show that black responses to urban problems range from outrage to apathy. Conclusion Many current hip-hop artists want to be identified with palpitation characters n order to appear credible and street smart.The sampling the asses are to define black identity as a reaffirmation of the musical and cultural lineage of hip-hop itself but many hip-hop and rap artists today emerged as their own glorified characters that defy pop music norms outside their range. Most rap artists are out to have fun, entertain their listeners as they taunt and answer one another in a seemingly unending debate to overdo one another. Their lyrics, however, allude to more modern ways of simple rhymes that may be a ballad, an ode, a romantic song, a dance, an invitation to enjoy, with several few that encompass aggression, defiance, even taboo themes.

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