Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Dream of Tuesdays

I meant to write a MLK post yesterday, but got distracted by other things. Last Friday in class we had a really good discussion on rap music. The all-white class first described things they didn't like about rap music, mostly the lyrics with violence, materialism and female objectification. Then they came up with reasons why the music has those features (not all rap has these features, of course). Rap, like British punk music, was born out of crippling poverty. Hence a focus on material goods makes sense, as being poor places an emphasis on material needs. Resentment about being poor and being subjected to racial discrimination (two things that MLK understood very well to being tied together), leads naturally to expressions of violence. It was great to see these mostly privileged white students gain a greater appreciation for both the art form of rap and the affects of economic status on their own aesthetics. I went through the same journey myself, and in fact am still making realizations about it.

I also have a dream about two Korean rap songs that sample Pachelbel's Kanon in D played on gayageum (via Making Light).


Skwid said...

About 90% of the rap music in my collection is Nerdcore, which is an interesting phenomenon in itself, I think.

Anonymous said...

You seem to focus on the lyrics in rap. How about the musical inanity of it? I have no problem with music in a language I don't understand. I don't like rap, no matter what language it's in. For instance, listening to world music a lot I come across rap in arabic and various african languages. It sounds as dumb to me as rap in english, while I like the non-rap music from those places just fine.

Scott said...

What do you find inane about rap? Is it the lack of vocal melody? Or is there something else that makes it "sound dumb?"

For myself, while I don't listen to rap regularly, I find some of it to be quite complex rhythmically, and the raw elements of the backing grooves and rapping voice can be quite emotional.

Scott said...

Skwid, how much Nerdcore is out there? I'm guessing it's a rather small subgenre.