Friday, June 29, 2012
Rant #767: I Will Not Be Swayed
My son is a good looking kid, a young man who my wife and I are quite proud of.
He is our son.
Our son likes rap music.
He listens to it all the time, for hours on end.
He is trying to convince me that rap music is a legitimate musical form, and that I should like it as much as he does.
Sorry, kid, I will not be swayed.
I hate the music. It has no worth to me and it really should be called C-rap, as in garbage.
Look, being the musicologist that I am, I know that every generation has to have its own music.
For years, older people looked down on my music, rock and roll, as worthless garbage, but rock and roll emerged, and now, is really part of our culture.
Admittedly, it took years for that to happen, but pretty much by the 1980s, rock and roll entered the mainstream, where it resides today and forever.
Rap music is another thing.
It can trace its lineage back to the same 1950s era that spawned rock and roll, but it has taken a bumpy route to where it is now.
It probably started with the poetic rantings of black disk jockeys on urban stations that were the first ones to play black rhythm and blues, which kind of morphed into rock and roll once white performers--like Elvis Presley--got into it and kind of mixed it with country and western to get a whole new genre.
Black artists picked up on this, and certainly, many of James Brown's 1960s recordings were almost raps, more melodic than what you hear today, but he spoke melodically as much as he sang.
And let's not forget those coffee shops with those funny looking beatniks, who would get up on stage and talk about anything on their minds, often while background music played in the background.
Other artists "rapped," and I think the first true, hit "rap" record, although it wasn't called that, was comedian Pigmeat Markham's "Here Comes the Judge," which hit the Hot 100 and later the Top 20 as a result of the veteran of the Chitlin' Circuit finally getting the national recognition that he deserved, as a cast member on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In."
Anyway, other artists also rapped as much as they sang, and fast forwarding to the 1980s, artists like Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow plowed the path that later artists, including 50 Cent and Eninem, now proudly walk.
My problem with rap music is that it is anti-social, anti-woman, pro-violence, and pretty much very disturbing.
It is not uplifting music, it is music to get riled by.
It uses gutter language, makes that language legitimate, and uses the N-word regularly, just about legitimizing it for the younger generation.
It is not music, it is beats, and very repetitious beats at that.
It has little form at all, and every song kind of sounds alike.
But it is the negativity that gets me. For every Will Smith rapping about next to nothing, you have others who rap about raping women and doing other horrible things.
And a whole generation seemingly loves this music, if that is what you want to call it.
Sorry, my son, but I don't like this music, and I don't care how popular it is.
It is not my music, it is not really music at all.
If my son and his generation like it, that's fine with me.
But please, please, don't try to justify its existence to me.
Growing up when I grew up, when you had the British Invasion, Motown, and the great sounds we heard coast to coast, I guess I am spoiled.
Today's kids don't have that frame of reference, so they think that what they are listening to is "real" music.
Sorry, but this old fuddy duddy thinks your music stinks, in plain English--and I don't have to use any X-rated words to describe that feeling.
I don't care how popular the music is, how many records (or whatever they call it today) sell, how many songs get Grammy Awards.
Like the title says, I will not be swayed.
Posted by Larry at 4:23 AM