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Is Rap Folk?

Frank Hamilton 21 Oct 99 - 11:20 AM
Bert 21 Oct 99 - 11:24 AM
Neil Lowe 21 Oct 99 - 11:33 AM
Rick Fielding 21 Oct 99 - 11:37 AM
catspaw49 21 Oct 99 - 11:44 AM
Frank Hamilton 21 Oct 99 - 11:46 AM
Neil Lowe 21 Oct 99 - 11:50 AM
northfolk/al cholger 21 Oct 99 - 06:55 PM
Chet W. 21 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM
Chet W. 21 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM
MaryLee 21 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM
sophocleese 21 Oct 99 - 09:49 PM
Alice 21 Oct 99 - 10:26 PM
catspaw49 21 Oct 99 - 10:55 PM
Mudjack 21 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Oct 99 - 11:43 PM
thosp 21 Oct 99 - 11:48 PM
Bill D 22 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 08:29 AM
22 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 10:25 AM
Frank Hamilton 22 Oct 99 - 10:53 AM
j0_77 22 Oct 99 - 11:02 AM
Frank Hamilton 22 Oct 99 - 11:12 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 22 Oct 99 - 12:08 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 22 Oct 99 - 12:53 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Oct 99 - 01:19 PM
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katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 01:43 PM
flattop 22 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 02:16 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 02:52 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 99 - 02:59 PM
Steve Latimer 22 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 04:27 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 04:33 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 04:46 PM
Bert 22 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 07:17 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 09:24 PM
catspaw49 22 Oct 99 - 10:27 PM
Chet W. 22 Oct 99 - 10:41 PM
katlaughing 22 Oct 99 - 11:34 PM
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catspaw49 25 Oct 99 - 11:17 PM
sophocleese 25 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM
Jeri 25 Oct 99 - 11:24 PM
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katlaughing 26 Oct 99 - 01:01 AM
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Lonesome EJ 26 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Oct 99 - 03:41 AM
Jeri 26 Oct 99 - 08:21 AM
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Frank Hamilton 26 Oct 99 - 03:24 PM
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Neil Lowe 27 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM
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Mandochop 27 Oct 99 - 11:42 AM
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Frank Hamilton 27 Oct 99 - 04:36 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Oct 99 - 05:00 PM
Neil Lowe 27 Oct 99 - 07:25 PM
Lonesome EJ 27 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM
Chet W. 27 Oct 99 - 07:42 PM
Frank Hamilton 28 Oct 99 - 11:17 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Oct 99 - 11:29 AM
Mudjack 28 Oct 99 - 11:54 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 28 Oct 99 - 12:25 PM
Frank Hamilton 28 Oct 99 - 02:39 PM
Lyle 28 Oct 99 - 05:01 PM
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McGrath of Harlow 28 Oct 99 - 08:46 PM
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Subject: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:20 AM

Hi Gang,

Got an interesting post from Ari Frede at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Thoughts?

This was a really nice thing that happened. It's on their website Wednesday, but I don't know if it'll last. http://www.chicagotribune.com/leisure/tempo/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV-9910200106,FF.html

We graduated fine. Tisa did an AMAZING rhyme that I never get tired of hearing. I, Mr. Memory, forgot half my lines, choked, and handed her the mic. (For Marta, what you missed was: "So stuck up in traffic while the trains pass you by your car is your coke but you never ask why the rain's pouring in through that hole that you left in the ozone, Bozo, so better find another way to punch in downtown than making me breathe through your funnycar, clown It's not poliTICal correctness that makes my lungs tickle, breathless, and Tisa, her Royal Nextness, will ride the rhyme to its nexus.") But I regained my status when we freestyled -- Tisa thinks we have opposite talents; what she has in writing, I've got in fredestyling. I think it's a good article, especially considering it's the Trib and how small we thought the piece would be. If nothing else, I count this article as a professional victory and as evidence that I CAN SO use my job to work against racism.

Chicago Tribune Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Tempo Section, front page.

LISTENING WITH RAPPED ATTENTION URBAN MUSIC OFF THE STREETS AND INTO THE CLASSROOM

By Monica Eng Tribune Staff Writer October 20, 1999

It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and three white students sit around their African-American teacher in a small sunny room at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

A loping, atmospheric beat is streaming out of the boom box in the corner. They bob their heads and tap their feet as they spill words onto

the pages of their rhyme books.

It's a generally laid-back room, but this exercise creates a certain Final Jeopardy-like tension as the students compose a rhyme against the ticking clock of music.

As the beat winds down, the slim, coffee-dreadlocked teacher, who goes by the single name Anacron, asks, "Is everybody cool?" They indicate that they are ready to go.

The beat kicks in again. Fifteen-year-old Jonah "J4Play" Bondurant begins the rhyme circle with his composition, which starts: "Watch me penetrate the senses . . . chemical imbalances . . ." His rap style rides the beat with complicated cadences and a slight gangsta accent.

Wrapping up his rhyme by repeating the last line, the lanky Lane Tech junior kicks it to Anacron, who begins, "This week's topic is performing live/Including the nutritional facts without the excess jive/To survive on the stage is an astounding feat in itself/You must be live to engage a pounding beat upon the shelf. . . ." He seems totally at ease with the form, moving his head from side to side with the beat.

Next up is Tisa "The Tisanator" Batcheldi, who wears combat boots, leggings, a dress and a sweater. Her pigtails make her look like Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island." She raps softly in a smooth stream and then hands the invisible mike to Cece, a day trader/aspiring singer/songwriter. Cece "Shimmy" Page, a blond in conservative dress, improvises an intro to her rhythmic rap, explaining that she wants to join the class so that she can add some texture to a folk-rock Christmas album she is making. She winds down the rhyme, and the whole group smiles and relaxes.

Anacron commends them all on a job well done.

"Do you write for Master P or something?" he asks Cece, who credits her poetry writing for her facility with rhymes.

If a formal class based around rap sounds unusual, that's because it is. The Old Town School even conjectures that it may be the first of its kind. But if administrators at the school have anything to say about it, it won't be the last. It's just one part of the school's push to expand notions of folk music and update its offerings with more urban arts and contemporary styles.

"That has been the mission of a lot of people here, but there haven't been many contacts with contemporary urban folk practitioners," says Old Town adult program associate and rap student Ari "Just" Frede. "I interviewed Boogie (Laurisa) McClaren (earlier this year) for the hip-hop dance class, and she started teaching right away and her class ran with unprecedented success." McClaren is a dance teacher with a new but loyal following at the school.

When Frede was looking for a rap and break-dancing teacher, McClaren introduced him to Anacron. The 23-year-old underground rapper moved here from Los Angeles four years ago and has been rapping, producing, bartending and poetry slamming ever since.

Some may have a hard time thinking of rap (which is about 25 years old) as folk music, but Anacron thinks it's about as folkie as music gets.

"I think that folk music is something that goes along with any group of people who have been established as a culture," says Anacron, who has been studying music since he was a child. "But to this day most folk music has only been looked at in terms of white and European culture. But really it's any kind of music that is created from the heart and soul and is practiced by a large group of people from the same background."

For the most part that "background" has been the African-American urban experience. So does he find it all strange that he is teaching the class to white students?

"I don't think it's strange at all because I feel like a lot of people are interested in hip-hop because it is something they don't know about," Anacron says. "They are interested in learning what is behind rap music and what is behind the lyrics, what people are feeling and what's going on. I can't make anybody a rapper. You just can't do that. I would rather have people go through the eight weeks and come out with a better understanding of what hip-hop as a whole is and a specific understanding of what rap is about, but I'm not trying to make anybody into a star. I think hip-hop has too many rappers as it is anyway."

Although he stresses the music-appreciation aspect of the class, Anacron, who says he calls himself by that name because "I'm very anachronistic," offers plenty of practical tips to his students as well. As a teaching aid for a lecture on live performance, he recently showed a clip from the movie "Wild Style." It featured a duo called the 5 Footers, who were charging up a tough audience with the following traditional chant: "Throw Your Hands in the air/Come on and wave 'em like you just don't care/I said hey oh/Oh oh oh."

"Now that is a classic way to engage an audience," Anacron says, pointing to the video. "People are still doing it today and it works. And you see that audience? It's full of thugs who are too hard to smile at their mama, and they're waving their hands in the air."

Although students such as Page and Bondurant can see themselves possibly recording a rap down the line, others such as Batcheldi see it as a way to get to know the music better and to help with writing.

"I joined because rap is such a fascinating art form and hip-hop is so current," says Batcheldi, a 30-year-old Ravenswood resident who is also an Old Town School employee. "I liked it because the focus was on words which I love, and it was a way to get back into writing regularly and playing with ideas."

Frede enjoys the way it brings together the oral and written traditions of learning that New York City rap scholar Tricia Rose writes were essential to the creation of the genre in her book "Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America."

"Anacron uses written traditions at the beginning of class where we sit down and freewrite for a while and then at the end where you have to freestyle and rap spontaneously, which is very difficult for someone who doesn't come from that tradition," says Frede.

"So having both of those things in one class is what Tricia Rose was trying to say was so essential: You have to have a culture where people are learning in both of those cultures and that didn't happen when slavery was keeping African-Americans from having access to the written word, and it didn't happen when white people were so separated from cultures that were learning with an oral tradition. What (Anacron) is doing is trying to build the skills that you need to be able to practice rap within both of those traditions, which is how it exists in the real world."

In life outside the classroom as a rapper and hip-hop producer, Anacron sees a big dichotomy between the underground rap world and the commercial rap world.

"That's probably one of the hugest separations in rap today," says Anacron, who tends bar and co-hosts poetry readings at Wicker Park's Mad Bar. "But I think that both are good for hip-hop and they both contribute to hip-hop and take from hip-hop in their own ways. But the commercial rappers will say, `Oh, underground, they're all broke and I'm trying to earn money.' Then the underground rappers will say, `I'm doing this because I love the music and if you are mainstream and you're signed you're not real, you don't love hip-hop.' But that's all extraneous. It's about the music."

Despite his diplomatic postion on the situation, Anacron is firmly planted in the underground world of rap, which he says is "huge" and mostly patronized by white upper-class kids. When he is not writing beats at home, the Los Angeles-raised artist is traveling around to produce for "cats in Europe, the West Coast and the South." Chicago, where he decided to make his home four years ago, "is where I usually lie low."

Although you probably won't find a lot of underground recordings in record stores, Anacron recommends www.truehiphop.com/atak for a large selection from the genre.

Rap and hip hop dance classes have now been added to the school's permanent repertoire and will be offered indefinitely while there are students. Next spring, Old Town will continue its exploration of the urban contemporary genre with break dancing and deejay workshops.

Those who want to see what eight weeks of studying rap can do for a group of white hip-hop neophytes can check out the crew's graduation recital at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the main auditorium of the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4536 N. Lincoln Ave. 773-728-6000.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:24 AM

Rap, only 25 years old? Billy Cotton will be turning in his grave.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:33 AM

Pete Seeger essentially answered "yes" to your question some months back...wish I could remember the article I read it in....think it was in the Utne Reader....

Neil


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:37 AM

Good post Frank. If "Talkin' Blues" are seen as "in the folk style", then Rap sure would be, as well.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:44 AM

You just stole my line Rick............

Well,anyway, nice post Frank.

Spaw - into the "folk-like" style


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:46 AM

Rap may have folk antecedents. The griots of Africa (Senegal) have a kind of rhythmic pattern of sing/speech that tells the stories of their ancestors and comments on the issues of the times. Rap as a genre as far as we know it so far has a fairly short span but as an offshoot of an African and African-American form of expression, it may have roots that extend back generations. This may be a truly urban folk music. As far I as I can tell, it doesn't limit itself to the commercial music biz but is often practised by those who have never made a recording. As in the case of any traditional folk music, it contains highly objectionable content occasionally. Of course, this "content" is what we often hear on the radio and may not be reflective of the whole genre itself. Thoughts?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:50 AM

Nope..wrong again..it was Beck (does he think he's a folk authority or something?) who said it in this article. Verify before posting, Neil. I don't know how I got Pete Seeger mixed up in all this....

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 06:55 PM

No lesser authority than Art Thieme.... Some time ago I wrote a post inquiring about the whereabouts of a pair of Chicago area performers in the folk style named Inman and Ira...Art responded...and in part, (because I'm not ambitious enough to dig up the direct quote) said they were...original rappers. Is it folk, here we go again, academics, purists, traditionalists, et al, choose your weapons.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM

Answer #1 - Hell, no. It is THE most commercialized, manufactured sound form in history, and it makes much money from legitimizing the criminal and violent tendencies of an already screwed up culture. (See previous threads on "Cop Killer" and "Objectionable Material").

Answer #2 - Jesse Jackson said it best when he called it the "soundtrack of failure".

Still vehement, Chetwhousedtoteachinajuvenileprison


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 07:40 PM

And another little piece of timely folklore. The local major chain of music stores around here do not display rap albums on their racks or in their bins. Instead there are xerox copies of their covers in the CD holders. I asked them why, and they said that those were the ones that got shoplifted the most by a long shot, and furthermore a lot of the xerox copies have been shoplifted since they started doing this. If anyone doubts the hard-wired connection between rap and criminality, please explain the above. I assure you it's true. You also might try checking out some of the popular rap artist websites, such as www.thug.com. (also true; probably some good links). I spent years watching and listening to children puking out whole albums of this shit when they couldn't write a complete sentence or add two numbers. I did it until I couldn't take it anymore. Don't anybody try to outliberal me on substantive issues, but this is one subject that does not merit our compasssionate understanding.

As above, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: MaryLee
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 09:44 PM

On one hand I would say NO! But, at the same time, I'm thinking, Yeah, it's kinda YES. Especially after reading, and pondering, the first posting. I sure don't like the comercial version with the advocating of criminal activites and nasty language, but, then, maybe some folks thought the '60's stuff I love was garbage too. Ya just don't know. Fortunately, the radio has many settings, I have my own kind of CDs and tapes and the vehicular boom-box does move on and away from shaking my own little van!

I guess one purrson's mewsic is another's yowling!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: sophocleese
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 09:49 PM

I thought the acid test of whether a song was 'folk' or not was if it lasted through a generation or so. There are some people who are still arguing that Bob Dylan's stuff isn't folk yet as it hasn't been tested through time. I don't think you can apply the test to one style of music but not to another.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Alice
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 10:26 PM

Talking is not singing. It may be a type of poetry, but it isn't music, even if it does have instrumental backup. We had this argument, uh, I mean discussion, about a year ago, and here it is again. I'm with Chet on this one.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 10:55 PM

Zappa referred to it as atonal mouth noises. And much as I utterly detest the entire genre and have seen the effects Chet refers to, Rap is music in that rhythms are the earliest form as is the human voice.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mudjack
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM

I've been under that impression for some years now. Ihe BLUES as we know it today had it's reputation of being fit only for speak easies and not accepted as popular music. Fotunately the music form was recorded and preserved for our study. Rap is putting forth messages of what's happening in the streets, no matter how much we dislike the content, the fact is it relates what struggles and strife these times are all about. I still have a problem with the foul language and lack of respect for morales and human life. Drugs, Drive by shootings. But the Blues says the same thing.
It's as honest as any music can be, it's just not in my song bag.
Mudjack


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:43 PM

FRank- DOn't I recall your rejecting old pop music that's sung today as folk because of its origins? Do I detect an inconsistency here?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: thosp
Date: 21 Oct 99 - 11:48 PM

hmmmm my post didn't take-- oh well, here we go again
Mudjack- i agree with you completely-you saved me alot of typing-(which i hate to do)thanks


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM

folk?...maybe..sort of................BAD folk!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 08:29 AM

Chet, one point only: I think the Chicago school can only help by taking on this genre and shining an apprently positive light on it. A lot of the general whute population are fearful of black youth because of their *music*. I just had a wonderful experience having dinner with Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and prominent civil rights attorney; as well as heard him lecture. He pointed out that to combat such fears of our differences, we must learn about each other through dialogue and sharing of our cultures. He said we are all angels with one wing. That we must embrace each other in order to fly.

Like it or not, rap is part of the urban culture of Americans of African descent. (I mentioned to him, at dinner, the PC thread I'd started and about people being tired of changes in designating someone's race. He uses the "American of whatever descent", which I felt was a worthy disticntion.) I hope that this program can help to bridge the enormous gap between different cultures.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From:
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:05 AM

Kat, I wish I could have had dinner with you and Morris Dees; He is one of my personal heroes, as are you. The thing about rap is (and I hope this is not a rehash of what we've said before) that even though there are positive examples aplenty (I just heard some by ZapMama that was pretty interesting and non-violent), the mainstream is still glorifying the criminal subculture. As far as I know, it has never happened before that a large segment of any society has proudly *identified* themselves as criminals, (eg.- Thug.com). There have, of course, been large criminal subcultures before, but they didn't announce themselves as such, nor did they have mainstream media, clothing, and much more providing in many young minds a kind of legitimacy for something that can only be negative. I doubt that any of my previous students committed their crimes only because of rap, but if it made even the littlest difference in the ruination of some of them, then I have to loudly oppose it. I saw so many lives completely shot to hell before they even started, a point came when I had to get out of there or become the unknown martyr. ( I tried real hard.) As for the existence of some positive examples, I think that's good and I think it's growing. But what if there was a Nashville-type "country" song about healthy relationships, compassion and kindness, struggles for justice, equal treatment for all, etc. We might say "Hey that's better" but it would not change the overall persona of the Hank Williams JR types that a large number of my neighbors so admire, and I doubt that any of them would even notice when the song went by on their radio. It's the same with rap. It only becomes a sensitive issue when some racial face is put on it, but I can tell you that the white kids I worked with were just as engaged by it as the black and Latino kids. We cannot make judgements, as we are occasionally called upon to to in civilization, we cannot make them with the same hearts and the same standards that we did thirty years ago, because it really is different now in some very fundamental ways. This is not Elvis's hips or Jimi Hendrix being permanently stoned. This is different.

With love in my heart, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:25 AM

Dear Chet, thank you. I am honoured that you consider me a hero(ine)*g*. The feeling is mutual. I was also very honoured to be included in the private dinner held for Dees before his lecture. There were about 40 of us and I was thrilled when he chose to sit at the same table as my friends and me! The best words I can use to describe him are genteel, erudite, and disarmingly charming. I would love to see him argue a case in court. He does not confront, nor get angry, he simply honours a person's stance, then gently and irrefutably shows them a better way (rather than the error of their ways.) The man is brilliant.

He told a funny anecdote. Said he'd grown up in a little crossroads community in Alabama. Had the same teacher for Sunday School and 4 & 5 grades. Said the teacher was a crusty old lady; she'd taught his dad, him and two of his kids before finally retiring. Also, said it was hard sometimes to tell if she was teaching Sunday school stuff or school stuff. She was a great one for prohibition and wore a button which said, "Lips that touch wine, will never touch mine." One day, in regular school, Morris said, "But, Miz Johnson, you told us Jesus turned water into wine!" She replied, "That's right, Morris, but we'd have a lot mroe respect for him if he hadn't!"

Anyway, I totally understand what you are saying and I know you, of all people, have much more experience in the "trenches" than the rest of us. I have so much respect for you and others who do that kind of work, Chet. I agree, esp. with your last statement about how we cannot do things the way we did 30 yrs ago; I was 16, then and would NOT even want to think about doing things the same way, again!*bg* I have to say, though, I am selfishly grateful that you are no longer in that situation, for your sake.

I don't know what the answers are. I don't think we can negate the positive things that the school in Chicago is doing with this genre. As far as whether positive country or rap would gain ground on the radio, and thus, in society: it's all a matter of economics. If they can find a way to make it attractive to advertisers through delivery of listeners, then it will go. All big IFS, I know. BTW, excellent points about the *legitamacy* of the "thug" stance. My mind immediately thought of the Mafia and how they've never had such commercialism supporting their tactics.

I will quit rambling, now. Bless your heart, Chet. It is definitely in the right place.

luvyaKat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:53 AM

Northfolk, you mention Ira and Inman. I recorded with them in the late fifties. It was the one session that I walked off of. They were doing chain-gang type shouts and very interesting work. A fat A and R man came in to the session with a big see-gar and proceded to do a number on them. He said that "The kids like lots of saxophones and big drums". He ruined their act. I was digusted. I told Frank Fried, the guy who had brought them to this label, I couldn't stand what they were doing to Ira and Inman. As far as I remember, they didn't actually "rap" but they were incorporating African-American chain gang and blues shouts into their music. They were exciting before the "music mob" got ahold of them.

Frank Hamiltonb


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: j0_77
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:02 AM

Why of course it is, and Frank technology is putting both the recording studio and the means to distribute the 'product' in every home these days.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:12 AM

Hi Dick,

Am I inconsistent? Dunno. I think that there is a case for "rap" being a style of urban folk music without the "songs" being sung as folk songs. The "songs" themselves would need to be generational, I believe. The style of performance may already be. It emanates from the African American community and borrows much from the music of the past. "Rapping" seems to be part of the picture. Fats Waller called it "Jiving". Street rhymes, jump rope games and other chants from the African American community might be the forbears of "rap".

As to the "gangsta" stuff, I'm not crazy about the violence and perjoratives given to women either but it bears reminding that many outlaw songs glorified Jesse James, Billy the Kid (a ritarded young man who slaughtered an innocent Mexican family for fun) and many others. The Mexicano Corrido glorifies famous drug dealers,occasionally. How about that notorius mountain ballad, "Pretty Polly"? Is the content of that song any better? Of course in the last stanza, true to the morality code of the Appalachians, Willie gets his comeuppance by going to Hell. But the graphic detail is almost "slasher movie".

Just asking question here.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:08 PM

Yes, it is. Rap is folk music.

And its not an outgrowth of talking blues, or based on a rediscovery of that form.

And despite the 'cop killer' forms of the genre, that get everybody screaming about rap in much the same way that Helms and his ilk scream that "the arts arts are decadant" everytime some isolated shock artist slaps a religious icon in excrement, it originally evolved as a form of dance music for street parties. It was the black urban equivalent of hoedown music. The gangsta stuff came later.

Like it or not its Folk Music with a captital F.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:53 PM

Frank,

I am not going to say one single thing about this--not one single thing--no nothing!!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 12:59 PM

I guess it kinda fits with what I think of as folk music.
Now, dammit, I'll have to qualify any statements I might make saying 'I like folk music'


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:19 PM

Rap would appear to stemmed from something that might have been folk and maybe the "urban culture" might add to this but I think that is as far as it goes. Was punk part of a cultural movement and could it justifiably be considered folk.

Frank, is contemporary folk singing folk? - it too follows those principals but I thought that you have argued against that. Is commercial recording folk? - I thought that you had argued against that.

To me, I don't care, I like what I like and I DETEST rap and if it is folk, I will have to come up with another word to describe what I do like.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Fortunato
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:36 PM

There is no creature so vile or action so inhuman that music cannot immortalize it, nor, seemingly, that the American public cannot raise to celebrity.

Musicologists can dispute as they are wont to do.

Rap is not my folk music. It may be yours.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 01:43 PM

Jon, I don't think you have to find another name for what you like, I just think we might have to use sub-designations more, i.e. sea shanteys, cowboy songs, etc.

There are so many types of folk, one designation is pretty broad.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: flattop
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:03 PM

Is Pete Seeger rap or could he carry a tune when he was popular a hundred years ago?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:16 PM

Kat, I like a pretty broad.

Bert (running and ducking)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:52 PM

Yew can run and duck all yew want to, Bert, but you know eventually you'll run into Tree!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 02:59 PM

Morris Dees? What a deal Kat......I hate you...No Garden Faeries Tonight!!!

CHET...... I'm very glad that you continued your explanation as I would fear that some may have taken your first post wrong. I knew what you were saying, maybe everyone did....but I'm still glad for the rest of the tale. Like you, I've spent a lot of time in the trenches and to be truthful, sometimes I make a comment that requires further explanation and I often do not do it for whatever reason. I guess at times I'm just lazy and by the time I got finished explaining myself no one would read the 30,000 words to begin with! You did a fine job, about as comprehensive, yet brief, as I could imagine. Thank you my friend.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:09 PM

I hate Rap, I hate the tunelessness of it, the never changing beat, the violence that is the basis of much of it and I am very close to saying, at the risk of sounding like my Old man, 'Hell that's not even music.'

But is it folk? I begrudgingly admit that it is. It is the voice of a particular community, as were Woody, Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson and many, many more. Did they have violence in their songs? Absolutely, I still have difficulty with some of the lyric content, but I love the music. Just because Don't like Rap doesn't make it any less folk.

Let's hope though that it doesn't stand the test of time.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:27 PM

Nah, nah, na, nana! Yea, 'Spaw, after five years non-stop of doing most of the press releases, writing petitions, emailing over 500 messages out to people when M. Shephard was killed, with the no hate logo I designed on my computer, and coordinating other events, along with the few other core people we have, and writing other stuff for the Natrona County Grassroots Project, a part of the Wyoming Grassroots Project, a human rights org., dinner with and hearing Morris Dees speak made it all worth it. Even the totally discouraging times when the legisalture sticks their heads where the sun doesn't shine and refuses to even discuss a bias crimes bill. I've lost track of the number of editorials and articles I've written about hate crimes in this state and elsewhere.

And, this wwek, we had two doctors, married, one of them is Korean; they have a one year old, move away from Wyo. because of the hate that was spewed at her, esp. a letter that some bytch sent her calling her a Korean whore and hoping that her baby son would be anally raped before he turned five.

It's been that kind of day and week, ya know? Then I read that our fed legis. considering passing a law against crush films. Now that I've read the sickening details, they'd better! I didn't even know these existed and now I am having a hard time getting it out of my heart. Crush films are of women, bare-footed or in high heels, crushing litle animals, kittens, monkeys, bugs and hamsters. Pacifist that I am, I WOULD get deadly violent if I ever caught nayone doing that. Oh, shit, I am sorry, I can't write for the tears. It just makes me so angry. Sorry for the thread creep, guys. Thanks for listening.

Feels like hell, today, but there's no sign of a handbasket.

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:33 PM

Ah yes Kat, I'm in enough trouble already with that rose that I got from a secret admirer.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:44 PM

I was nearing the end of another essay when my computer froze and I lost it. Anyway, thanks 'Spaw and Kat and all. I was saying that in my experience with rap (and I do know its origins, having nothing to do with Africa; I'll tell all later) I have found more mature ways, so to speak, to think about freedom of speech. There is no freedom of any kind without the responsibility that goes with it. Don't think badly of me, ye defenders of the First Amendment, for I am one of you, but this is an argument that cannot be made simple, just as ideals of freedom cannot be made simple. Please see the previous threads mentioned above if you weren't there when we did them, and also one called "long-winded BS". They are long, but I think we had a lot of good thoughts come out in them.

Dig deep, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 04:46 PM

Oooo, Bert, be careful talking about that rose; I've got a rose tattoo and wouldn't you just love to know where?!Heeheehee! Maybe she's just having you on and it's her after all!?

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 05:04 PM

Well WE agree with you Chet even if your computer censors you.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 07:17 PM

Thanks, Bert, and Kat, I think we have an idea where. Now if I can remember how I played The Rose Tattoo on my whistle...

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 09:24 PM

Another relevant thought occurs; There have not been any big rap concerts in this part of the country (go ahead a make a joke about the backwards south) in a long time. The reason is purely free from politics and bias; The insurance costs too much. The insurance companies certainly want to make money. The promoters do too, but they can't afford the insurance. Is this censorship? Of course, but it's self-censorship. If you're going to create an event with a proven track record of serious violence, the costs, unless you want to risk losing your ass, will be very high. It's like why they won't let you sit on the track at car races.

Clear as a bell, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:27 PM

As the thread creeps.......

Chet, you made a comment about responsibility....

Do you ever get the feeling that my generation accidently "screwed the pooch?" I do...about once a day. I don't want to drag this out, but we were raised by a very responsible generation us boomers. And as one who was actively involved in the changes of the sixties, I know it is not true across the board, but the "general" idea was more freedom but with the responsibility it entailed. Unfortunately that has translated 30+ years later to "do or say anything and don't give a turkey." Respect and common decency seem to have gone the way of the world too.......just do whatever and to hell with it.

Friends, that was NEVER the idea (speaking in general terms here), but it sure is how it came out.............drives me nuts...short trip. But thanks for triggering the thought Chet...I'd almost made it through the day without kicking my own ass.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 10:41 PM

'Spaw, Yeah we had our way with the pooch, but those of us who came out of it "all right" (accepting responsibilities that came with our freedom) I believe are, and always were, part of a thoughtful minority. Looking back, I remember clearly that at pretty much every counterculture event I saw, whether anti-war or freedom of speech or free love, most people were just there for the party, for the drugs and sex and Lack of responsibility. Those are the ones that spawned the last couple of generations that we speak about so alarmingly here. If by some miracle it had gone "our" way, maybe we would have the aquarian utopia we thought we were going to get. I don't think there were that many more thoughtful, responsible people back then than there are now. It's just that the media has them under tighter control now. The drugs and sex were pretty cool at the time, though.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Oct 99 - 11:34 PM

At least back then, we were not as vicious to one another, in a general, societal way. We were not as innured to violence as a commonality, as a society, then, either. Ah, that darn old pendulum always has to swing too far, huh? Why the hell can't it just stay in the middle and live and let live? Guess not many believe in balance. I cannot believe the indulgences and lack of responsibility so many parents coddle their chldren in, today. I am damn glad I had my kids when I was so young, before the me generation became so pervasive. I am also amazed at how many parents who are older, in their 30's and 40's, who seem to ahve no confidence in their own common sense or they have none and therefor run from expert to expert, with the kid running the show, instead of the parent. Ms. Manners did get a call into the show about that. A five year old, throwing fits, in total control of all adults around him. And, parents have to be told how to handle that! Thanks mom and dad, thanks bet for giving me such good examples and helping to raise my kids. Oh, and before someone starts talking about how young parents today need to be told how to do it, I was a teen mom, so been there done that; had high standards, so I tend to probably be too judgemental.

rampagingkat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 04:13 PM

Always easy to genralize about the children of others--

Yesterday I was in a drug store with my 3 year charming and gregarious 3 year old who also happens to have cerebral palsy, and has been receiving speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy since she got home from the hospital--

A woman asked her, "What is your name" and when she answered with a cheerful babble, the woman asked her repeatedly, sternly, pointedly, then she started saying, "I want to hear that name" and practically shouted for my benefit, "You need to learn to say that name"--

Don't be so quick to judge what you think you see--because sometimes parents of special needs children forget their manners--and let you have a piece of their mind--

When that happens, you will be amazed at how little it helps to say, "I didn't know..."


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 05:07 PM

M. Ted, I would never do something like that woman did! How rude and thoughtless. I was just talking in a general sense, which I know, I shouldn't be doing. From what I could tell on the radio show, it was just a normal, but out of control 5 year old. Having worked in medicine for several years, I am pretty observant and do try to go out of my way to make people comfortable or to help out if possible and appropriate.

I wonder, sometimes, if there is more to our physical environment, besides tv, I mean, that contributes to the apparent rise in a lot of disorders we used to never or barely hear about; or is it just we are more aware and there is less stigma attached? I am thinking not along the lines of in utero, but after birth, or whenever things like ADD and others seem to develop. I would be interested in hearing from those of you who deal with these things.

It is wonderful that you are doing all of those things with and for your daughter, M. Ted. A challenge and blessing all at once, just like a kid, huh?*g*

One other thing and I will shut up. This is probably more what I had in mind, M. Ted. I see parents who seem to be so ambivalent and unaware with their kids. I am appalled, for instance, at seeing things such as in the grocery store parking lot today. A mother with two babies in car seats and a little girl, probably about 3 or 4, parked her car, got out, left her door wide open and walked across the lot to get a cart. The 3/4 yr. old went bounding across the parking lot after her mom, and the mom didn't take any notice. Babes were left there all alone witht the door open, the 3/4 could have been run over and the mom was oblivious. Besides being careless, I think it is just plain rude. I see so many parents who walk into a store, never holding their children's hands, the little ones straggling behind, dodging cars, while the parent moseys on in the store or, worse, yet, in a way, turns around and yells at the little one, with tiny legs, to hurry up. I am appalled at the lack of civility and caring. How will children learn to be courteous and kind if they aren't treated that way?

I think I am wearing out the soapbox.

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 06:24 PM

Sorry if I vented on you--I get a little touchy sometimes--

The reason that you hear a lot about things that you never used to is that it used to be that everyone was encouraged to shut up and keep it all out of sight--The allegedly retarded and spastic children were shamefully stowed away and forgotten about--

Up until fairly recently, many kids were classified as mentally retarded and institutionalized for life(and there often drugged and shockingly abused and mistreated), because they had a limp and a speech impediment--

Not surprisingly, even the designation of Mental Retardation has come into question--even still, you find many so called "enlightened" books about children's medical issues that say that the majority of CP kids are mentally retarded--

The truth is still is hard for a lot of people, doctors, teachers, and other professionals included, to get past the walkers, the limping, and lisps and occasional drooling to really appreciate how bright most of these kids are--

By the same token, a lot of kids ( many grown into adults) have had cognitive problems that have gone completely unnoticed because they didn't have accompanying motor impairments--

Sorry for the lecture, but I tend to go into that mode at any opportunity--

As to your parking lot kids--what can I say? The fact that kids nowdays manage to survive their childhoods seems like a miracle--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Oct 99 - 07:13 PM

MTed, it's okay, we all vent on the Mudcat because it is safe to do so and understood with compassion. I didn't take it personally.

You are right about the kids who used to be shunned and hidden and abused. And, you are also right to go into an "educator-mode" when the opportunity comes up.

I know a friend of a friend who has CP. She is in a wheelchair, drives her car all over the state and uses a computer which recognises her voice to write. She works to a fuller capacity than I am able and holds a position of high merit. It's hard to believe some of the medical community would claim someone like her is "mentally retarded". Go figure, huh?

All the best,

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 12:48 PM

Jon,

What I attempted to say is that "rap" is not necessarilly all on recordings. It happens in the street. In that way, in the black community, it has the ear marks of folk music. "Contemporary Folk" is a kind of recording company label, a euphenism for "singer/songwriter".

I confess that I don't understand the words of rap singers. Many black people do however. It's speech patterns that are genrally unfamiliar to the white community. I had trouble understanding the African style speech in the "islands" as well. Eventually I guess one can learn to "hear it". The subject matter of commercial rap music of that which I do understand is so offensive to me that I lack the motivation to want to understand it furthur. I feel that it is a socially divisive music and that there are judgements expressed by it that are not constructive to racial harmony. My opinion, but of course, there's a lot that goes by me. So I really don't know. A lot of the words that are improvised tend to sound like doggerel to me as constrasted by the tradition of early calypso singing in Trinidad which reached quite a folk art level of sophistication, IMHO. Here, the diction of such singers as Lord Burgess, Lord Melody, Mighty Sparrow and others were clean and trenchant. But, this is my limited experience with rap so I feel it necessary to listen to a lot more and keep an open mind.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 02:26 PM

M Ted........Please understand Kat and what she is saying. I know you haven't been around the 'Cat a long while and many things come up in threads that you may not see or would normally interest you.

The subjecy of "Special Kids" has come up with some regularity around here and I think we're damn near a "Support Group" at times. From the profoundly retarded to autism to CP to DS others, many of us like Margarita, Barry Finn, and myself are all parents of these kids. Barry has a wonderful song he wrote.

I too get touchy on those same issues when my autistic almost 8 year old with major language/speech problems is confronted with the scenario you described, which happens often. In any case, my two salient points are that you are not alone here at the 'Cat and my dear buddy, Katmyluv, would be the last to preach to you on that subject or be anything less than understanding and supportive.

I don't remember where one of the longer discussions took place, but if I locate the thread, I'll let you know.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Gint
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 06:08 PM

As far as I'm concerned the only thing missing from rap is the letter C, but I have to say whatever my personal feelings you ant ignore the following

It comes from ethnic roots,

it has rythm,

I noted someones comment that it did not have musical backup, I won't go into the various forms to be found throughout history, because you proberably know vast amounts more than I.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 06:19 PM

Good points, Gint. Tibetan monks, technically do not use music; their chants are intoned words and ethnic!

Thanks, 'Spaw.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 07:08 PM

Ah, so much to read after being away for a couple of days. Regarding special needs children, I learned during my time as prison-teacher to notice that some kids with huge learning disabilities were actually quite aware and intelligent, as is a friend's autistic child. You come to realize that they are all different, like everybody else, and need to be related to in different ways. Hard to get administrators to understand this though. My friend with the autistic child has shaken up quite a few of them. She tends to know more about the subject, and certainly about her child, than the teachers or administrators.

A lot of my current students affect an illiterate character because it's not fashionable, especially among the rap culture, to have learned anything in school. I can tell in a very short time whether this is real or not, and if not, I call them on it, sometimes with great results.

Rap started in the late sixties and seventies in Jamaica when bored dance club DJs would chant, sometimes nonsense but more often "adult" rhymes over the instrumental records they played. Didn't anybody else listen to Yellowman and King Tubby and Eek-a-Mouse back then? Then years later, in the historic 80's, the same thing happened with bored club DJs in New York. Then the "art" of rap (which the Jamaicans called "Dub") leaked out into the streets, became the voice of the neighborhoods, and eventually evolved into being about violence almost exclusively. When it began to sell, the big record companies, including the two biggest in the world (Sony and Warner) got into the market and soon it was mainstream, for sale in above-ground stores and even Wal-Marts. I guess the good question would be why didn't they do this for Al Capone and the other gangsters from the twenties on. I guess in those days there was not as much money in records in general, and in those marketed to a criminal culture in particular.

I wish I knew the answer to this problem. Certainly there was violence before there was rap. No chicken-and-egg argument here. But it's hard to deny that a cycle was created wherein a violent culture leads to violent media which then lends legitimacy or at least a sense of normality to more and more violence. Until I do know the answer, I'll call on thoughtful people of good faith to keep it away from children whenever possible. For many it may be the only way they can avoid the cycle.

There is no absolute freedom. I'm not saying that somebody is keeping it from us. I'm saying that it cannot exist in anything that can be called civilization.

Still raging after all these years, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 08:40 PM

"Spaw,

Thank you for letting me know how things go here--and for telling me about your situation--I people here have tended to be very friendly, understanding, etc about everything, and of course, very diverse in background and experience, so it doesn't surprise me that there is a sensitivity to special needs kids here, but it does make me feel even more like I belong--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Oct 99 - 09:40 PM

M Ted....I hope you didn't feel I was getting "preachy" back there....I hope not, for it wasn't my intent. If I haven't said it before, I have really enjoyed your postings to the 'Cat and I'm glad you feel as though you belong here because you certainly do. And, too, we needed some new blood to keep Ol'Frank in line!

Here at the 'Cat, "Mud is Thicker than Water"--a completely idiotic expression which makes it the perfect slogan here. Welcome aboard my friend.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 12:19 AM

Hi Frank, how's the new album doin?
A couple of things confuse me about the "rap is/is'nt folk" thing. As far as the "doggerel" part goes...surely folkies have been hugely forgiving when it comes to lyric quality and content. I won't get into names but a lot of traditional singers (and writers in traditional styles) have gotten away with stuff that wouldn't pass muster in a grade 3 poetry class today. I remember wondering why a "protest" singer from Kentucky in the 30s and 40s was held in such high esteem when it seemed to me that her "writing" skill was almost non-existant. Only later did I realize that no matter how awful she seemed to me, her lionization was because she used the word "union" in everything she wrote. And that's really all that counted.
As to rap being divisive...on a purely superficial level, the vast majority of those Clancy Bros. songs I learned when I was 15, were definitely divisive.
Granted, the stakes are so much higher now, but how many old ballads do we sing where a crime is being commited? Lots and lots. I worry that a lot of people would be much happier if young blacks just sang about Jesus like their (Grand) mothers did. But they don't. Most feel that they're in a war and their gun and their attitude is all they've got to do battle with. It's very frightening, but it's their reality, and they sing/rap about it.
This has been a fascinating thread and the arguments have been so well thought out, but, unless you take a real academic stance, I think rap is folk music.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From:
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 09:03 AM

Most do not feel that they are in a war, like the ones in the movies. Most feel compelled to imitate the media culture that is presented to them and absorbed by their adjacent peers. They do it with varying degrees of success, and many end up in just as much trouble or just as dead as the real gangstas. But it is a big misstatement to say that there is any politics or struggle for rights of freedom or even the end of everybody's poverty and violence in their songs. It's about making money, pure and simple. The idealists get swept away the same way they do in other forms of expression.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 11:47 AM

Spaw,

Thanks for the kind words--

Chet--

I sort of agree with you here--I am fond of rap, and have been for a long time (though it is only one of about 10,000 different things I enjoy listening to) and have not been really happy about the whole "gangsta" thing--

Back when rap was first coming up, in the early "80s, it was still more or less a neighborhood thing, associated with and often overshadowed by break dancing (remember "break dancing"?) and the rappers covered discussed the full spectrum of the human experience from what it was like to get invited over to somebodies house to eat to getting kicked out of a club because your dancing was too sexy, to how you lost an eye, to how the girls liked "gettin' wit" you even though you were fat to deaths of friends and family, etc, occasionally with great insight, and often with great humor--

When rap really got embraced by society at large, the "gangsta" thing became a major marketing emphasis--it sold big with the suburban white teenagers in a way that the other stuff didn't--and that is where the big money is, not marketing to the folks in the neighborhoods (homeys in the hood)

I lived in Philly which was and is a rap center(and has been the home to way more popular music than any other city in America!!!) and was aware of situations where record company A&R people literally roamed the halls at local schools (especially Overbrook High School--home of Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff) looking for talent--I remember when the two kids who had been dropped by their record label after a couple of hits, tried to rob a bank and ended up killing a cop--

It wasn't the words to the songs that drove them to that, it wasn't the gangsta attitude, possibly it was the words in the record contract and the promises, made by white men and women in expensive clothing, of money, fortune, and fame that never quite happened--and it was definitely being washed up while they were still teenagers--

The "gangsta" image stuff all comes from the record companies--The kids who write poetry in school, the kids who spend every free minute rehearsing with a group of other kids, they are not the same ones that go down and lookout for the drug houses, run the money, bring vials crack out to the 'cars (again, mostly from the white suburbs) and blow people away or get blown away--

They are close to it, and. in the same way that black actors with advanced degrees and prestigious theatrical and cultural credits may convicingly assume the roles when the script requires it, they can assume the roles--when they are offered the part--

Only thing is that a lot of people like fans and cops and newspaper editors don't realize that it is just a showbiz gig--

The sad truth is that at the bottom of all of it is the issue of racism--The white people that control the entertainment industries believe that the work of black artists is appealing because of the overt sexuality and violence that are stereotypically associated with the "ghetto"--

And so the stereotypes get mass marketed--and everything that happens becomes proof that the stereotypes are true--and the worst thing is that kids start to believe more in what they see plastered all over place in advertising and promotions than in what they see around them--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 01:16 PM

Chet, I really wish I could agree with you - 'cause you're a Mudcatter that I usually DO agree with. From what I've seen over the last 11 years working at a VERY diverse radio station...a lot of folks feel they're at war. The content and attitudes of the Native People's radio show sure reflects a state of seige mentality. The shows dealing with homeless street people, mental illness, Gay rights, and the physically disabled, all take the approach that nothing will be done to address their concerns unless they play serious hard-ball..which means actions, re-actions, and arrests.
The black programmers certainly haven't given the impression that any form of compromise with white society is a goal. It may have been 11 years ago (to a certain extent) but not anymore. As a white liberal, I would neither be considered an ally or an enemy, but more likely, just non-existant. This is in Toronto Canada, where the racial stakes are probably lower than many other places. Naturally rap has evolved into big bucks, (as did folkish music in the 60s) but I think at the street level it keeps their hopes up for some kind of power on a daily or weekly basis. I just don't think plans for a better world generally are a part of their reality. Daily survival seems to me what rap is about. (for those who aren't making the millions)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 05:50 PM

MTed and Rick, Of course you're right about what you're saying, but I still say that the gangsta rap, in its current enourmously popular status, adds to the problem. Teenagers have always chosen to "like" whatever was popular at the time in order to fit in. If fitting in means engaging in violent and deadly crime, I can't see how this is not a qualitative difference from the music that alarmed our parents and theirs and theirs, etc. A lot of my students devote ALL of their free time to violent media, so it stands to reason not that it makes them do things, but it sure does make it seem a lot more normal. The first time you see somebody's brains spattered on the sidewalk it probably will make you sick; probably the second and the tenth time; but after a few thousand times it probably seem less normal to see a sidewalk without brains splattered on it.

It's a complex issue for sure, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 08:39 PM

I don't think the violence occurs because of what kids see in the media, even though there will always be examples of kids who seem to have copied something that they saw or heard about--those connections exist mostly because someone writing a newspaper article emphasized something that may not even have been there in the first place--

Even the "drug" connection to violent crime is a distortion--malt liquor is generally the drug of choice in the ghetto, and it is frequently connected to violence and crime of all sorts--most drug related arrests are for possession and occasionally sales, with no one getting hurt--even the drug related shootings often turn out to be arguments over money, after a night of drinking--

As a former Philly resident, I can tell you that, if you see a cop pull a car over, nine times out of ten, it is a car driven by a person of color, with occupants of color, so to speak--

I have seen Philly cops beating people of color bloody, and worse, it happens all the time, and though white yuppies and suburbanites don't believe that it happens, every black person knows that it does, and fears it--

Cable TV and video rentals are very popular in the poorer, ethnic urban areas, not because the residents hunger for violent entertainment, but because they stay inside a lot--

I think if you live in a rough world, you tend to to be less sqeamish about what you like to watch on TV--and maybe you wouldn't mind seeing a "bad" cop get splattered every once in a while, if it was done tastefully and contributed to the story line, and maybe you wouldn't be adverse to hearing a song about it every once in a while either--

Anyway, I think it wouldn't make much difference if all the Gangsta rappers shut up, and they stopped rerunning RoboCop--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lyle
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 09:39 PM

This is meant as a sincere question, not one to agitate or anything like that.

I've never seen two people who can agree completely what "folk music" really is. On bluegrassL, a big argument appears on a regular basis about what "bluegrass music" really is. The same can be said for lots of music styles.

So my question is, how can anyone say rap is or is not folk music without a clear definition of what folk music is?

Thanks for enlightening me!

Lyle


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 10:57 PM

Lyle, ya got us!!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 11:17 PM

Oh gawd, not again...............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: sophocleese
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 11:22 PM

Run away! Run away!

Sorry Lyle. A basic definition of folk is not going to be easy to come by. People, being folks, differ. Part of this discussion is that it helps some people figure out their own, and other people's, definitions of what folk is and isn't. You might like to try searching previous threads and seeing what has been written on this before. A lot has.

Sophocleese


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jeri
Date: 25 Oct 99 - 11:24 PM

Lyle, click here. (hehehe...)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 12:37 AM

If extremely bad poetry (defined by assembling phrases with end-words that have some relative similarity ie while the brother was haulin out trash, somebody rolled by and poppa cap in his ass), coupled with musical performance primarily limited to a 900 watt Bass, drumpads, and record-scratching fed through a PA system, all piled on top of a 30 year-old guitar riff from Led Zeppelin 2... if that is your definition of Folk, then by God Rap is Folk, no two ways about it. Also, Ricky Martin plays Progressive Jazz, The Strawberry Alarm Clock were leading proponents of Classical Music, and Rick Springfield does Gregorian Chant.

I mean, for Christ's sakes, we are surely an open-minded, all-embracing, life-affirming bunch here at the Mudcat, but wouldn't it be OK if we stood up for our right to tell Shit from Shine-ola?

I am humbled, LEJ


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:01 AM

Wouldn't that be generalising, LeeJ?*BG* I don't think Queen Latifah could be categorised as Shit or Shineola!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:04 AM

Well gawddamn Leej...first off I gotta say that I recently lost a considerable amount of money when a local farmer delivered a load of what he purported to be Shinola to my front yard and, with dollar signs in my eyes, I put the Reg boys on the job of canning it up before it dried out. But when the three of them were blown over the back fence in a methane explosion, I realized I'd been had. Now I'm invested in a patented device to engrave piss pouring instructions on boot heels and am hoping for the best.

Say, could I interest you in a few shares of the "Implosive Pedro Guitar Co." of Texawallahatchie, Mexico?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 01:26 AM

Wellll, Katlaf, isn't generalizing at the heart of defining categories like Folk and Rap? I could certainly say that Pete Seegar stands pretty squarely as an example of Folk, and that The Insane Clown Posse are fairly well entrenched in the Rap camp, that they are generally representative of those types of music, and say that there is almost no common ground between the two, and I feel that I would be quite accurate. Indeed, Queen Latifah and Bob Dylan may move into the gray area that lies between, but I believe that that gray area is at least a mile wide, so wide as to render any inclusion of Rap into Folk Music at least as ridiculous as my other (See First Post) examples.

And Catspaw, I would also strongly suggest you paint Don't Milk! on the flanks of all your bulls, for the safety of all your loveable but naive sidekicks.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 03:41 AM

One day, as I was returning to my car in the parking ramp behind the city court building in Philly, I heard some early Dylan coming out of the attendant's office--I stuck my head in, and there was a young black man, with the hat, the baggies, the shades and the look--we started to chat, and he spent the next twenty minutes playing me his favorite Dylan cuts, stuff like "who killed davey moore"> and "the lonesome death of hattie carroll" and several of the bootleg talking blues, and then this guy pulled out his note book and started reading me raps that he had written--

I swear to you, he had a crew and they were doing spots at the Showcase off of 52nd street, and the whole deal, and this guy knew dylan upside down and inside out--The thing is, that he said that he was not alone--


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jeri
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 08:21 AM

I have a strong feeling the stuff we hear blaring out of other people's music systems is to rap as the stuff coming out of the elevator and supermarket speakers is to folk - or even pop. We hear what record companies think they can make money from, not what's good. When you want to hear folk in its natural environment, you listen to people in their communities, not the box.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Fortunato
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 10:46 AM

IMHO (Thanks kat/katlaughing):

Rap is doggerel, and though some may qualify as verse,I've heard none that rose to poetry.

But unlike Talking Blues it has no relationship to melody. It has a relationship to rhythm.

Chanting over drums has a relationship to rhythm, but it is not called folk music, it is call chanting. It is in the oral tradition, but it is not music.

Rap is, at best, verse spoken over rhythmn, and not music at all.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 03:24 PM

Hi Rick,

I guess my album is doing OK. Thanks for asking. How's yours doin'? I think in the case of folk music type albums, it takes time to find a market. All I can tell you is that I'm happy with what came out and I feel it represents me. I think that if we just hang in there, we'll find our audience, don't you?

I agree with you that folkies have been forgiving about lyric quality and content. I think this is true about much singer/songwriter material. But this has always been true. There were great pop songs from past eras and for every great one, there were forgettable ones.

Would this protest singer from the thirties that you mention be Aunt Molly Jackson or Florence Reese?

"Come all of you good workers, The truth to you I'll tell, Of how the good old union Came in here to dwell.

Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

Don't listen to the bosses, Don't listen to their lies, Us workin' men don't have a chance, Unless we organize!

Which side are you on?"

This mighn't pass muster in an academic poetry class but it's pretty dynamic folk poetry IMHO. It's specific, real, simple and hard-hitting.

Union was a big issue in the days when coal miners were being shot at by strike-breakers and gun thugs hired by the mining companies. Nowadays, when a union is mentioned, one tends to think in terms of Jimmy Hoffa. Today's songwriters might tend to hide themselves behind a plethora of metaphors and waxeth philosophical or exhortative. Don't know how this plays in poetry classe taught by serious poets.

You are right that much folk music is divisive. Some racially insulting. I think, though, if you do take an academic stance in folklore or musicology, there might be a good case for determining that rap is a folk musical style based on musical tradition found in the black community.

Now the question remains, does that mean that "rap" songs are folk songs? This might be another issue. But IMHO they have a promising candidacy to become them in time.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 03:50 PM

Frank I agree with you. By the way, I wasn't talking about Florence Reese. Aunt Molly was quite a disappointment when I finally heard her, but only in the sense that I felt she was being "used" a bit by the New Yorkers, in the same way that some claim Leadbelly was "used". I just didn't think she had much to offer in a "songwriter" sense.

I just don't feel comfortable with the arguments that because rap might be "doggerel, violent, devisive, and (at the top end) a huge cash cow," it ain't folk music. 'Cause it doesn't START at the top level, it starts at street level, and as Leej says "the grey area is a mile wide". Surely it's at least IN that grey area.

Wanna trade albums? What's your e-mail address again, I've lost it. Mine's rfield@interlog.com

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 06:52 PM

I can appreciate the arguments towards rap being part of a folk culture but is rap music? What is music? What is a song? Where do these borders lie?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 07:00 PM

John do you remember those wonderful records that Robert Pete Williams made? Would anyone have suggested that he was not a magnificent folk artist?
If you're not familiar with them, he "talked" long improvised stories about his incarcerations, hopes, etc. and played many festivals during the 60s.
I'm still enjoying this thread.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 07:09 PM

Rick, I am not aware of the artist (my ignorance) but I would think that there is a lot that could argueably be classed as folk but couldn't be classed as music - I am pretty ignorant but there must be a lot of verse that would fit "folk" but not "folk music".

Just asking, like yourself, I am enjoying the thread.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 07:35 PM

I'm not nearly so interested in defining rap as I am in repudiating it in the emergency/crisis state we're in. I know some of you have also worked with disadvantaged children, and can't you see the effect it has on them? I am much more interested in the life of one child than in the absolute freedom of speech of the gangsta crowd. And of course there are intelligent, sincere, intelligent young people out there, like the guy in the booth, who are writing artistic poetry in the rap style. I'd like to see them rise to the top, but that sort of thing doesn't happen in any art form very often. The art of rythmic poetry with music accompaniment has been around a long time (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ken Nordine). We can promote that sort of thing, but that don't sell records to a kid whose immediate culture tells him he's supposed to be a thug.

Many good points here, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 08:30 PM

What possible arguments can you make for rhythm not being music? In its earliest and most simplistic form, music came from the human voice and some percussive sound combination. Find me a musicologist who says otherwise. But as to Rap...Frank makes his own point, "Its not folk now, but it could be."

But I think of this thread as Chet's more than anyones. In his last post I think he makes the best point of all. Its the old "yelling fire in a crowded hall" argument and it always bears the burden of first amendment infringement. But the culture that says its us against them will always triumph, at least for awhile. Worked for Hitler and it works for the gangs. But I can equally choose not to buy it, not to let it be played in my home, to discuss it and see what the proponents like so much....blah, blah, blah........We all know both sides of this debate and it still comes down to one on one with kids...your own and others you might influence.

This could get really drawn out here, but let me say that I don't go in for divisive music.......music that tells of the social condition, yes....music that works for a betterment of that condition, yes......Same reason I don't sing songs of the antagonism of the VietNam era...of the condition and times, yes.....of the devisiveness, no.

Ah to hell with it....I'm a screw up anyway. I need a few days at the Young Center.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 08:44 PM

OK then spaw, here is a question:

Some verses or poems could be read in a very rhythmically but with not melody - does that make it music if it is read in that manner?

Some singers will vary the timing of their songs quite considerably so to a large extent there is a lack of rythym - does that mean it's not music even though it has a melody?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 07:02 AM

Either or both of the above Jon......Much classically constructed music being currently written is done in distonal and styles and odd "almost" rhythms. Its still music as poetry can be or beating drums.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 10:40 AM

Based on the above discussions, perhaps only the passage of time will tell whether or no Rap deserves to be labelled as folk. However it shakes out, Rap has redeeming social value - in the minds of some not as a musical genre, but that reflects personal opinion only - as a window to a world to which most of us aren't privy, or probably wouldn't want to be. It portends to be representative and reflective of a section of our population that feels disenfranchised and alienated from the umbrella of opportunities and benefits usually bestowed on the "acceptable" members of our society: the young urban black American male. It seems as though the large metropolitan areas located on the fringes of the U.S.(specifically New York City and Los Angeles) are at the forefront of styles and fashions (or actions) that eventually spread into every small town nook and cranny of this country. What those cities manifest, for better or worse, is a harbinger of things to come in Anytown, U.S.A. The glimpses of the future they provide can sometimes be harrowing. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking.

Neil Lowe


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 10:54 AM

Chet, you make an interesting point about listening to a music that encourages you to grow up to be a thug. I still think this thread is apples and oranges, and should be two threads: "Is Rap Folk"? and "Divisive Music".
In my teens the music I SHOULD have listened to exclusively (rock and roll) was sending a message to grow up kinda tough, macho and anti-establishment. The music I ACTUALLY gravitated to (Folk) said: be a wanderer, dress in a homespun (hence, VERY hip) way, sing ballads and girls will approach YOU, and think about social issues before your own concerns. Never did my music say "you must kill to be hip". Of course country music always implied to it's devotees that "to protect freedom, killing might be neccessary", but that had a more "in the future, if need be" ring to it. I think you're right about the immediate message of rap. Terribly sad though.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mandochop
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 11:42 AM

Hey all

I just would like to say that those of you who share the standpoint of Chet and Alice seem to me no better than the straight-lacers and rigid conservatives of old who immediately dismissed any form of black music until at least a few decades after it came into being. The exact same thing happened with jazz and blues. Scott Joplin was forced to play in only the sleaziest of bars an restaurants. King Oliver's Creole Band, one of the turning point ventures in jazz and Louis Armstrong's first professional job, was dismissed almost automatically by white society. In this sense, jazz and blues took over 20 years to be accepted as legitimate musical genres. Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight", the first rap record ever, came out in 1979. If rap does not become a significant part of modern and "folk" music to people like Chet and Alice soon, then it will be way behind in the trend.

To answer the ultimate quetion: Rap most definately is folk music. That is, by my own personal definition it is. I consider folk music any music which is considered an original art form and influences other art forms. Rap music started with the street gangs of upper Manhattan and the Bronx, who long before the era of drug trafficking and drive-by shootings competed in 3 areas: beat-boxing, break-dancing, and rapping. Rap was a form of self-expression and competition, and when Wonder-Mic and Master Gee recorded it with the Sugar Hill Gang in 1979, it became one of the most influential forms of music ever. It spawned the entire hip-hop culture, which by my prediction will soon be accepted as an art form of the masters, respected as highly as jazz or blues. Furthermore, in response those of you who think that rap is all bllod and guts and sex and drugs, you obviously have not had a taste of the cream of the rap crop. Try these names for size: Spearhead, Us3, Arrested Developement, Black Star, The Roots (who recently went multi-platinum for their album "Things Fall Apart"),A Tribe Called Quest, and yes, even Puff Daddy. These artists do not fill the heads of america's youth with sin and gore, they merely give young people a sense of enjoyment, appreciation, and confidence when they are played on the local hip-hop station. I myself have done work at the after-school program at the Manchester Craftmen's Guild in the nefarious Manchester region of the north side of Pittsburgh (known for having the highest murder rate in all of Pennsylvania). Here, renowned bassist Dwayne Dolphin (of Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Turrentine fame) runs the music program for urban youth. I have watched as young boys and girls come in day after day, week after week to express their fears, emotions, and dreams through the art form known as rap music. Never do they freestyle about shootings or rape, nor about liquor and drugs, nor about violence and abuse. They simply recite beautiful poetry to lively beats, and the result is something to behold. To me, that is rap music. That is hip-hop.

Rob


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 02:36 PM

Hi Rick,

I'll get in touch with you. Thanks!

As I understand it, Aunt Molly wanted to be "used" in any way she could to advertise the plight of the coal miners. I don't think that Leadbelly was really "used" any more than any performer is "used" by an audience. I think I know what you mean but I'm not sure. I think you're talking about the political scene in the left-wing movement of the time. (This is probably another thread but it might relate to rap). There was a political agenda. As there is with many rap artists. They have some point-of-view to sell which can be interpreted as political. If you say that Leadbelly and Aunt Molly were dupes of the CP then I would have to disagree. If you say however that the audiences for folk music including Leadbelly and Aunt Molly were predominantly left wing I would thoroughly agree with you. Also, there was the other way of looking at it. Leadbelly, Josh White, Burl Ives et.al. "used" the left-wing to furthur their own careers. I don't have a problem with that, though, unless they didn't agree with that philosophy in which case they would have been disingenuous. In those times, regarding the left-wing movement considering the state of the country in the aftermath of the Depression and at the inception of the war years, what was not to like? Not all Lefties were CP-ers or dupes for Stalin. Many were for social reform (maybe like some of today's rap artists) and they thought they had a handle on how to create a better world.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 02:52 PM

Interesting post Mandochop. I hope you stick around in this thread for a while. You've pointed out knowledgably (and certainly forcefully) what I've been trying to say with far less inside info. More articulately as well!

Frank. No, I didn't mean that Aunt Molly and Leadbelly were used by the New Yorkers..just pointing out that I've read how many seemed to think that. Actually I wouldn't put those two names together at all in a music sense. I felt that Leadbelly was a hugely inventive and original musician. Just thought that because someone (I forget who now) said that rap was doggerel (and PERHAPS) because of that was not true folk music, I could think of some VERY accepted trad style writers who certainly wrote no better than that...but were lionized solely on the basis of their politics.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 04:36 PM

Rick, now I understand you better. Yes I can agree that there were some songwriters who might have been lionized principally for their political point of view. I think of a lot of the songs that were disposable as being relevant to a picket line or an immediate cause that have little durability. Some rap may turn out to be this way. It may reflect a moment in time without much substance and then there may be those "raps" that have a life beyond. There is folk song doggerel too. Not all folk songs are wonderful. I can think of offensive variations of minstrel show songs that are not wonderful although unfortunately, there are some that are in that they have infectious melodies and durable images. I think of songs like Jimmy Crack Corn and The Boatman Row which were in the minstrel show tradition.

Regarding Aunt Molly, she was principally a labor organizer and had a traditional folk singing style. I'm sure that she sang many disposable songs in her day as did many other folkies of the time. Pete has sung a few in his day. Whenever there is a body of song material being created, some of it is bound to be "doggerel". Some of the traditional folk songs have been so hacked up through the process that they are fairly unintelligible without footnotes. Here is where I would take the liberty to step in and mess with them so they would make sense to today's audiences. But this may be one of the roles of a "revival" singer.

In a sense, this is what the rap singer does. A lot of the images are caught in the "rap" and borrowed for others. This is kind of a folk process as the ideas adapt to new circumstances. Harlem and Watts have similar conditions. The LAPD and the NYPD may not be far apart in their marginalizing practices. I think of rap as a kind of protest music. This is similar to the style of Fela Anikupalo Kuti in his African pop songs which were based on traditional fusions of African music and jazz. His were basically chants as well. The African chant has a venerable history. Some found Fela so politically offensive that they bombed his home. He was incarcerated for his songs as Victor Jara was. In this, rap isn't all that different in content from Reggae or Calypso music in the Islands. What I'm trying to point out, here, is that rap may have corollary forms over the world, today, which increases it's tendency to be folk music. I find it necessary to keep an open mind that some of it may be quite good and that I haven't had the opportunity to be exposed to that yet. If we thought of folk music as only being that which we heard on the radio (that's being called folk music, today) our appreciation would be limited.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 05:00 PM

It is interesting to me that, through all our discussions of "what is Folk", a sort of consensus was achieved that it was music which had been passed down through and modified in the oral tradition.Dylan, Donovan,Paul Simon and others stand outside this definition as "singer/songwriters" whose work, while sometimes sounding like other songs that meet the above criteria, are not truly Folk.Now I have to ask, is there something about Rap that makes you all think it comes closer to this traditional definition than the above-mentioned singer/songwriters? Why is a song written by Tupac Shakur closer to Folk than one written by Neil Diamond? Is it perhaps because Tupac was black, therefore his music is somehow "representative" of Black Culture?

I am not denigrating Rap by saying itis not fit to be part of Folk (although I think most of it is obnoxious). I am saying, unless you base your opinion on Rap being some kind of "voice of the oppressed" and thereby grant it some special dispensation, it comes no closer to Folk at this time than Neil Diamond comes to Mozart. To go beyond that and say "these songs may someday become part of oral tradition, and are therefore Folk-in-process" is speculative nonsense on the level of saying that the pablum spooned out by the Spice Girls is potentially Folk if we just give it a chance.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Neil Lowe
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 07:25 PM

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away...at www.bustamove.org a similar debate rages whether Dylan's "Talkin' New York" qualifies as rap....


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 07:31 PM

LOL. Neil, I am sure you are right...again!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 27 Oct 99 - 07:42 PM

Let's forget about whether rap is music. I guess I've made music by some of these definitions while I was sitting in the smallest room in the house. (Very traditional, too). Let's say they are essays or editorials or even poetry. Fine. I'm saying that the popular forms of rap are a scourge to some of the most vulnerable young people in the last few centuries, and leads directly (although not by itself by a long shot) to the notion that crime, violence, and "bustin' the bitch's ass" is somehow normal or even justified. The idea that it has or will ever reach the same level of legitimate art as Blues and Jazz is one that I think was last heard on one of the moons of Neptune (I forget their names). If there are positive examples, as I'm sure there are (and not all expression has to be positive and wholesome), how many people do you think know about it, as least as compared to the number of kids in juvenile prison because they were immersed in fulfilling what their immediate culture expected of them. I am not being dramatic when I say that this is a crisis situation.

Thinking way out of the box, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 11:17 AM

Lonesome EJ,

The reason that Rap may transcend popular music as a folk art is because it borrows from historical traditions found in the African American and African Communities. These elements are chanting in a rhythmic fashion that tells of the events of the times and comments on them not unlike that of the ancient Girots in Africa. Rapping used to be called Jiving and was at one time popularized by Fats Waller. There is a longevity here that doesn't apply to Dylan or the Spice Girls who are basically popular performers that reflect the trends and fashions of the music industry. Rap does this too but where it differs is that it is black, not racially, but culturally and this culture has musical antecedents that go back centuries. In this way, Rap may not be new but a re-fashioning of older forms of expression. Leadbelly does a kind of "rap" on his recording of the Rock Island Line. The preaching of Reverend Gary Davis might be close to this in it's improvisational character. I have no doubt but that the talking blues originated in the black eommunity and was appropriated by white performers such as Jimmie Rodgers (The Singing Brakeman) and Woody Guthrie. Talking a song in rhythm is found in many examples of African-American culture. It's improvisational quality is another characteristic.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 11:29 AM

Hmmm, Spice Girls eh? Now I wonder if "Girl Power" could find it's way onto some pre-pubescent picket line? Just kidding! If this thread starts winding down, I just wanna say "Thanks Catters". It's been informative, and reminds me that I find things at Mudcat that are unavailable to me in my "real life" in the big city.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mudjack
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 11:54 AM

Wheemoway, wheemoway wheemoway......Oh that might be catogorized as FOLK. Or a show tune since it was a tune used in a full lentgh cartoon movie.Or by its simplicity a rythymn of chants maybe a work song. It sounds like we are into a tug a war of opinions and taste. If I had to accept John Jacob Niles as a foundation of "FOLK MUSIC" then I guess I'd have to opt for calling myself a rapper. Simply put, his examples of folk music bore me. Modern interpeters have given folk music some life and vitality with heart.
If the academic asses insist on coveting the term "folk" then they can have it. Call it what you want, Maybe it's fulk music I'm into...
Why am I venting on this subject, everyone knows I sing FULK SONGS.
Mudjack the Fulk singer.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 12:25 PM

I agree with Mandochop.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 02:39 PM

Wimoweh was based on a South African round collected by Pete Seeger from the singing of Solomon Linder. Pete was nice enough to be sure he got on the copyright. The original name for Wimoweh was "Mbube" which is harder to sing for non-Africans. It comes out of an established folk tradition of Zulu origin.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lyle
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 05:01 PM

Well, I've got one more question. How can rap be folk music when people are getting *very* rich singing it???

Puzzled


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 06:12 PM

I am promising myself that this will be my last posting on this topic.

First, I think Rap is indeed music. And I would concede that it contains elements of traditional styles, just as nearly all music is highly derivative of preceding styles. Rock n Roll is certainly music that had it's origins in blues, country and western, and swing music. Are the defenders of Folk and Traditional Music as a distinctive genre ready to embrace rock and roll as Folk? Somehow I doubt it, even though as a music of the people, as a music that is derivative of Folk root music, and as a voice for protest it is at least as qualified as Rap.

I 'm afraid that the interest in seeing Rap as Folk either A)reveals the bias that is the achilles heel of most liberal scholars, the need to be thought, or to think of ourselves, as broad-minded enough to embrace as our own anything that runs counter to accepted standards and mores, B)Is an attempt to enhance the range and influence among the young of Folk Music, or C)just a great inflammatory topic for the Forum.

LEJ


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 08:46 PM

What do you mean Rock and Roll isn't folk? The crucial thing that marks out folk is that it's got roots, and you can make it sitting round in a room with your mates, with instruments you can carry around, or indeed, without them.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 28 Oct 99 - 10:53 PM

As I think about, there are quite a few ways in which I am disenfranchised and suppressed, and I certainly get angry once in a while. Maybe that is my Achilles' heel. I guess that makes it ok for me to promote violence and criminals. I've certainly seen a lot of misery, and I've suffered mightily from depression because of it. Maybe I'll write a Carter Family-style song about killing cops, maybe I'll go solicit 8-year olds to sell crack for me at Traditional Music Festivals, maybe a song about abusing women, somtimes to death, maybe I'll greet people with better clothes than mine (which they couldn't possible have worked for) with "Fuck your motherfuckin' mama". After all, I'm angry, and I seriously suffered as a child growing up. Oh, and I'll certainly steal whenever I can, because the fact that the loser worked for his stuff is insignificant next to my historical right to take it. And as a liberal intellectual I'll justify it all, perhaps with a support group of other people whose underage employees are dead or in prison for most of their lives.

Sure beats bitchin' and moanin', Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: sophocleese
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 12:35 AM

Lonesome EJ thank you. I've been mulling this one over in my head most of today trying to find some way of saying what I think. You said most of it. Why are we worried about whether Rap is folk or not? I don't think it is folk music unless you take the broadest possible meaning for the word folk, and include Andrew LLoyd Webber, Palestrina, and King Sunny Ade, and thus render it meaningless as a term. This is perhaps a reflection of the limited definition of Folk music as representing music from a mostly, but not exclusively, European background. That's fine, if we know that, then we know what we're talking about.That doesn't mean that I think Rap has no value. I honestly don't know much about it because whenever I heard anything it seemed to be violent and anti-female. I will accept that there are and can be rappers who do not spout that kind of garbage. Rap may be beautiful to some but it is not the same beauty as folk, its strengths, weaknesses and sounds are different.

If you want to peel, chop, and core every fruit in the kitchen you can mix it together and call it fruit salad, but why waste time trying to convince everybody its all chopped pineapple when you've got strawberries, grapes and peach in it? I like most of those but they taste different.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: DanielRiverwind
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 12:48 AM

Almost everything is folk.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: thosp
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 01:15 AM

i get high from this place !!! all the different opinions -- well expressed and thought out-- so many good points !! --- lonesome -you hit me with a brick, yes rock and roll (by the standards i was thinking about)qualifies as folk exactly in the same way i thought rap did--- sopho -- i guess i have to a rap a rap and a folk a folk etc. maybe not perfect labels but workable as long as we don't write them in mental stones in our minds ! chetW -- valid points for (what i think) is a small but highly visable % of the rap world -- i see so many kids enjoying the music (it grates on my soul)that have nothing to do with drugs and crime --- i tell many of them that i'm an ABR person (anything but rap)--- but i consider it their music --just as folk/rock ect. of each earlier generation --- i think they are glad that older people dont like it --- enough said --before i ramble on


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 01:22 PM

I'm inclined to think that it probably is... but I would have to listen to it to form a real opinion and I prefer folk music with music.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mandochop
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 07:03 PM

Chet,

I find it offensive that you think you can generalize about rap because you have seen a few disturbed kids while working in a juvenile detention center. You seem to think that for some reason the rap they listen to is the popular standard and is therefore ruining america's youth. What you dont realize is that these kids you work with are most definately exceptions and that it is not rap that has ruined them, but bad upbringing in a most likely impovershed and abusive environment. Try thinking a more in the box, and your perspective may widen a little. Hip-Hop Crusader, Mandochop


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 07:22 PM

Sorry to offend. No one I know has a broader perspective about music, if that's what you mean. And I haven't seen a few kids, I've seen several thousand in prison, and 1800 more at the "regular" public high school where I started working this year. I'll repeat again, for the sake of clarity, that music, movies, and all the other media do not "make" anybody do anything. It is just as you said about the upbringing and so forth. But rap music and movies certainly do, in bulk, make the violence and criminality seem a lot more normal, especially when the immediate neighborhood expects you to be a thug anyway. At the prison where I worked, 83% of our kids went on to Adult Corrections, many of them for a lot of years. Half of them will be dead or in prison for life before they're twenty-five. My kids at my current school imitate that behavior (violent and criminal) as much as each of them feels they should or are comfortable with. I am normally tolerant of just about anything people want to do that doesn't hurt anybody. I'm reminded of the case a few years ago where a Klan leader told a group of skinheads at a rally to go out and "kill some niggers". And that is exactly what a group of them did when they found an African college student on the street. The heroic attorney (sincere about that) Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center sued on behalf of the student's parents and pretty much bankrupted the Klan. If he can be held accountable for that (as he most certainly should), why should the gangsta rappers be tolerated for basically the same thing? Most of the time you will hear me saying "Live and Let Live", but this is a crisis that is underestimated, misunderstood, and deadly. I will be active against rap as long as it goes on as it is.

Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 07:50 PM

Something has made it acceptable to children of today to consider violence their only option. I think it is a combination of things and I think that Mandochop and Chet, both, have very valid points.

There is a warning out in COlorado right now; gang initiates are driving aorund with their lights off, at night, waiting for someone to flash their lights at them. In order to be fully a member they have to follow that car and kill its occupants.

What in heaven's name is making kids think that is the way to live? Tv, movies, home life, music. I think they are overloaded. we can say, we saw those things when growing up, too, but it was nowhere near as prevelant, even when my kids were younger.

I've been thinking about this a lot, lately. Sometimes, it feels like we are under seige by the angry and violent young people. I have to remember to tell myself to look at the kids who aren't in the news, who don't act out their anger in destructive ways. Still...my youngest at 22, has always felt her generation would see an all-out, bloody and violent revolution, and she's always been a bit "fey". I hope that she is wrong.

Wishful thinking - that every parent would limit tv, watch it with their kids and teach them critical thinking, as well as movies and music, and the Web. sadly, I do not believe the majority of parents are able or willing. So what do we do?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mandochop
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 08:22 PM

Thanks, Kat for the insight. However, I still think that what you're talking about is a vast minority of youth. In a country of 270 million+, the youth inspired by the media, pop culture, and music to kill and maim is going to be an incredibly small number compared to the whole. Think of other third world countries where the youth dont even have a prayer on the street and be grateful for a Western standard of living. So you might say, "Why do we need rap at all if it only inspires to kill?", which brings me to my next point. You can't dismiss rap as an art form simply because it is a rabble rouser or because you dont like it. Like so many other movements (modern art, etc.) rap may have contributed to the deaths of many people (even if, as in my opinion, it is a very small contribution), but that doesnt make it any less of an art form. What is there to say that rap is responsible for any death or violence. Simply rationalizing your position by saying rap contributes to a "lifestyle" involving violence is not enough. In the cases Chet is talking about, it is simply part of a cycle. You grow up on the streets, you suffer abuse and poverty, you are mistreated, you join a gang, you react to your misfortune with violence. The fact that rap is a part of these kids' life does not mean that it is their inspiration. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to see victims of this lifestyle up close as Chet has, watch the movie "Menace II Society", a movie that depicts rather accurately the sort of situation someone living in Watts or Harlem might have to deal with (in this case Watts). The characters are violent because it is the only proper reaction in their minds. It is not proper because rap music has told them it is proper, but because it is a natural reaction. In general, the em-cee is not making an influential speech, but commenting on the severity and reality of situations with which Urban American Youth are forced to deal with.

Rob (Mandochop)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 08:52 PM

Madochop, thank you for some more good points. I never singles rap out solely, in fact I brought up Queen Latifah earlier and mentioned protesting for 2LiveCrew's freedom of speech.

I am saying tha tv, first and foremost, and movies, second, have way too much influence on children of today. They see much more violence on both, than ever before in our society. Today in Cleveland they had close a school because they found a plan by some kids to shoot the place up including certian faculty and kids. What makes them thik they ahev a right to do so? Along wiht tv and movies, come home environment, BUT, even in affluent, white homes, I know parents who are educated who think nothing of letting their 6 yrs old on up watch terribly vilent shows andmovies, I would never have allowed my kids to watch.

I think parents have abdicated their responsibilities big time, partly due to the lack of support for them when they ha to work etc. No rap isn't the only factor, but to that kid who is vulnerable, like the one's Chet has seen, it can be a mighty contributor. And, even if those are in the minority, as you say, what will it do to the majority who will end up supporting those in the prisons etc. and how much will it cost them to try to turn the whole thing around, for that is squarely where it going to fall in the future.

And, then, dare I mention gun control? NO! If anyone is interested in that debate, we had a few months back and I don't think any of us wants to go through THAT, again. If you want to read it, let me know and one of us can refer you to it, but please don't refresh the thread.

Parents should control the content of their children's lives and/or chare the content in a critical thinking way; teaching their kids to think things through.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Chet W.
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 10:12 PM

Thanks, Kat, you said it better than I did. Mando man, I don't think you and I will ever agree on the fine points of this discussion. I will tell you that for the kids I worked with in prison, rap was a very big part of their identities. They did it all the time. When they weren't actually regurgitating rap albums, they were doing the beats on desktops, windows, whatever. Maybe it's just in South Carolina. I don't have direct experience with imprisoned kids in Watts or Bed-Stuy. But I can tell you that in South Carolina, rap and rappers are monumentally important to just about all of my students in the prison, black, white, Latino, and other. The only notable exception is a small subset of white kids who were heavily into Death Metal. I will also tell you that I counted a lot of those kids as my friends. I miss them terribly (I am not too macho to say). And while I was there, rarely did a whole month go by that I didn't hear that one of the ones who went home was dead. Teenagers. I will not get over that, nor, I hope, would you, and I will condemn anything that contributed even a small percentage to lives that never got to be lived.

I guess we might as well stop, Chet


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Mandochop
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 11:59 PM

I guess so.

Kat, you had some very fine points. Chet, I agree with you totally, yet I think you are addressing the wrong problem. As Kat said, what about the guns? I think we all need to take into account a few other factors to find the best opinions we can have. Let's call it a night.

Rob (Mandochop)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Oct 99 - 11:59 PM

Well-said, Chet. Just a note: when I am empassioned, my typing accuracy goes out the window, a very large window. I really am an excellent speller and grammarian, contrary to what the above looks like! Sorry. kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: sophocleese
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 12:38 AM

I think that it is one of the misfortunes of popular radio, rap etc. that it often speaks ONLY to the reality of life as it is lived now. It doesn't speak much to the possibilities of the future. It is marvelous, when you think that no one has heard you before, to finally find someone who talks about your own experiences, who can relate at an immediate level to your immediate and, often, overwhelming problems. BUT simple reiteration of the difficulties is not a way to solve them. Effort needs to be put into long term alleviation of the problems not short term gratification of revenge motives. Part of the difficulty, I think, that Chet can see with a lot of Rap, is that it hooks people by giving them that short term gratification ( and lets face it, it is an arousing and exciting feeling else why so many murder and revenge ballads?) at the expense of long term alleviation of underlying structural problems. I am not saying that there aren't any problems or that to solve these problems you must work only within the system. But I don't think that violence is the only path to change outside of the system, in fact violence is firmly entrenched within it. There are, and must be, other ways. Commercialization/corporatization of any kind of street music, as it applies to those who are at war and/or risk within a society, will not advocate realistic and constructive changes to the system. Large corporations don't want change they want sales and profits.

Sophocleese


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Oct 99 - 01:00 AM

Good points, sophocleese. Mandochop, sorry for the typo in your name and I guess we were posting at the same time last.

You are right, we should let it rest for awhile.

kat


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 06:53 PM

In view of the Mercury award 2003 I thought I might refresh this.

DAve


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Reiver 2
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 08:43 PM

I've just skimmed through this thread, but I was thrilled and envious to read Katlaughing's post about having dinner with Morris Dees. He's one of my heroes, too. The man deserves the Nobel Peace Prize in my opinion for his work in Teaching Tolerance and in taking on the neo-Nazi hate groups.

As for the topic: I think Rap might qualify as being considered as "folk". I'm not sure it can be considered as music. So "folk", yes, "folk music", no. It may well be part of the identity for young blacks, but its proper classification would be as Doggerel Verse (which I suppose can also be considered "folk" but not "folk music.") Now, where do we put "Hip-Hop"?

Reiver 2 (remember me, Kat?)


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 11:09 PM

Rap at it's best is poetry, sometimes quite powerful. Music? No, not as we know it. In a century or two, who knows? When the skops and skalds sang of Beowulf, was that music? No, not as we know it.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 12:07 AM

Not all music is melodic, not all music is harmonic. Much music is entirely rhythmic, as any drumming enthusiast knows. Rap is rhythmic and has the added dimension of being lyrical as well.
You may not like it, but it is music.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 01:15 AM

HeyaReiver2 - you bet I do! Welcome back!*bg*


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Frankham
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 02:38 PM

Rap can be seen as a cultural expression. It may be wider than we associate it with the radio. It may be just part of the bigger realm of hip hop which may be part of a bigger picture, the music of African-Americans. The idea of spontaneosly making up verses adn couplets is a feature of African-American folklore. The violence in rap is only to be matched in the content of the Child Ballads, outlaw ballads, Grimm Fairy Tales or even in "Rock-a-bye-Baby". It's currency scares me, though. It refers to things going on in the streets today. But as I am given to understand it, there are subject matters that are not offensive in some alternative rap.

I guess we'll have to see whether it lasts long enough in the future to be a "folk music". But it has venerable antecedents.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 02:42 PM

Rap is Crap.

Great poetry, I think.

Also, a popular opinion among most white people over 40.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 03:07 PM

I really do have difficulty hearing what the rap artist (and here I might say whoever) is actually rapping about. I am clearly too old!!

From an interview with the music teacher on Radio 4 it seems like Dylan I think his name is was a lucky lad gaining respect and recognition from a teacher after being expelled from four schools. It seems he did have something different according to his teacher. And he did say he will give the some of the money to youth clubs or similar.

White and over forty.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 03:25 PM

Wow, that's makes two of us Dave.

Rap is crap.

This is tremendous folk music, this rap. There are well over 100 posts here analyzing this as folk music and I'll bet not one of the posters is an 18 year old angry afro-american male.

You have to start wondering what is really worth the bandwidth on some discussions.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Deckman
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 03:29 PM

NO!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 03:35 PM

Rap does appear to have it's detractors in the over 40 crowd. I am amazed that people can still say "rap isn't music". I think the biggest issue is that "rap" isn't like the music that they are accustomed to. There are definite rhythms and musical patterns taking place and the emphasis is on the word.   What most people are considering "folk" is nothing more than two or three chords and a singer warbling on a few scattered notes.   Many field recordings of songs offer a drone like rendition of the supposed "song". Do we question whether that is music?

Personally I think that rap will be around for awhile. This isn't an overnight phenomenon. Rap music can clearly be indentified as "rap" going back to the 1970's, but it goes much further.    You can hear it's roots in the music of the Georgia Sea Islands - listen to some of the game songs like "Hambone" and you will detect the similarities.

A few weeks ago on my radio program I played a cut from the new Alan Lomax Songbook collection.   Woody Guthrie gave an introduction to "Do Re Mi" that consisted of a few lines of rhyming. I am sure you would call it poetry, but if you hear the inflection that Guthrie was giving it really reminds one of today's rap music. I have no doubt that Woody and Lead Belly, if they were coming up today, would be using the styles of rap to get their messages heard.

Ron Olesko


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 11 Sep 03 - 03:51 PM

I never said it's not music. some feel that locusts rubbing there legs together is music, also.

It's crappy music. And how can you not be accustommed to hearing it when you hear it "vibrating" out of so many cars.

You have no doubts about Woody and Leadbelly? Of course you knew them personally to assume this.

There are a lot of people who could care less if this form of "music" will be around for a while. Ever try to whistle along with a rap "tune?"


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:05 PM

Gee Martin, chill! I never claimed that you were the one that said rap is not music. Don't feel guilty! There were others that said that.

As for your wisecrack about my knowing Woody and Lead Belly (two words, not one)please note that I used the word "I" which means it is just an opinion. Just like yours. No need to take it personally and no need to demean someone else.

I'm not a fan of rap either, but that doesn't mean I would deny that many people are attracted to the style for the same reasons that we choose the music we like to listen to.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:08 PM

i reckon rap music is rubbish.john


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 02:59 PM

Well Ron, the difference was that my opinion was just mine, not yours and what you think Woody and Lead Belly would think, also.

I'm not assuming. Nor was I name dropping.

But, I'm glad you don't like rap, either. You must be white and over 40 like me, I guess.

I wasn't demenaing. I was just being annoyed.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 03:38 PM

Sorry to annoy you Martin!! This is only a discussion, please don't take things personally. It really should be assumed that people are giving their opinions in a discussion.

I wish I was name dropping about Woody and Lead Belly, but I guess you did not understand my point. The point (MY OPINION) is that Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Ledbetter used folk music to get their message out to an audience.   Guthrie is on record saying that he used popular tunes because if he wanted people to learn HIS songs, he had a better chance of getting results if he started with a song they were already familiar with. It is easier to remember new words to an old song.

I (me) do think (opinion) that Mr. Guthrie and Mr. Ledbetter(no personal contact here) if they were coming up today(meaning they were two young kids in 2003) would PROBABLY (okay, I will use that word to even further distance myself from making it sound definitive) use rap music to get their message out to a new audience. In 2003, the odds are better for reaching YOUNG people in union organizing or in prisons or in schools by using RAP MUSIC (again my opinion in case that wasn't understood).

I don't like rap, but that is nothing to be glad about. I detest Gilbert & Sullivan as well, but that doesn't mean I think that G&S are without merit. I am over 40 and white, and the music I grew up with remains the style that I listen to - and that is probably true for most people.

Martin, I remember in another thread you spoke out against people who dismiss groups like the Kingston Trio. (I agree with you!) People choose to make their own definition of folk music, and this lengthy thread shows the same issue being applied to rap music. I really don't think their is a right or wrong. Some people will hear music in rap (I do, even though I don't enjoy the style) and some people won't. Some people hear music in Frank Zappa and others don't. Some people hear a one note drone coming from Bob Dylan and dismiss his music, others call it folk.   If there were a way to definitively answer this age old question, we would probably have world peace in our time.

Ron


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 04:23 PM

I think if Gilbert & Sullivan were around today they would be getting the good word out about rap, also. Them being champions of people in prison and angry young black men.

Don't you think so, too?

I agree about the Dylan one-note drown thing.

As for world peace, I have no answers, but I would start by trying to find a way to get through to a certain religious group that's about 95% in the middle east. Much more impact than what anyone thinks about Frank Zappa.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 04:27 PM

I guess rambling is a form of rap


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 04:53 PM

I'm glad you think so!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 04:58 PM

But is any of this art?????


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 05:28 PM

Art who?


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 05:39 PM

Figure it out!!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 06:03 PM

Art Carney.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 06:07 PM

I'm white and 57 years old, and I like rap music, some rap music that is. Like any genre, some rap music is awful, a lot of it is mediocre, and some of it is very good. Ice T's Cop Killer, for example, a lot of Tupac's stuff, and almost anything by Professor Louie.

For those who don't know...

Cop Killer by Ice T

I got my black shirt on.
I got my black gloves on.
I got my ski mask on.
This shit's been too long.

I got my twelve gauge sawed off.
I got my headlights turned off.
I'm 'bout to bust some shots off.
I'm 'bout to dust some cops off.

Cop killer, better you than me.
Cop killer, f--- police brutality!
Cop killer, I know your family's grievin'.
Cop killer, but tonight we get even.

I got my brain on hype.
Tonight will be your night.
I got this longassed knife,
And your neck looks just right.

My adrenaline's pumpin'.
I got my stereo bumpin'.
I'm 'bout to kill me somethin'
A pig stopped me for nothin'!

Cop killer, better you than me.
Cop killer, f--- police brutality!
Cop killer, I know your mama's grievin'.
Cop killer, but tonight we get even.

Ice T, who played a policeman in th movie New Jack City, said the followin about the song: "I'm singing in the first person as a character who is fed up with police brutality. I ain't never killed no cop. I felt like it a lot of times. But I never did it."

For comparison, let me show you this song and see if you can guess who wrote it? Hint: it was a pair of songwriters that most Mudcatters would likely praise.


66 Highway Blues

There is a Highway from coast to the coast,
New York to Los Angeles,
I'm a-goin' down that road with troubles on my mind,
I got them 66 Highway Blues.

Every old town that I ramble around,
Down that lonesome road,
The police in your town they shove me around,
I got them 66 Highway Blues

Makes me no difference wherever I ramble,
Lord, wherever I go,
I don't wanna be pushed around by the police in your town,
I got them 66 Highway Blues.

I've been on this road for a mighty long time,
Ten million more just like me,
You drive us from your town, we ramble around,
I got them 66 Highway Blues.

Sometimes I think I'll blow down a cop,
Lord, they treat me so mean,
I done lost my gal, I aint got a dime,
I got them 66 Highway Blues.

Sometime I think I'll get me a gun,
Thirty eight or big forty four
But a number for a name and a big ninety-nine,
Is worse than 66 Highway Blues.

I'm gonna start me a hungry man's union,
Aint gonna charge no dues,
Gonna march down that road to the Wall Street wall,
Singing those 66 Highway Blues.

If you haven't already guessed, the words are by Woody Guthrie. And the tune is by none other than Pete Seeger. It looks like Ice T isn't the only person who had those thoughts, nor is he the only one who ever put those thoughts into a song.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: harvey andrews
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 07:02 PM

Rap is a form of music like any other. What I object to is the fact that it has a representation in the media far beyond the size of its audience. If all musics had a fair media representation there would be no arguement, but why is it that every store and supermarket insists I listen to angry teenagers shouting at me over their sound systems. It appears to be all pervasive. The Mercury awards offered various musical styles as equal in importance, but I'll bet I never hear Eliza Carthy on my shopping trips!


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 07:14 PM

If Eliza Carthy sold as many CD's as Eminem you would see more media representation.   For better or worse, the media backs the big sellers. It builds ratings.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: harvey andrews
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 07:27 PM

The media MAKES the big sellers Ron. People generally buy what they hear, see the movies hyped on the circuit, buy the books hyped in the shops. If Eliza got the same media exposure, newspaper articles, PR backing, mega bucks investment...who'd have heard of Eminem?
Most people follow the herd..business milks them.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 10:05 PM

I'm not sure if I agree with you Harvey. If hype sells, then Gigli would have been the #1 box office draw of the summer. The media does not MAKE the big seller, they merely ride the wave.   The media jumps on the bandwagon and THEN hypes the hell out of it when they smell success. There were numerous articles about Eliza when she signed on with Warner and the record was pushed to the radio stations, but by and large the public did not really care. So why would the media keep hyping something that the majority doesn't care to see? There are many one hit wonders who are dropped when the public loses interest. Remember Hanson, the Backstreet Boys or The Spice Girls? Once the public starts to lose interest, the media forgets them. Commercial radio stations aren't going to play songs that people aren't going to listen to.

Please, don't think that I am knocking Eliza Carthy. Nothing would satisfy me more than to see her at next years MTV Video Music Awards, but realistically it won't happen and frankly it doesn't matter. Her music has followers and she is an enormous talent. However, by and large the public doesn't want to think about the music they listen to. Eminem is an exception, but I often wonder if people are really understanding what he is singing (or rapping) about.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: LadyJean
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 10:19 PM

Fredrick Douglass described something very similar to rap performed by slaves on the plantations where he lived. I believe rap has it's roots in African tradition, and was born of a traditional folk art.

This having been said, I would like to track down the next idiot who drives past my apartment in the wee hours of the morning, playing rap at top volume, find out when he sleeps, and drive past HIS residence playing some of my favorite bagpipe music at top volume.


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Subject: RE: Is Rap Folk?
From: GUEST,pdq
Date: 12 Sep 03 - 11:23 PM

Rap is a form of violence and is not music. It allows the lowest, moronic losers to beat up the rest of society with noise, when in reality, they would rather do it with their fists, their feet, or their knives. The rise of (c)rap corresponds to the technological advances that put 500 watt amps and dual 18 inch sub-woofers in cars. Without their 120 dB stink noise, many of these urban terrorists shrink back to the tiny, worthless rodents that they truly are. Clear enough? If you have never been in the middle of this assault, your opinion has no validity whatever.


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