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#1127120 - 04/27/17 06:46 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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tanell59 Offline
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One other thing, this "troll" was the only person on the forum to actually download Spotify, and listen..intently mind you, to all the nominees music. None of the so called swell board member guys did as much to even acknowledge these people.

Once they weren't nominated, they didn't care. And to not give credit to deserving artists, is MY definition of a troll

Last edited by tanell59; 04/27/17 06:47 PM.
#1127417 - 05/05/17 03:32 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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couchgrouch Online content
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couchgrouch  Online Content
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Mike, thanks for the definition of art. I clicked on the link, then I went cross-eyed. Still waiting for the link to a single good melody, well written lyric or hell, just one good song by a rapper. Rap's been around 40 years...there ought to be ONE. otherwise, a topic with this title has just as much validity: The Art of Armpit Farts.

Brian, I'm beginning to think you don't know what a good argument is. It's something quantifiable...not nebulous intellectual definitions. C'mon, dude...put up. Post a lyric by Kendrick Lamar that isn't a piece of garbage. Don't tell me what other people say about him. Post...one...lyric.


Ps there seem to be some who don't like rap but feel obligated to concede it as "art", just not "high art". Regarding that, Raymond Chandler once said, "There are no vital and significant forms of art, there is only art...and precious little of that ".

Dithering about whether rap fits into an XXXL definition of art is beside the point. It's just rubbish. In my opinion.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 05/05/17 03:48 PM.
#1127418 - 05/05/17 05:20 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
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CG,

First, who says the most important thing about Rap is the lyrics? And I could post the lyrics to the winning Song of the Year at the Grammy's for many years where the lyrics were clearly not the reason it won. Check the list out, it's full of everything: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammy_Award_for_Song_of_the_Year

One example that comes to mind is Norah Jones' Don't Know Why. Here's the lyric:

I waited 'til I saw the sun
I don't know why I didn't come
I left you by the house of fun
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come
When I saw the break of day
I wished that I could fly away
Instead of kneeling in the sand
Catching teardrops in my hand
My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind
Forever
Out across the endless sea
I would die in ecstasy
But I'll be a bag of bones
Driving down the road alone
My heart is drenched in wine
But you'll be on my mind
Forever
Something has to make you run
I don't know why I didn't come
I feel as empty as a drum
I don't know why I didn't come
I don't know why I didn't come

Yawn. But as a song, it works even with these banal lyrics. The performance and melody work. Sometimes it is all about the production. Sometimes it is about the attitude and that is where a lot of Rap songs find success. The attitude.

NWA's Fight The Power:

[Intro]
Yet our best trained, best educated, best equipped, best prepared troops refuse to fight. As a matter of fact, itís safe to say that they would rather switch than fight

[Alt. Intro]
W-E-L-O-V-E 108 FM

[Verse 1]
1989 the number another summer (get down)
Sound of the funky drummer
Music hitting your heart cause I know you got soul
(Brothers and sisters, hey)
Listen if you're missing y'all
Swinging while I'm singing
Giving whatcha getting
Knowing what I know
While the Black bands sweating
And the rhythm rhymes rolling
Got to give us what we want
Gotta give us what we need
Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

[Hook]
Fight the power
We've got to fight the powers that be

[Verse 2]
As the rhythm designed to bounce
What counts is that the rhymes
Designed to fill your mind
Now that you've realized the pride's arrived
We got to pump the stuff to make us tough
From the heart
It's a start, a work of art
To revolutionize make a change nothing's strange
People, people we are the same
No we're not the same
Cause we don't know the game
What we need is awareness, we can't get careless
You say what is this?
My beloved lets get down to business
Mental self defensive fitness
(Yo) bum rush the show
You gotta go for what you know
Make everybody see, in order to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power

[Hook]
Fight the power
We've got to fight the powers that be

[Verse 3]
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant [naughty word removed] to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother [naughty word removed] him and John Wayne
Cause I'm Black and I'm proud
I'm ready and hyped plus I'm amped
Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
Don't worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) lets get this party started right
Right on, c'mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

[Hook]
Fight the power
We've got to fight the powers that be

That lyric speaks to an entire community is ways the most brilliant lyric from country music could never begin to. Know your audience and meet their needs/desires/likes. Add to lyric the aggressive Rap performance dripping with testosterone, the driving but very simplistic music just accentuates the rest of the piece. This is more than a song, it is a call to arms to an entire generation of one community, but also connected with youth of all races because of it's infectious chorus and driving beat and attitude.

Comparing "Don't know why":which the Grammy's honored as Song of the Year to "Fight the power" it isn't even close, Fight the Power is a far better song.

Watch the video for context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_t13-0Joyc

Here's Don't Know Why as a comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO4dxvguQDk

That's one simple example of two very famous tracks. It's culturally different, meant for very different tastes. I can appreciate the final product of both, but make no mistake, Fight The Power is a much more meaningful song in context and as a standalone.

For that matter, compare it side by side with the 1989 Grammy Song of the Year (the same exact year of Fight The Power, which references Don't Worry Be Happy in its lyric)

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"

Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry, be happy)
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry, be happy)

Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don't worry, be happy
The land lord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don't worry, be happy
(Look at me I'm happy)

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be Happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me, I make you happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh

Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
Ain't got no gal to make you smile
But don't worry, be happy
'Cause when you worry your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don't worry, be happy
Don't worry, be happy now

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy

Now there, is this song I wrote
I hope you learned it note for note
Like good little children
Don't worry, be happy
Listen to what I say
In your life expect some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy, be happy now

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy

Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry, don't worry, don't do it, be happy)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
(Put a smile on your face, don't bring everybody down)
Ooh, ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(Don't worry)
Ooh oo-ooh ooh ooh oo-ooh
(It will soon pass, whatever it is)
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
Don't worry, be happy
Ooh oo-ooh oo-ooh
I'm not worried, I'm happy

That's not exactly deep either. It's not as meaningful as Fight The Power, yet the mainstream also honored it with "Song of the Year" and didn't even nominate Fight The Power against it. And "Song of the Year" is a writer's award.

So let's get away from the aggressive testosterone fueled hyperbole of NWA and move on to a mainstream rap song like Tennessee. Here's the lyric:

Tennessee

Lord, I've really been real stressed, down and out, losing ground
Although I am black and proud, problems got me pessimistic
Brothers and sisters keep messin' up, why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go to let these ghosts out of my skull
My grandma past my brother's gone, I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel, not just my spare tire
(Home!) But Lord, I ask you
(Home!) to be my guiding force and truth
(Home!) For some strange reason it had to be
(Home!) he guided me to Tennessee
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Lord it's obvious we got a relationship
Talkin' to each other every night and day
Although you're superior over me
We talk to each other in a friendship way
Then outta nowhere you tell me to break
Outta the country and into more country
Past Dyesburg and Ripley
Where the ghost of childhood haunts me
Walk the roads my forefathers walked
Climb the trees my forefathers hung from
Ask those trees for all their wisdom
They tell me my ears are so young (Home)
Go back, from whence you came (Home)
My family tree, my family name (Home)
For some strange reason it had to be (Home)
He guided me to Tennessee (Home)
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Now I see the importance of history
Why my people be in the mess that they be
Many journeys to freedom made in vain
By brothers on the corner playin' ghetto games
I ask you, Lord why you enlightened me
Without the enlightenment of all my folks
He said, cuz I set myself on a quest for truth
And he was there to quench my thirst
But I am still thirsty
The Lord allowed me to drink some more
He said what I am searching for are
The answers to all which are in front of me
The ultimate truth started to get blurry
For some strange reason it had to be
It was all a dream about Tennessee
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Take me to another place, take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me, let me understand your plan
Oh, won't you let me, won't you help me
won't you help me understand your plan
Take me home, take me home, home, take me to another place
Take me home, take me home, home, take me to another place

Here's the song which was a hit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VCdJyOAQYM

I could go on and on. If you don't like the music, who care? Both songs have been vetted by the public and the public approved. I am not a Rap music listener, though I do have both of these albums, I am not their target audience in any way, but I still enjoy the work. There's tons of other examples. For you to suggest that lyrics are remotely the most important part of any song is a joke to start with. Production, the musical hook combined with the lyric hook, the performance, the target audience and how you serve it are all more important that the overall lyric, especially the verses. Once you get past the lyrical hook, the lyrics are an afterthought for most songs. Few people can accurately recant the lyrics to even their favorite songs. But they can recall the groove, the musical hook, the singers voice, the instrumental riffs with pretty good accuracy. I bet if you asked anyone off the street their 10 favorite all time songs and then offered them 1000 bucks if they could write down the entire lyric correctly from any of them, they likely couldn't get any of them exactly right, even though they may have loved that song for decades. Often people don't even know what songs they like are even about. And if you only look at music through the lense of Country music you're way too limited in your scope and understanding of music. Get away from that genre where people tend to care more about lyrics than any other genre, and you'll see that lyrical content beyond the hook is irrelevant to whether people like or love a song.


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1127419 - 05/05/17 06:01 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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couchgrouch Online content
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NWA's lyric and "music" is garbage. I remember that from nearly 30 years.

Tennessee wasn't as awful as Fight the Power...it's just dull. The simplistic loop, the tuneless, monotone vocal. The "hook" in the chorus only stands out because of the complete lack of melody and musicianship in the vss. And of course, the lyric is a yawner.

Regarding Norah, you're way more impressed by awards than I am. But at least Norah's song has a very pretty melody. "My heart is drenched in wine" is a wonderful line, beautifully sung. There is none of that in either of the rap tracks you posted. If those two tracks are the best you can come up with, that's sad.

I don't think lyrics are the most important part of a song, never have. But rap is utterly musically bankrupt, as demonstrated by your two examples. Lyrics are all that's left. Which rappers are either mediocre at writing, or terrible, as demonstrated by your two examples.

You proved nothing. I stand by every word I said.


Ps...I wouldn't say NWA is powered by testosterone. I'd say that about The Who. I'd say NWA is powered by a complete lack of musical and lyrical talent. They're a joke.
They know their audience all right...so does Larry Flynt.

Last edited by couchgrouch; 05/05/17 06:08 PM.
#1127421 - 05/05/17 06:52 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Houston, Texas
Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
CG,

First, who says the most important thing about Rap is the lyrics?



Me, for one. I expect that Eminem would agree.

#1127432 - 05/06/17 04:35 AM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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Kolstad Offline
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Dam* Brian, that was one of the best posts I've ever read here at JPF!!!
Popular songs are speaking to communities of people, regardless of general attempts to judge their musical, literary and poetic qualities.

Truth revealed, context is so important, YES.


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#1127443 - 05/06/17 01:21 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Kolstad]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Kolstad


Truth revealed, context is so important, YES.


A contrasting viewpoint...

Context is clearly important. "Folsum Prison" as a time and place comes to mind.

However, one can imagine a fiery orator running for congress in the antebellum South delivering an impassioned speech from some courthouse steps that he had delivered days before to a klan rally. To incite the crowd to support him, his speech might have some "artistic" elements. He might be well received over a wide area, given the antebellum context. He might have won by a landslide in 1858.

Would an enthusiastic and broad reception make his speeches great?

As an orator, Hitler was profoundly effective in post WW1 Germany. He was a painter and could paint a speech against the background of an angry and frustrated German society to fire up a crowd. Were his speeches "great?"

Maybe some historians think so. For me, crowd response is not the ultimate measure of greatness. Something intrinsic in the way that the principles of art apply to a work of art make it truly great...or not.

I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard, "I hope You Dance" on the radio. I was in my car, in Houston traffic, on the loop. The song is sappy and full of sappy platitudes, but to my sensibilities...a profound work of art in the way that it blends the music, with the sentiment, with the actual words chosen. Imo...it has few equals. Not because of how many people liked it, but because of how artistic it is.

https://www.thoughtco.com/elements-of-composition-in-art-2577514

I've heard some rap, that I thought was real good and made nice word choices, had good juxtapositions, and manicured them to the beat ingeniously. But, only a few and I didn't take note of them, to be able to reference them here, because wrap isn't my thing.

But I've heard all sorts of rap that was popular from artists like Jayzee and Kayne West that had all sorts of popularity and build up, but lacked any artistic elements that made it great in any way...to my ear...other than having a broad audience....imho.

Another note on context..."Popular Music" is largely intended to be a "beer drunk." Sometimes, it's even about being drunk on beer. Calling it "great art" is a stretch most of the time.

Disclaimer: the above thoughts and sensibilities are worth what you paid to read them. wink






#1127446 - 05/06/17 03:58 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
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I stopped reading once you attempted to compare someone's music to the Klan and Hitler.... surely you can do better than that.


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#1127447 - 05/06/17 04:09 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Originally Posted by Brian Austin Whitney
I stopped reading once you attempted to compare someone's music to the Klan and Hitler.... surely you can do better than that.



Brian

If...you stopped reading, it was to be a contrarian and to hoist yourself up on to a "high horse."

You are smart enough to know that I was not making a direct comparison of rap to extemists but an illustrative point about art.

Using politically correct and sanitized illustrations is not always at the front of my mind. I didnt anticipate that it was required here.

#1127448 - 05/06/17 04:27 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Trentb]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Online content
Brian Austin Whitney  Online Content


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It's an old axiom, the first person to invoke Hitler loses the argument. At best it was a lazy attempt at point making. Then adding in the Klan when trying to make a point about a black art form doubled down. No thanks. If you think pointing out something so obvious puts me on a high horse that's a "you" problem.


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#1127451 - 05/06/17 05:20 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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I've seen the recurrent argument on song sites that songs are great if and because they are popular. My reasons for invoking the antebellum South and Hitler is because of the role that collective passions can play in making something popular...and because...people are generally familiar with those examples.

What? ...old axiom?

I wasn't addressing you. I was addressing another commenter and prefaced it with..."a contrasting viewpoint" so as not to seem argumentative.

You...then...introjected youself with a dismissive insult for the purpose of creating and amplifying a side issue into a cliche argument and then mounting the high horse.

Now didn't you?

No..no...really. Didn't you?


#1131486 - 10/18/17 03:10 PM Re: The Art Of Rap [Re: couchgrouch]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Posts: 3
Originally Posted by couchgrouch
NWA's lyric and "music" is garbage. I remember that from nearly 30 years.

Tennessee wasn't as awful as Fight the Power...it's just dull. The simplistic loop, the tuneless, monotone vocal. The "hook" in the chorus only stands out because of the complete lack of melody and musicianship in the vss. And of course, the lyric is a yawner.

Regarding Norah, you're way more impressed by awards than I am. But at least Norah's song has a very pretty melody. "My heart is drenched in wine" is a wonderful
line, beautifully sung. There is none of that in either of the rap tracks you posted. Iif those two tracks are the best you can come up with, that's sad.

I don't think lyrics are the most important part of a song, never have. But rap is utterly musically bankrupt, as demonstrated by your two examples. Lyrics are all that's left. Which rappers are either mediocre at writing, or terrible, as demonstrated by your two examples.

You proved nothing. I stand by every word I said.


Ps...I wouldn't say NWA is powered by testosterone. I'd say that about The Who. I'd say NWA is powered by a complete lack of musical and lyrical talent. They're a joke.
They know their audience all right...so does Larry Flynt.


Paul Mac seems to recognize the talent some rappers have. I'd say Macca has a good ear for talent, as much as we may not like rap.

There are many kinds of good, not just one

http://www.etonline.com/news/189544...ith_crazy_kanye_west_says_he_s_a_monster

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 10/18/17 03:10 PM.
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