Thursday, October 9, 2008

I ♥ Rap

Those who know me well know that I love rap.

I enjoy the seamless fusion of lyrics and rhythm that good rap exemplifies - the way a great producer can flawlessly mesh every syllable of a word with the parts of the bass line, snare, and instrumentals. Artists like Tupac, Ludacris, Kanye West, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Eminem, Diddy (back when he was Puff Daddy), Coolio, and Jay-Z are some of my favorites and, as such, hold a place in my music folder. Their rap speaks of experience from every season of life, from gang wars in the hoods of LA, to the joy of watching a child grow, to the pain of watching a friend die, to the easy smiles of a backyard party. The rap I own comes in all flavors of languages, too. I've got Mexican rap, American rap, and even a French rap song called "La Belle et le Bad Boy" which tells the story of a beautiful girl who falls in love with a rebellious boy. While they dream of a good life, the crime-laden context in which they find themselves overcomes that dream. It's a tragic love story.

One of my favorite songs ever, "Life Goes On", by Tupac, is a song about mourning. Throughout the song Tupac recalls good times with his friend, Kato, for whom the song is written. The recollections of good memories, however, are interspersed with lyrics that speak of true pain:

"But now your buried,
rest nigga,
cause I ain't worried.
Eyes blurred,
sayin' goodbye at the cemetary.
Tho' memories fade,
I got your name tatted on my arm,
so we both ball till' my dying days.
Before I say goodbye,
Kato, we're meant to rest in peace,
Thug till I die."

While I love rap, I understand that sometimes it's hard to take the messages presented seriously, considering the context. Many people shy away from such songs (including hip-hop) because of themes of murder, lasciviousness, and deceit - all very bad things. Obviously there are some songs I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I think, though, that there are things to be appreciated in other songs. I try to listen to the edited versions, because I don't particularly like hearing the four letter words.

If you like rap, let me know. If you don't like it, let me know why! And, if you have any favorite songs, let me know about them as well. I'm always looking to expand my library.


One of my favorites


  1. I personally am a fan of "hick-hop". At least I would be if you and Steve had ever made it.....

    This is me mourning my loss.... :(

  2. Ha ha ha ha, I would have never known you for a rap fan! Geez Barry! How about The Beatles. :)

  3. this is one of my favorite songs... i'd never seen the music video...thanks for the blast from the past

  4. You know I love it! the new stuff, last couple of years has just gotten too dirty for me to enjoy and the "casino type noises" drive me nuts but the rap of up to abt. 5 years ago and before,"yeah, I like dat" I just got the cutest c.d. for a baby shower..Baby Loves Hip-Hop. Raps the abc's, numbers, etc...

  5. Barry, Barry, Barry, you get this from your Mother you know. The first time I got into her car Rap was playing, and despite that, I still like her. Let's get you into a program sweetie, it's for the best.

  6. I like rap too Barry, and I'll bet I'm old enough to be your mother or maybe your grandmother. I've always listened to a wide variety of music and rap is so filled with energy. Granted some of it is negative and misogynist. Some of my friends could not believe that I went to see "8 Mile" but it is important to listen and watch to understand what's behind this genre. When someone says, "Eminem is an angry, bitter, nasty young man" I would suggest that if you see "8 Mile" you'll understand how he got there and what's behind his music.

    I've always wondered how his music would evolve once he wasn't poor or living in a Detroit ghetto. How do you maintain that level of angry energy that originally fueled your music?

    So, one mother's day my son gifted me with 50 Cent's CD. I loved it. It has a beat and you can hop to it. HA HA. Thanks Barry. Good post.