Rap music is the term for the music genre associated with rapping, rhyming, and screaming.
Before rap, the musical genre of rap was called P-Funk, and rap was more popular among African Americans.
Although rap was born in Harlem in the 1960s, it was not played by popular DJs until the mid to late 1970s.
When I was a kid, my mother bought me vinyl 45’s of Parliament-Funkadelic, Temptations, Diana Ross, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and many other popular artists.
Unfortunately, many of those 45’s are now in the trash bin. Before and after 1970, you could play your records a lot more, and also could dance to the music.
While the music industry has changed a lot in the last two or three decades, when I was growing up, there was a sense of belonging and pride that being a musician offered.
For example, the first two rap songs I heard on the radio were by P-Funk:
- “Flash Light” by Parliament-Funkadelic:
- “From the Dojo To the Studio!”
- “I Can’t Stop This” by Funkadelic:
- “Make a Move or I’ll Make Your Move!”
These were from my early childhood in the 1980s. In other words, I had the blues and needed the blues.
Bands from across the musical spectrum, like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Beatles, Humble Pie, and Elvis Presley, are still playing today.
People are still falling in love and lust with these legendary artists.
So why is it that rap music has reached a new high level of popularity? I think there are two major reasons.
First of all, rap is a very good and relevant form of therapy
It can be fun, entertaining, shocking, and sometimes even dark. That’s right, at times it can be dark.
That’s the whole point. It’s just good entertainment.
Rap provides the musical equivalent to a good slap in the face. If you’re feeling down or need some motivation, rap music can help you get up.
If you’re depressed and just need a boost, rap music can help you get out of your funk.
When I was in the army, every white soldier and army general’s dog had a rap album or two.
That doesn’t exist today. The world has become pretty cynical and jaded.
That’s why rap is popular now.
Another reason why hip hop is popular today is that the producers and rappers have to take a stand. They have to.
Where my crew at?
Throughout American history, black Americans were constantly having to fight against prejudice.
They were unable to participate in all of the “regular” American activities because there was always discrimination or prejudice.
When the Martin Luther King, Jr. movement began, the real struggle began. However, the world at large did not understand what was happening.
What they saw was blacks sitting in the front of the bus, marching in the streets, getting shot by police officers, and just existing.
Where is my band? Where are my kids?
Where’s my sound? The world was under the impression that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of equality had not come to pass, that the Civil Rights Movement was in its last days.
Over time, music came to play a key role in the battle for equal rights. The music became more important than anything.
For example, John Lee Hooker’s tune, “Jumpin’ Jumpin'” became the call for the black people in the south to march in support of civil rights.
The “gangsta rap” era of the 1980s became popular because the “gangsta” movement was an attempt to fight back against prejudice.
Blacks were being discriminated against, harassed, killed, brutalized, and they wanted justice.
They wanted “Where my crew at?” They wanted “Where my kids at?” They wanted “Where my sound at?” That’s what these rappers were yelling.
They were offering hope, motivation, and determination.
The battle against racism has been ongoing for hundreds of years.
In the last century, the NAACP took on the fight to outlaw discrimination in the American South. That battle did not end well.
Black people have to be a team. If one is going to make progress, all of them must stand up and fight.
The powerful word of advice
“When you face adversity, especially from non-black people, do not be afraid to name the racism.
The song, ‘I Ain’t Black and I Ain’t White,’ perfectly illustrates this point. Don’t say that your people are not stupid or lazy; blame the system.
Do not blame the churches, you are too smart to be fooled by those fools.
Do not blame the police, your policemen must be smarter than your police.” — Chris Rock, “Good Hair”
While Donald Trump has insulted and denigrated so many people that it has become impossible to keep track, he has singled out and ridiculed and hated a particular group of people.
He has fought for the rights of one particular group while simultaneously fighting against the rights of all others.
To the members of this specific group, he has promised safety, protection, and comfort.
To that outside of that group, Trump has promised to take away their rights, their freedom, their comfort, and their well-being.