Authentic Music

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Authentic Music

By | November 2007
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The argument concerning whether music can be authentic or inauthentic has been debated for many years. In Ralph Ellison's essay "The Charlie Christian Story," he argues that there is true music and imitative music. In his essay he states that, "true jazz is an art of individual assertion within and against the group." Although Ellison talks about jazz, I believe that the word jazz can be replaced with the word music to make the statement more general and explain authenticity in different genres of music.

For example in rap music there are various examples of authenticity and imitation. The artist Tupac Shakur and the artist Christopher Wallace, also known as the Notorious B.I.G or Biggy Smalls, are examples of rappers who deliver authentic music. Tupac revolutionized the rap industry by discussing deeper, more influential, topics than what many rappers today talk about. One of his most famous songs Changes, which came out in 1998, after he died, talks mainly about racism and animosity in the world. In this song he states that people should start making changes and contribute to making the world a better, more prosperous, place to live in; instead of always being self-centered and driven by hate and greed. The Notorious B.I.G. not only talked about the problems in the world, but also talked about his life. In his song Juicy, he raps about his life struggle and how he became successful by following his dreams and overcoming the hardships that impeded his path.

A more modern example of an authentic rap artist is Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. Fifty, in my opinion, delivers authentic music because his music contains personal experience, much like Tupac and Biggy. He grew up poor, he became a gangster, he went to jail, he dealt with violence, he got shot, and in his music he writes about all of those occurrences. In his first and best album Get Rich or Die Tryin' he wrote about all of his life events and the path that led him to fame and success. In his song Many Men,...