Rap is easily heard as a play of words, a sampling of music rhythms and melodies, and for the passers-by, a taunt against another taunt. But for those who will listen closely, rap lyrics may be full of history, a love story, political critique, innuendo, sarcasm as well as wit (Rose, 1994, p 14).
The past decades had hip-hop fill up a cultural lexicon of vocabulary, characters and culture. Accordingly, the lexicon has been fed by hip-hop artists that return to certain archetypal images as well as conceits. While many forms of popular music that reinvent or subvert tradition for the sake of novelty, hip-hop culture values and cultivates memory using decades old lyrics and images for current crops of new hits, singles or albums.
The past decades saw hip-hop music display various forms of musical borrowing they call sampling and mixes. During the early days of hip-hop, DJs from the Bronx and Harlem manually scratched vinyl records into a seamless mix of dance music (Rose, 1994, p 18). It was noted by Demers (2002, p 107) that DJs preferred a classic collection of soul, funk and R&B Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes and George Clinton for their pieces. The digital age also provided growth for their sampling as hip-hop added an assortment of music ranging from heavy metal to country. However, many DJs and producers still unearth and return to soul and funk as they pay tribute to respected past musicians.
It is to be noted however that the melody of scratching and sampling from classics added with the invention of new sound is just but one activity amid the hip-hop music production.
A rich variety of multimedia collections, references and parodies is inherent to hip-hop music as a whole. This paper will try to establish the literary roots of hip-hop lyrics as an off shoot of words and culture from the period between 1965 and 1980 in American Society.
The mid-1960s to 1980s is known as a... [continues]
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