Let’s tell it like it is when it comes to rap “music.” First of all, it’s not music. It is usually missing two of the three requisite elements of music--melody, harmony and rhythm. As any neighbor of a rap fan knows (from the vibrations through the wall), the stuff has plenty of rhythm. But melody? I guess that would be too un-macho (and take too much work). And harmonies are rudimentary at best, droning at worst.
This stuff is tribal chanting. It’s the passing on of folk lore with a rhythmic accompaniment. To call this “music” is a slap at hard-working musicians everywhere.
It is the real musicians, the ones who study, hone and perfect their art, that the Times should be covering. These street thugs, who, by their own admission, used the gains from thievery and drug sales to launch their careers by buying a record company, would be deserving of contempt if their stories hadn’t been sugar-coated by Robert Hilburn’s April 2 article, “Rap.”
If the article had been titled “Gangsters buy record company to distribute X-rated stories,” would it have made the front page of the Sunday Calendar section?