AKA the worst rap tunes since 1989
eh, there’s some Biggie and Wu joints in there. I forgot that AZ’s Sugar Hill charted. But, yeah, that’s mostly what I was gonna say. Like anything having to do with the music industry, it’s mired in bullshit and disappointing overall.
a better list, curated by Ego Trip:
it spans 79-98, which in itself excises most of the garbage. also, sales are not a consideration. whether or not it’s dope is the only consideration.
add to that, the Billboard site isn’t working properly for me. trying to change the date breaks it. clicking on The Luniz brought up the write-up for some other group. Clicking on the AZ joint from 95 brought up a list of Iggy Azalea tunes [the “az” string, obv] Dumb.
Your Ego Trip link is dead.
it loads for me. ¯\ __(ツ) _ /¯
the list exists several places on the internet, transcribed from the appendix of the book
the place I linked has a fan torrent set up to download all the songs on the list at the bottom (although I got a few corrupt/skipping files when I got it many years ago. the webpage has updated since then so maybe the torrent’s been fixed)
anyhow, you can see the list on probably most of these sites
Yep, works now. Thanks!
Dear Lord I fucking loath rap ‘music’, an oxymoron if ever there was one. The only time it was interesting was when Dylan was experimenting with it 50+ years ago (Subterrainian Homesick Blues sounds like a rap to me). And while I’m at it, get off my damn lawn!!! Weirdly enough, I really enjoy the ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ comic.
Yay… good for you. Some of us dig it and appreciate it’s contributions to American and global culture, even if you can’t recognize them.
It’s fine if a genre of music isn’t for you, but when you invoke Bob Dylan as some sort of pioneer in hip hop, you start veering into the territory of “rap is crap unless a ‘non-rapper’ does it”. This is uncomfortable because that expression is usually a euphemism for “I don’t like music made by urban black artists”.
if you don’t hold the latter sentiment (and I sincerely hope you don’t), I’d like to explain what rapping is and make a small case for hip hop.
Now, Subterranean Homesick Blues is a good song. I like it. But it has nothing to do with hip hop. Bob Dylan is not rapping. He’s just speaking over a track. He isn’t on beat, there’s no identifiable flow, the rhymes are pretty basic, and he doesn’t enunciate anything. He doesn’t run out of breath which is good but that’s cause he’s not really doing anything other than reading words. That’s not what rap is.
So what is good rapping? I present to you Exhibit A, Life’s A Bitch by Nas featuring AZ. AZ’s opening verse on this song is the stuff of legend and it made him an overnight success. Talib Kweli referred to it as the greatest hip hop verse of all time. It’s close to perfect.
The first thing you notice is how smooth it sounds. AZ’s flow is so god-tier that it sounds easy – he never misses a beat and he rides each measure with perfect consistency. Note how he enunciates and highlights certain syllables to add power to different words. He’s rapping relatively fast with almost no break in between, but he isn’t running out of breath and his voice remains strong, clear, and distinct.
If that wasn’t enough, the rhymes he uses are extremely complex. There’s multisyllabic rhyming and internal rhyming. He bends words, emphasizes different parts of words, and uses a lot of seeming disparate and incompatible vocabulary to form his imagery. Look at that picture and listen to the track side by side and you can see that not anyone can rap like this. In fact, very few people can rap like this. It takes years of practice, study, and raw talent.
Raised in the hood as Five Percenters but somethin’ must’ve got in us 'cause most of us turned to sinners
good choice, friend.
@beep54orama My standard argument is that music does not have to be melodic, it can be percussive and still be valid as music. Rapping is just the first time vocals have been percussive in nature. Good percussionists can play a variety of rhythms at a variety of tempos and also syncopate; and so it is with rappers. there’s a lot more in terms of the poetic concerns and emceeing, but I’ll leave that as the gist.
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