Rap Trap

Rev. Steve Schlissel - December 20, 2018

There’s not much I can say about this thing called rap. When exposed to recordings by the genre’s pioneering representatives (rap reps?), I reassured my radio presets that they were safe; there would be no reset of any preset to accommodate THAT stuff. And I say ‘stuff’ because I remain unpersuaded music is the proper category to which the rap output as a whole should be consigned. I know at least one other category which has frequently, reflexively been nominated to serve as home to it. A second to which I resort by default is “anti-music.” After all, isn’t “calling it all” music a bit like the new little league practice of declaring both teams’ winners–the team that scored 27 AND the team that managed just one? Doesn’t it upset your definition equilibrium to grant the honorific “music” to a genre which typically possesses just a single component of the several which all other name-bearers have to show at the door?

When I watched this attached clip, another aspect of the phenomenon called rap came to mind: I had difficulty mentally conjuring a group of subway riders spontaneously gathering and becoming communally engaged in a musical moment. I realize this is just as loaded, in its way, as the demand to have rhythm/beat alone qualify to be classified as music. There is a great, great deal of what we all would acknowledge it to be music that is ill-suited for crowd-singing or even inimical to it. But however, the thought made its way into my head, it continued there until it took this shape: rap is “music” that had to await the Walkman and its progeny for it to catch its edge and gain momentum. So aside from the extremely limited (and most often hostile) character of the three and a half subjects treated in its prose and rhymes, rap seems to me to be a series of anthems and odes emerging from and dedicated to remaining in solitary confinement. I suspect consideration of this line of thought may shed light on why its public performance is so often accompanied by evil fruit. I’m wondering if rap isn’t, at its core, a pathetic celebration of covenant brokenness.

Anyway, the attached has all you won’t find in rap. Enjoy–if that’s your thing.

(Sorry for any typos. No time! No rhythm, either.)

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