Is rap even considered music? Some have argued that, due to the practice of sampling and the fact that most rappers rely primarily on rhythm and lyrics to communicate with their audiences, this sub-genre of hip hop shouldn’t be considered a genre of music at all. This is not the case however. Rap is most definitely a genre of music, and its artists continue to innovate to this very day.
Sampling As Found Art
Anyone who has ever made a collage knows first-hand the artistic validity of found art. Sometimes an original artistic creation can be framed in a different context to give it additional meaning. This has always been considered a valid practice.
While “Mo Money Mo Problems” by Notorious B.I.G. might contain samples from “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, it is not similar enough to cause people to confuse the two songs. In fact, the existence of the new hip hop track introduced a generation of fans to the original song. Each song has its own aesthetic, and both are totally unique.
Beyond Slam Poetry
Cadence, diction, lyrics, and rhythm aren’t the only aspects of a vocal performance by a rapper. Some have been known to augment their styles with touches of reggae singing. Others might croon like The Isley Brothers between passages to connect with a chord from the backing music.
Rappers sometimes abandon sampling and electronic music in favor of performing in front of a live band. Entire hybrid genres exist such as rap-metal and rap-rock. Linkin Park, for example, combines hip-hop and rap with alternative music and heavy metal to create a pop music experience that has entertained people from all over the world.
There will always be those people who prefer older genres. Supporters of acoustic instruments and classical styles may feel that the music of yesterday better speaks to them. However, it is unfair to deny the millions of people who love rap music the respect their favorite genre deserves.
As a primarily lyrical tradition, rap has a better ability than many genres to express the problems facing otherwise ignored segments of the population. Who could argue that rap hasn’t had a profound social impact?
Whether one considers the lighthearted and charming style of Snoop Dogg or the intense, political lyrics of Immortal Technique, there is something for everyone in the world of hip hop and rap. As a result, music fans should consider hip hop artists to be valid members of the greater community of musicians.