Genre of music that, on this site, is unfairly described as "inferior" to rock (or vice versa). Unfair, I say, because rock and rap, and all of their infinite subgenres, work off a different set of rules, so it's moot to put them side-by-side and declare one superior. Oh, and by the way, I've heard rumors that other forms of music exist besides rap and rock. Correct me if I'm wrong.
But, since everyone seems intent on comparing them anyway, no one seems to have mentioned the following:
It's useless to criticize rap as requiring next to no musical skill. True - it's harder to play an instrument proficiently than it is to flow well. But if you judge a song by how difficult it is to perform, you're forgetting that, ideally, music is a form of self-expression. If a song moves you, it won't be because, for example, the guitar solo is really fast (although technical skill can definitely augment emotion). Remember, none of the Beatles were great musicians. It was the quality of their songs that connected. The same goes for the best rap. MF Doom probably can't play a C major scale, but who gives a shit? He writes memorable, intelligent songs. Oh yeah, guess who else does? Eminem.
Also: the whole rap-as-poetry thing really bothers me. The fact that rap's focus is on the lyrics rather than the music doesn't make the words better, or worth any more. Even if they're working with different cultural languages and different cliches, rap lyrics are no more poetry than rock lyrics. Sorry - most of the raps about growing up in the projects (Jay-Z's "The Blueprint" comes to mind), no matter how vividly described, tend to be pretty trite. No more trite than the vast majority of all rock lyrics in any subgenre, but in no way of deserving the heading of "poetry." I mentioned MF Doom before. His lyrics are usually pretty great, culture-jamming and funny and thoughtful. But they're not poetry. Keats is a poet. Tupac is not. He might have a message, but to trash Tupac a little, it's not an especially original message, and the fact that his medium is rap rather than rock doesn't make his words "street poetry" any more than Lou Reed's. Same deal goes for the old school greats. Chuck D's a pretty good political commentator, if a little preachy, but no one calls the Clash poets. So stop. Oh, and for my money, no rapper has ever approached poetry in pop music as much as Bob Dylan, who arguably recorded THE VERY FIRST RAP SONG IN 1965 with "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Don't believe me? Go listen to it.
Rap VS rock on Urban Dictionary? NO YOU DI'INT.
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