As many of you will know, I held a talk show to get your opinions on one of the fastest growing musical genres within the county (from my perspective) – rap. As street gangs become increasingly prominent within society and daily life; not just the rise of them, but also the fall, we connect such a genre with them, as well as each and every facet within the genre. The themes, the emotions, the raw and harsh language.
Within the talk show, my discoveries stretched beyond discovering the sub-genres of rap, unbeknownst to me prior to the show – I talked with wise individuals who filled me in on how it’s so much more than what some perceive to be expletives and unnecessary arrogance. Our first caller, going by the name of Topher, informed me of sub-divisions such as ‘Chicano rap’ – after some slight research, I discovered that it covered rap within Latin America – with Chicano being a slang word for Mexican Americans. Anyone familiar with Montgomery would be familiar with the various Latin street gangs rising, developing, falling and changing over the past year at the very least – bring such a new level of relevance of such an ‘urban’ style of music into the counties. Our next caller Vinnie opened our eyes towards aspiring rapper Don Omar, a Puerto Rican rapper whose tracks have found their way into films such as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Evidently, the sub-division of Latin rap seems to have gained a rising influence over the counties, rather than the stereotypical African-American rap most people think of upon the mention of ‘rap’ – an incredibly broad genre indeed.
Our proceeding callers delved into the emotions put across through the medium of rap, and how it has got so much more to offer than it does at face value. Caller Effie informed us that rap is not just a genre of music, but it is in fact ‘style, culture, and a way of living’. She went on to suggest that rap is a ‘collage’ taking inspiration from multiple other genres of music and putting it into its own, fresh style and wording to make it relevant to the rapper and the listener. However, another caller Marcello managed to put across his sentiments towards rap in such a passionate way; affirming the fact rap has so much more value to it than just guns, drugs and ‘booty’ [sic], but it’s about ‘rapping the dream’ and a medium in which they announce their aspirations to the listener; it gives such freedom to the rapper, and the essence of rap is within the freedom of being able to say and do what they want. The most poignant line from our conversation – to me – has to be “don’t listen with your head, listen with your heart”.
This would not be an article if I did not display two sides to the story, however. After the talk show, I engaged in a short conversation with Martin, who put across his firm views towards rap in a rather blunt sense; evidently unaffected by the words of the previous callers. He informed me that to him, rap ‘simply ruined music’, and that it’s nothing more than ‘speaking’ with a beat in the background. He went on to describe some of his people of interest, such as Chris Cornell, Freddie Mercury, and Michael Jackson – none of which are still with us – and the raw emotion they promote through the melodic voices, as opposed to how he viewed rapping.
It was surprising to me that even after hearing the views of those in favour of rap, such a rapidly developing genre of music, comprising countless subdivisions, some callers were still unmoved. Of course, it’s all down to opinion, and many people say opinion is like a mixtape in itself; they do not want to hear yours. However, that’s not what this is about. Whether you like rap or not, it is here to stay in this society, and it clearly generates a personal identity with multiple races, age groups, and ethnicities throughout our country.
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