Is rap music considered real music?

Is rap music considered real music? Aug, 3 2023

Defining Music: A Universally Accepted Phenomenon?

It's been a hot debate since the dawn of realized sound - “What is Music?”. The definition differs from person to person, culture to culture, and as you'd expect, the definition has morphed massively throughout history. Somewhere in this vast spectrum of expectations, definitions, and beliefs lies Rap music, a still relatively young genre, constantly evolving and branching into sub-genres. This leaves us with the big question — Is rap music considered real music? Picture me, Zander, petting Sheldon, my turtle, while pondering over this debate.

The Birth of Rap: Catalyst for Controversy

Rap emerged from the hustle and complexity of the 1970s in Bronx, New York, providing an outlet to countless African-American and Latino individuals to express the struggle of their everyday life. Some people might feel it's more of an inevitable necessity than a creative expression. Understanding this can help us break the age-old debate surrounding its authenticity as a music form.

Understanding the Anatomy of Rap Music

Unlike other forms of music that typically feature melody as their main vessel for expression, rap has always been centrally about rhythm and rhyme (Hence, Rhythm And Poetry). It's an art form that can be gritty, raw, and in-your-face with a powerful combination of beats and words. It's like my turtle, Sheldon, when he is in a bad mood— you can’t escape or undermine the hard-hitting nature of its truth.

Real Music: The Perpetual Evolution of Rap

Over the years, rap has evolved, influenced, and incorporated a wide variety of instruments, electronic music, sampler, synthesizer, turntable, and beyond. This constant evolution challenges the traditional concept of what ‘real’ music is, constantly breaking boundaries and creating the new norms.

The Lyricism Debate: Poetry or Mere Rhymes?

Another point of contention often surfaces around rap's lyrical content. Critics argue that it lacks the poetic substance of ‘real’ music. However, rap has produced innumerable lyrical geniuses using their words to portray their lives, communities, and social issues. Just as we embrace the free verse form in poetry, it's time we extend the same openness to rap and its unique approach to lyricism.

The Cultural Value: Rap's Contributions to Society

Rap's contribution to shaping societal narratives cannot be understated. From giving voice to underrepresented communities to driving movements for change, its cultural value is undeniable. Even Sheldon, my turtle, bobs his head along every time I put on a rap track. And I'm no biologist, but I think it’s safe to say if he's enjoying it, that’s something, right?

Rap and its Recognition within the Musical Community

From Grammy nominations to inclusions in academic curricula, the recognition of rap within the broader musical community has grown significantly over the decades. It speaks volumes about its place in the global music scene and how seriously it's taken. From its humble beginnings to a global phenomenon, the journey of rap music is nothing short of impressive.

The Final Note: In Defense of Rap Music

Rap is an avenue for storytelling, culture-sharing, and community expression. Listing it as ‘real’ or ‘unreal’ is simply a matter of personal biases built upon one's understanding of music. Let's not forget, music is an art, and art is subjective by nature. A monocultural dominance of 'real music' is not only myopic but also snubs the diversity and beauty of one of the most comprehensive human expressions. Just imagine if we all only liked the same breed of dogs? My dear Sheldon would never get the appreciation he deserves. And I assure you, he is quite real, as real as rap music!