Magazine article Ebony

What's Behind the Rise of Rap?

Magazine article Ebony

What's Behind the Rise of Rap?

Article excerpt

What's Behind The Rise Of Rap?

RAP has been dubbed the "hip hop invasion," "anti-establishment noise," and the teenage vernacular of the '80s counterculture. By definition, it is a musical explosion in which energetic Black artists weave street poetry into the lyrical genre that is currently transforming the music charts. Rap advocates insist this rhythmic "free talk" is not merely a phenomenon of the inner-city or a trend characterized by large gold chains and high-priced tennis shoes. And critics have attempted to dismiss the music as a passing phase, sliently hoping that it will fade and be replaced by a tamer, more neutral sound. But new rap groups seem to proliferate daily. Several acts to Billboard magazine's Black Album charts, and there are many more groups with singles in the Black Top 40. Record companies that once laughed at rap now clamor to sign promising new artists.

"Rap in the '80s is equivalent to the Motown Sound of the '60s," says Bill Adler of Rush Artist Management. "The revolution over this music has been fought and won, but the weird thing is the news of ur victory has yet to reach the world at large."

At first hearing, some rap "crews" may sound strikingly similar, but what binds them together is their passion for a beat and their rhymes set to music. Each group has its own distinct style, ranging from Public Enemy's (the self-procalimed Prophets of Rage) Black Nationalist bent, to the squeaky-clean "Cosby kid" image of suburban Philadelphia's newcomes Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. …

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