Rap before rap

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GoogaMooga
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Rap before rap

Postby GoogaMooga » 02 Jan 2024, 03:56

Okay, so rap/hip hop has its origin in the Bronx block parties hosted by DJ Kool Herc, around 1973, making it the 50th anniversary last year. What followed we are probably well familiar with, but what came before? How far back can we really trace raps in songs?

I'm listening to an Isaac Hayes Stax comp now, he was an early pioneer of extended raps. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" is seven minutes long! Tell that to Glen Campbell...

Then there was Millie Jackson with her raunchy monologue, there was the "lurve" rap of Barry White, and further back, the spoken word of artists like The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron.

But the farthest back I can go, is the spoken word bits in nearly every song by The Ink Spots. That takes us way back, all the way back to the late 1930s.

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Re: Rap before rap

Postby Rayge » 04 Jan 2024, 10:39

I don't think you can take spoken word sections as precursors of rap. It's a bit (OK I'm stretching things to make a point) like saying Gregorian chant is a precursor of doowop because it's several voices singing.
I'm no expert in - nor particular fan of - hip-hop, but I always thought the distinguishing feature of rap was not that it was not conventionally sung, but that the words had a 'flow' and rhythm and rhymes and emphases that you would not hear in ordinary speech. It was poetry to dance to.
In that sense, I think you can make a case for some of Bob Dylan's early work, such as Hard Rain, Subterranean Homesick Blues or 115th (??can't be bothered to look it up) Dream, none of which have strong vocal melodies
Last edited by Rayge on 06 Jan 2024, 14:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby never/ever » 04 Jan 2024, 11:21

I'd say this was a precursor. 1973. The first use of a loop too.

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Re: Rap before rap

Postby GoogaMooga » 04 Jan 2024, 14:58

Rayge wrote:I don't think you can take spoken word sections as precursors of rap. It's a bit (OK I'm stretching things to make a point) like saying Gregorian Chant is a precursor of doowop because its several voices singing.
I'm no expert in, nor particular fan of hip-hop, but I always thought the distinguishing feature of rap was not that it was not conventionally sung, but that the words had a 'flow' and rhythm and rhymes and emphases that you would not hear in ordinary speech. It was poetry to dance to.


I think your Gregorian Chant comparison is stretching it, I'd say barbershop is more of a precursor. Most raps have got the flow that you point out here, but I think that Kool Herc and other pioneers were at least inspired by the early raps and spoken word sections in songs. Isaac Hayes even had a song just called "Ike's Rap", but you are right, there is a clear distinction between those early raps and spoken word sections, and then what followed. The best raps in my opinion are the ones with a melodic flow. Which rules out Nas, I suppose.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby Darkness_Fish » 05 Jan 2024, 08:09

The rap element isn't really what Kool Herc was known for, his pioneering work was more about using the twin turntable setup to alter the songs, repeatedly play breaks, etc.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Jan 2024, 08:33

Darkness_Fish wrote:The rap element isn't really what Kool Herc was known for, his pioneering work was more about using the twin turntable setup to alter the songs, repeatedly play breaks, etc.


I know, I should perhaps have pointed that out. Still, he did intersperse with shout-outs and short raps, although not whole verses. I just mentioned Kool Herc, because that is the general consensus, which is why rap/hip hop could and did celebrate its 50th anniversary last year.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby Charlie O. » 06 Jan 2024, 09:09

never/ever wrote:I'd say this was a precursor. 1973. The first use of a loop too.


That's brilliant.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby mudshark » 06 Jan 2024, 21:44

Yes, brilliant clip. The audience is really into it too!
Reckon Lil Nas saw this clip before doing Old Town Road.
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby Minnie the Minx » 08 Jan 2024, 13:41

Charlie O. wrote:
never/ever wrote:I'd say this was a precursor. 1973. The first use of a loop too.


That's brilliant.


Christ. It’s more than brilliant. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen!! Love it!
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby Minnie the Minx » 08 Jan 2024, 13:41

Charlie O. wrote:
never/ever wrote:I'd say this was a precursor. 1973. The first use of a loop too.


That's brilliant.


Christ. It’s more than brilliant. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen!! Love it!
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby ConnyOlivetti » 09 Jan 2024, 05:03

never/ever wrote:I'd say this was a precursor. 1973. The first use of a loop too.



Yes, brilliant!
Love it!
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Re: Rap before rap

Postby C » 09 Jan 2024, 10:22

mudshark wrote:Yes, brilliant clip.


Yes, I enjoyed it too

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Re: Rap before rap

Postby bobzilla77 » 31 Jan 2024, 19:45

I couldn't say if the likes of Grandmaster Caz were influenced by stuff like Convoy and Hot Rod Lincoln.
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