As part of my musical explorations, I’ve decided to check out rap. It’s a musical genre that I’ve steered clear of, just like modern country music. But I’ve always felt bad about doing that. Disregarding an entire genre of music (or movies or books or television) without even trying it first seems close-minded. I want to see what it has to offer before disregarding it as a haven for violent imagery and blatant misogyny.
So I’ve listened to 2Pac and Biggie and Jay-Z and Kanye and Run D.M.C. and Will Smith and Public Enemy and Eminem and Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. I’ve heard some truly hateful, vicious lyrics (“Hit Em Up” is the most violent song I’ve ever heard). I’ve heard some very crass lyrics, mostly dealing with women and various attributes of their anatomy.
That doesn’t change the fact that I…like it. A lot. First, I’m a sucker for religious imagery, which a lot of the rap I’ve listened to contains. Second, I write in a genre that peddles violent imagery like it’s about to be banned, so that’s hardly going to turn me away. Hell, I’ve had people say that some of my stories have made them sick. I can’t really point fingers at 2Pac for advocating dropping Biggie and his Junior Mafia.
Third, as someone that enjoys creative use of words and language, rap is awesome. It’s a blur of words, spit out to a beat and in a breathless frenzy. Or it’s a slow flow that blends into the melody before beating out a staccato rhythm of punctuated verbiage.
And it’s different from everything that I’ve listened to before. It’s a novel (to me) use of language. There’s something deeply appealing about that to me.
I don’t think I’ll be giving up rap anytime soon.
Even if I do sound like the whitest person alive when I talk about my enthusiasm for it.