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Old School of Rap: Songs’ Themes and Melodic Tunes Essay

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Updated: Dec 19th, 2021

Introduction

The present paper will present a concise analysis of the creative work of ten prominent rap artists and will offer an account of the main cultural issues of a particular period described in the songs.

“Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang

“Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang is a perfect choice to start the list of outstanding rap songs and artists. “Rapper’s Delight”, by all means, deserves being the first rap song to become a hit of Top 40 due to its rhythm and energy that infects the listener from the first chords. However, their song does not throw light on any serious problem being a kind of attraction of people, as it is stated “all I’m here to do ladies is hypnotize” (Sugarhill Gang line 63). It emphasizes the physical relationship between the sexes.

“Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa

“Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa is a song that proclaims the following motto: “Love Life Live” (Afrika Bambaataa line 17). It is an optimistic and rhythmic song that presents the unity of tune and lyrics. It aims to show the power and magic of music. The song inspires people to become free with the help of music and Afrika Bambaataa wants to turn the Earth into the Planet Rock.

“Jam on It” by Newcleus

The song “Jam on It” by Newcleus can be interpreted as an introduction of the musical group and the explanation of their position in the world of music that is as follows: “I came to rock the human race” (Newcleus line 96). The zest of the song and Newcleus’ music, in general, is the introduction of electronic beats that create a cosmic effect that contributes to the harmony of music and lyrics.

“The Brakes” Kurtis Blow

Kurtis Blow, in “The Brakes”, presents a humorous story with such witty lines as “He said his Cadilac was gold But he didn’t say it was ten years old” (Kurtis Blow line 60-61). Unobtrusively, the rapper wants to show that it is possible to overcome the difficulties of life and the song sounds very optimistic. The special feature of this song is the originality of the funk beat that makes it stand out against the background of rap music of that time.

“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is the first song on the disk that resembles the modern school of rap by the theme of hardships that ghetto-dwellers face. Its feature is the prevalence of lyrics over the music that promotes the main aim of the song: to draw the attention of the public to the ghetto for people not to die young anymore. The lyrics are moving and make flash creep due to such lines as “I’m close to the edge I’m trying not to lose my head” (Grandmaster Flash line 10-11).

“Sucker MCs” by Run-D.M.C.

“Sucker MCs” by Run-D.M.C. is interesting as it is the first example of a music assault aimed at rappers who produce music of low quality in contrast to the authors of this song. Music of high quality is the honest way to respect and wealth with its traditional signs like “Champaign caviar, and bubble bath” (Run D.M.C. line 12). This song can be characterized by aggressive notes and its feature is the absence of music but for beats and claps accompanying the lyrics.

“Roxanne, Roxanne” by UTFO

The song “Roxanne, Roxanne” by UTFO is the one that can make any listener smile due to such lines as “And she said, “So?” And I said, “So?!?” Baby don’t you know? I can sing, rap, and dance in just one show” (UTFO line 3-4). It is a bright example of the behavioral pattern of young rap artists that are making advances to an attractive woman and get her refusal. It is a lyrical and romantic song and the refrain makes its contribution to this naïve lyricism.

“Roxanne” by the Real Roxanne

“Roxanne” by the Real Roxanne, “the lady-devastator” (sec 00:22), as she calls herself is a witty repulse addressed to UTFO and their song. Probably, this reaction to UTFO’s song is the beginning of “battles” common among rap artists. The song is not inferior to the one produced by UTFO and a perfect choice made by the author was to use the refrain from the original song.

“Human Beat Box” by Fat Boys

Fat Boys and their song “Human Beat Box” has a special feature that is common in contemporary rap music but used to be an innovation at the time of old school, it is beatboxing, the beats produced by a man with help of his mouth without special musical instruments. On the whole, the lyrics convey common themes and phrases like “born Mcs”, “cool and witty” (Fat Boys sec 1:36) that can be found in other songs but beatboxing is the feature that makes it special and pleasant to listen to.

“Hey, DJ” by World’s Famous Supreme Team

Finally, World’s Famous Supreme Team’s “Hey, DJ” is a melodious combination of a beautiful tune, female voice, insertion of a child’s speech, scratching, and real rap that are united to produce a song of high quality. It is addressed to the DJ who should “show the entire world what he can do” (World’s Famous Supreme Team sec. 3:14). At the same time, the song is meant to unite the world with the help of music.

Conclusion

Thus, the analyzed songs show that the old school of rap preferred peaceful themes and melodic tunes; the greater part of songs was optimistic and was aimed at the attraction of the audience’s attention.

Works Cited

Afrika Bambaataa. “Planet Rock 12’’. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

Fat Boys. Human Beat Box. Mp3. 2010. Web.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5. “The Message” The Message. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

Kurtis Blow. “The Breaks” The Breaks 12’’. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

Newcleus. “Jam on It 12’’. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

Run-D.M.C. “Sucker M.C.’s” Run-D.M.C. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

Sugarhill Gang. . Lyrics. 2010. Web.

The Real Roxanne. Roxanne. Mp3. 2010. Web.

. Roxanne, Roxanne. Lyrics. 2010. Web.

World’s Famous Supreme Team. Hey, DJ. Mp3. 2010. Web.

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