Rap Music Essay

2129 Words 9 Pages
Rap Music

Roughly fifteen years ago, the initial rumblings of rap music were eminating from the streets of New York City. Rap music is very much a product of its urbanized, literacy-based environment, as can be seen in the advanced technology necessary to produce the music. Although the connection between rap music and its modern roots is impossible to ignore, rap's dependence upon high technology is often over-emphasized, eclipsing any opportunity to connect rap culture to a time before the world of turntables and written lyrics. Hip-hop music maintains distinct oral influences, carrying traces of an oral tradition preceding the advanced, literacy-based era from which the music emerged. The world of literate technology that gave birth
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However, by examining studies of purely oral tradition, interesting similarities between the two ages come to the surface, illuminating elements of pre-literate tradition in the modern genre of hip-hop.
Tricia Rose, author of Black Noise, discusses the various constituents that go into the creation of the rap sound in her work. She examines the cultural implications and potential of rap music within American society, illustrating the ways in which the art form represents its creators as a voice for their marginalized position within society. Rose discusses rap's legitimacy as a musical form, the significance of rap's starting in urban centers, and the ways in which the music utilizes technology and industry. By addressing the larger scope of issues associated with rap music, Rose tends to sidestep a deeper analysis into rap's cultural influences, taking the art form at face value in order to apply her analysis of the various causal relationships between rap and its environment.
Rose uses lingustic theorist Walter Ong's term "postliterate" to describe the arena in which rap music was created. "Postliterate orality describes the way oral traditions are revised and presented in a technologically sophisticated context." (Rose 86) Rose places considerable emphasis on rap music as an emblem of the age of mechanical reproduction. She goes into great detail regarding the

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