Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Only Rap I Listen To....

It was the summer of 1980. I was 19 years old and I remember the day I first heard rap music. It was a long, hot summer and I was on my way to Baguio, a city outside Manila. My constant music companion were a mix of Motown Artists, Michael Franks, Seals & Croft, Jim Croce, Eric Clapton, Manhattan Transfer, Don McLean, Cat Stevens, Elton John & Diana Ross. The ride to Baguio was a tedious 8 hours because the roads in some towns were not paved yet and 2 hours of zigzaging in the mountains is no easy feat especially if you think you can do better at the wheels than your brother. Anyway, a cousin just came from the US and gave me a tape of "Rapper's Delight." She told me to listen to the new craze sweeping America.

It wasn't rock, definitely not pop, and no way was it disco. The lyrics told a story but it was not country. Reggae? Nah!! Being a kid of disco, the music seemed harder to dance to, heck it was even harder to sing along with it. It had a nice fast beat to it, though, sort of telling a story in a rhythmic delivery of rhymes. Overall, it was a fun music.

I think rapping is verbal acrobatics and rhyme fused with a beat, a form of self expression to get affirmations from one's peers. However, after Run DMC and the prolifiration of rap profanity I stopped listening.

This is probably the only rap song that I will allow myself to listen to. It puts a smile to my face, a reminder of one great lazy summer afternoon a long time ago, when life seemed simpler,

I wonder? When a rap song gets to be an oldie, can another equally talented young rapper borrow it, copy it, put his own style of rap and record it again?

The old songs of Frank Sinatra, Nat King COle, Billy Holiday, songs from the 50s to the 80s are timeless. It gets borrowed by other great singers of this era like Diana Krall, Michael Buble', Robbie Williams or even Rod Stewart. I am sure, in another 50 years from now, we'll hear the same great songs of the 50s to the 80s era as it gets rehashed by singers of that time.

The music of the 50's, 60's and 70's and a part of he 80's hold a special memory for those of us who grew up with it. It was music you could sing along with, music you could dance to, music you fell in love with. We call it oldies and people still revere them.

Can rap music be elevated to oldies and be revered by future generations of that era?


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