Why is rap called rap? – Rock N Learn Dinosaur Raptors
Why should I listen to a song by a guy named Mack at 9 p.m. on a Monday morning on HBO—where will that be sold on the secondary market when I’m not watching it?” This is a question that gets tossed around casually when you ask a rapper about his or her career—in an interview, on a song, or even in conversation. It feels lazy, it feels tacky. Yet as I’ve heard so many people try and answer this question correctly, it’s time to stop pretending that this is an essential question to ask your favorite rapper.
It’s not hard to make it easy on yourself when it comes to trying to get a clear sense of who rap is, or what rap is, or even what the rap community thinks about rap at all. There is only one way to learn to ask questions like this: take a break from it. Take a few hours off. Listen to podcasts, listen to music videos, and check your social media. Stop obsessing over the question of “why” a particular musician or artist is successful, and start obsessing over what success feels like for you.
To really feel what success feels like for you, you have to let go of the assumption that this is all about rap, which really isn’t. It’s because of this that many rap fans feel the need, when asked by strangers about their favorite artists for this very reason, to elaborate on how they feel they “understand” rap, and then to explain what that understanding means.
Of course, some of you may feel uncomfortable talking at length about the nuances of your musical interests, as if they are “unreal” or whatever. You may want to ignore the question, because you have nothing to add—although your rap tastes are clearly pretty clear, you may not have the experience to fully express what it is to love, love-like, or love-to-hate this music. But it’s perfectly alright to tell people you’ve had that conversation with them. If you’re genuinely curious to learn more, ask questions like the ones above, or better yet, ask yourself, “Will I love the way these artists describe rap? What does it mean to have a love or a hate of rap if I know them?”
And that’s about it. It’s the first step to feeling like you truly understand what it’s like to love rap, and what it means to be truly happy with your rap listening (and listening to other rappers). It opens your
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