Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Brad Paisley and LL Cool J Receive Backlash

There is controversy in the music industry regarding country music star Brad Paisley and LL Cool J. This controversy is surrounding the song, "Accidental Racist", what Paisley calls one of his proudest moments as a songwriter. The song is a single off of Paisley's new album, Wheelhouse, and doesn't seem to be hitting the mark with critics.

It seems that the lyrics in the song are what's causing the most problems. These lyrics are intended to promote racial harmony between black and white Americans.

The song begins with a guy apologizing for wearing a Confederate flag shirt, and then singing, "when I put on that T-shirt, the only thing I meant to say, is that I'm a Skynyrd fan."

LL Cool J, who is now 45 years old, and makes his living as an actor, contributes to the song with the following lyrics:

Quick Recap of Rap and Hip-Hop History

Definition of Hip-Hop:

A relatively new form of popular music, hip-hop is comprised mainly of four elements: deejaying and emceeing, breakdancing and graffiti. With the growing interest in hip-hop, big business started taking over, and the four elements (emceeing, deejaying, graffiti, and breakdancing) are constantly being merged with other trends, such as clothing, slang, and general popular mindset.

Hip-hop vs. Rap:

Stemming from hip-hop culture, rap, as a form of music, started in the early 1990s. Just like rock 'n roll, hip-hop is a lifestyle with its own dress code, lingo, and moral perspective. To quote KRS-One, "Hip-Hop is something you live, rap is something you do."

The Bronx is where it all started:

Rap is deeply rooted within ancient African culture and oral traditions, which is a product of cross cultured integration. A Jamaican deejay named Kool Herc is supposedly the individual responsible for originating hip-hop. Herc's style of deejaying involved reciting various rhymes over instrumental tracks. He would perform at house parties using a microphone, and a myriad of in-house references. Soon, there were duplicates of Herc's house parties drifting all throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. The message of hip-hop was soon spread around town and spawned tons of followers by way of Herc and other party DJs.

Humble Beginnings:

Some of the earliest rap songs ever recorded include, "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by Fatback Band and "Rappers Delight" by the Sugarhill Game. Rappers Delight reached the #36 spot on the Billboard charts, a very large feat in hip-hop by late 1970s standards. This successful turn of events demonstrated just how much hip-hop's ability to draw commercial appeal could grow.

Hip-hop Helps Create the Melting Pot:

Hip-hop is still evolving as a musical melting pot. Borrowing from jazz and soul and adding instrumentation with the likes of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, and the newest producer to hold hip-hop's baton, Kanye West, who is championing the genre of 'soulful rap'.

This is just a brief description of the history of rap and hip-hop. Remember, always, that hip-hop is a way of life, and rap is something people do. Rap, and hip-hop, are still growing from their infancy. It has not gone through the changes that jazz, rock 'n roll, R&B, and even country music have. We still have yet to see how fast, and expansive, this new generation of hip-hop will become.

5 Tips to Improve Your Battle Rapping Skills!

The basis for all rap music is battling. The rapper with the best delivery in a rap battle, lyrics, and crowd response is usually the one who wins. Try out these techniques and tips to survive a freestyle rap battle.

Step One – Watch rap battles through video, or participate in rap battles locally. Study different artists who are proficient in rap battling. There is a lot you can learn from rappers like Tupac, Eminem, AMB, Atmosphere, Eyedea, Atmosphere, Tech N9ne, AMB, Nas, and Biggie. The Blaze Battles from HBO, and Scribble Jam, are among others. A scene from the movie '8 Mile' really gives a good example of what a rap battle is. You can enhance your own rapping abilities by studying these artists and freestyle rappers. Interact with other rappers, join rap ciphers, get involved and study your craft.