Is Hot-Rod Lincoln a rap song?

Think about it. The rhythm, the rapidly spoken couplets. The theme of youth vs. establishment, fast cars, arrest.

He said, “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’
if you don’t stop drive that hot … rod … Lincoln.”

Stretching the definition, a bit, since Rap is characterized by a particular beat.

It’s more akin to the older “talking blues” songs.

Who’s the artist?
I did indeed enjoy the Pat Travers version.

Commander Cody.

I say NO because there is regular music accompanying it…not just a synthetic beat machine. And it still sucks, by the way.

In the same vein, Charlie Daniels’s Uneasy Rider, and its sequel, Uneasy Rider '88. My husband calls 'em hillbilly rap.

There is no particular beat to rap. Rap need not have certain instruments. Run DMC’s “Walk This Way” is a rap song, using the same music as the original. Was the original a rap song? No, obviously not.

So is “Hot Rod Lincoln” a rap song? No, but you could turn it into one real easy like.

Commander Cody’s was a cover version.

The original was by Charlie Ryan.

??? News to me…

Spoken word lyrics have been around before rap/hip hop and are created today without being considered rap/hip hop. So - what makes something rap or hip hop? Either the artist claiming that their work is rap or hip hop, or judging that work against some specific criteria. As for the criteria - you can start with the premise that rap/hip hop began within the context of the urban, African American, lower-economic-class experience - but it has clearly grown to encompass many more groups.

Bottom line? One could make the argument that Hot Rod Lincoln has some things in common with rap, but that Commander Cody probably wouldn’t characterize it as rap…

So are there any rap songs in 3/4 time?

I haven’t heard “Walk This Way” that often, but the clips of it made it clear that it was a rock song done by rappers, chanted rather than sung. I wouldn’t call it a rap song.

However, whenever I hear rap/hip hop, the beat is always the same. There is also a very heavy beat involved. This isn’t necessarily a failing (there are many great waltzes, for instance), but a description.

Alternatively, you can just say that Rap is a marketing category, and that anything that calls itself rap is rap. However, if you played the complete works and Run-DMC and snuck “Hot Rod Lincoln” into it, it’s safe to say no one would have trouble playing “One of these things is not like the others.”

Hot-Rod Lincoln doesn’t emphasize the rhythm of the lyrics as much as rap does - the singer is singing (or speaking) to the music’s beat, instead of producing a vocal counter-rhythm.

Well, if you’re going to call “Hot Rod Lincoln” rap, just because it involves a lot of fast talking, why not say that Robert Preston was “rapping” in “The Music Man”? Why not say that Gilbert & Sullivan’s patter songs (like “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General”) are “rap”?

I don’t see it.

The guitarist for Commander Cody was Bill Kirchen, and he’s still around. He does a long, free-wheeling version of Hot Rod Lincoln that is incredible to hear live. Go see him when he comes around.

His web site is

He once taught me the guitar riff to the song, on the very guitar used for the recording (which he still uses).

I wonder, RC, if there is confusion on somebody’s part - yours, mine, other readers/posters - between the beat and the rhythm. In terms of beat - and you use a waltz to cite a song with a set beat of 3/4 - yes, most raps are in 2/4 or 4/4. But most popular music, including 99.9% of rock, is in 2/4 or 4/4. So songs like Hot Rod Lincoln - the song in the OP of this thread - is in 2/4 probably. Progressive rock, Soundgarden’s songs (a lot of them, anyway) and other genres make more use of non-standard beats.

Now - rhythm. There are an infinite number of rhythms possible in rap and hip hip. Listen to Run DMC’s version of “Walk this Way” - now listen to the Beastie Boys’ “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party” - both rock-infused rap, with very different phrasing, rhyme patterns, etc. Now throw in a song by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” and you have a completely different delivery, phrasing, the beat is laid-back. Then you get “Lose Yourself” or “The Real Slim Shady” from Eminen, who has a very different delivery, internal rhyming patterns mixed in with his straight rhymes, etc…

So I am a little confused. If you are using beat to mean the time signature of the song - what you are saying is pretty much straightforward but not something that differentiates rap/hip hop from other genres of music - most have a standard time they use. If you are using beat to mean rhythm and rhyme pattern, your assertion, based on a superficial scan of a few popular hits, seems to be dead on arrival. I mean no disrespect - I am trying to understand where you are coming from.

As for the OP - again, it depends on what a person defines has a rap. If a person restricts “rap” to mean rhythmically spoken lyrics over music, then one could assert that Hot Rod Lincoln is a rap song. But since making that claim seems “off” - clearly the original poster is drawing attention to the fact that there is more to determining what is a rap song than just that. But does not offer an explanation as to what the other criteria should be…I offered a couple in my earlier post, but suffice to say, that is a big topic unto itself and very imprecise.

I think most folks would agree with you Astorian. It begs the question I mentioned in my post above - okay then, beyond speaking words rhythmically over music, what makes rap “Rap”? I could venture a guess or two, but the answer changes as rap and hip hop evolve over time.

Another question is: Is there a name for any song where the lyrics are delivered in a spoken-word, rhythmic way over the music, instead of sung - regardless of the style of the underlying music? The point to this thread, I think, is that most would not call this category, in general, “rap.” But what is it?

Great responses. I don’t know how to define rap, but I posed this question because “Hot Rod Lincoln” reminds me of rap in a way that “Modern Major General” or “Trouble in River City” do not. That is, if I sing it to myself unaccompanied and don’t pay attention to the lyrics and just listen to the sound of it, it sounds like rap to me.

It helps if you shake your head from side to side and make that downward jabbing finger motion while you sing it. :slight_smile:

Its not rap because there ain’t no Hos gitten smacked, pigs gitten whacked, jimmyz gitten waxed or bangers poppin’ caps.

Damn! Know what I’m sayin’?

Fagjunk Theology: Not just for sodomite propagandists anymore.

So apparently Fulsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash is rap while What’s Golden by Jurassic 5 isn’t…
Now I’m all confused.