To be honest most rap sounds childish & ignorant to my ears. What am I missing?

The XM radio I’ve got in my vehicle has opened my ears to lots of music I don’t normally have have access to, but in cruising the choices, I just can’t wrap my head around rap. The rhythms are often compelling, but the lyrics are often simply just plain juvenile and borderline retarded if you listen carefully to what they are saying, and yet rap is huge, with multiple genres and billions in sales worldwide.

I love some of the Eminem stuff because the music is great and the lyrics are often quite clever, but apparently the rap cognoscenti consider him more of a comedian than true rapper.

What am I missing here? Why does rap seem like a bad joke instead of a profound art form?

I don’t know what kind of rap you’re hearing, but if it’s the same variety that is played on Top 40 radio, I can understand your confusion.

I’m a 38-year-old, white fan of “old school” rap. The stuff that exhibited cleverness; that had a message; that sounded as if some actual thought had gone into writing the lyrics. Grandmaster Flash. Sugar Hill Gang. The Fresh Prince. U.T.F.O. N.W.A. Heavy D. Sir Mix-a-lot.

The reason Eminem is thought of as a comedian is that his style is “old school”. And old school rappers had a sense of humor. Today’s mainstream rappers (and today’s rock stars, too) take themselves far too seriously, and as a result, the music just isn’t fun anymore.

Childish and ignorant compared to what, though? What popular musical genre are you thinking of that on average has fewer examples of childishness and ignorance?

Most of everything sucks. Rap is no exception. If you want to know some good groups/artists to listen to, hit the search function. There seems to a thread about that 5 to 8 times a year around here.

Public Enemy were so good they spoiled me. I can barely listen to most rap made since.

It’s as simple as that - when listening to the hip hop that makes it to BET, MTV, mainstream radio, you’re hearing only the most superficial, vacuous specimens of that style of music. You’re hearing rap’s Britneys, Backstreet Boys, Creeds, and Dixie Chicks. You’re hearing canned production, cheap beats, and uncreative, ignorant lyrics.

If you’re genuinely interested in hearing some good hip hop, there have been some great threads about it on this board in the past year. I wrote about a page and a half in response to one.

“It was better in the old days” isn’t the answer, either. There was just as much crap in the old school (just listen to Schooly D), but it seemed that there was more of a chance for someone like A Tribe Called Quest or Jungle Brothers to get radio play and credibility, as rap was seen as one unified genre. These days, a group like that would be considered “alternative rap” for not talking about bitchez 'n ho’s, money, and having flashy videos, and would only get play on college and independent radio (like many of the incredible hip hop groups currently operating).

To save the person or persons that will post this later (they always do):

**You aren’t; it really is!!! HAHAHA!!!111! OMG WTF R[COLOR=DarkOrange]OFLMAO **[/COLOR] :smiley: :smiley: :cool: :slight_smile: :wally

With that out of the way, I’d suggest digging deeper into Eminem’s past and listening to some Roots, NWA, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, and early Snoop Dogg. Even as a country fan turned rock and metal fan, I really like all those artists. Really good.

I’m also starting to dig Jay-Z.

Public Enemy, NWA, Grandmaster Flash…like the man said. I also like Tupac a lot though, even though he’s more Gangster than old-school. What can I say, the guy’s lyrics were good.

Eminem kicks ass. He’s one of the only rappers who can make me laugh. I mean, really, what with lines like “skippity bee-bop, a-Christopher Reeve, Sonny Bono, skis, horses and hittin’ some trees.” I think he’s lyrically blessed (and it’s not just because I came of musical age listening to him. [I was the second person in 8th Grade to have the Slim Shady LP, an early pirated copy i bought from my friend for $5. ])

Consider me one who always grins inwardly at the bad joke. I guess that’s the appeal to me is that I consider it all one big joke, so I get a kick out of listening some of the time. Especially old-school, or groups who know better than to take themselves too seriously.

Also, some of the appeal is the same as for punk. You don’t need to be THAT talented to do it.

As far as seriously liking music goes, most rap/hip-hop/R&B just isn’t happening for me.

Are you kidding? I have seen people get booed off stages for trying to rap with that kind of attitude it’s not just about throwing some words together that rhyme but you need to be extremely clever to make it sound right and you also need to know how to control your breath on the microphone. Anyway I know that you won’t back down from that position so we will agree to disagree I guess.

Anyway as for the OP I think that everything is not for everybody but I know that if you wanted you could find a lot of clever lyrics and wordplay in rap, especially in Underground Hip Hop.
Dude, I see it as poetry set to a beat, IMHO it is one of the best musical styles to be invented ever.

So you are saying that it is, indeed, tricky to rock a rhyme–to rock a rhyme that’s right on time? Sure, but similar arguments can be made for punk. It still takes talent of a sort. I might have phrased my statement better by adding “apparently” to the beginning of the sentence.

The more people take rap seriously, the funnier the joke becomes.

“Rap” only has three letters in it.

Then add a “C”!!! Guffaw, guffaw.

I’ll just echo the above. The good stuff these days is underground; alt-rap. Jedi Mind Tricks, The Roots. I’m more into old/slightly older school. NWA, PE, Ice-T (O.G. Original Gangster era) and a little Notorious B.I.G.

I’ll second much of what has been mentioned. Especially … history. The early shit tends to be better. And add a mention for Canibus.

Touche. :slight_smile:

Here’s a few links that I found. In particular, it’s a pretty safe assumption that any recommendations from cainxinth in these threads are in line with what I like.
Please recommend some good Hip-Hop.

Hip Hop fans?

Hip Hop Fans: Help me spend my tax return

Ever heard DJ Signify’s album Sleep No More? It’s a genius double-concept album, with Sage Francis rapping about a series of wasted lives, and Buck 65 telling a Lynchian horror story in reverse, both over a number of tracks, bridged by long, lush, trippy instrumentals.

Excerpted lyrics from the album:

“Lights flicker on the frame of a light sleeper watching sports/
in a stained white 'beater and boxer shorts.”

"The lenses, they were scratched like/
someone got the best of him in a catfight/
must have been when he developed that bad sight/
but they don’t help, he needs a helmet with a flashlight.

He thinks he can enter the darkness at half price/
find his daughter’s black wedding dress from a past life."

“Unable to sleep, our thoughts were in brackets/
we called it a night, and slept in our jackets.”

“She tried to hide the scars/
Her name reminded me of the stars/
I saw diamonds divide, in the corners of her eyes.”

My two cents:
Try Handsome Boy Modeling School, De La Soul, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, and PM Dawn. Most of it (except for PE) is what my commercial hip hop fan friend refers to as “backpack rap”.

What’s “backpack rap”?

My brother listens to rap, and for a long time couldn’t understand what I dislike about most of it (I do, however, like some Eminem and Outkast…I used to like more.) He finally asked what I didn’t like about it, and I told him the lyrics, and expressed my disbelief that he actually liked what they were saying. He confessed he doesn’t even listen to the lyrics, just the beats. :eek: I find that hard to believe, since I only have to hear a song twice before I know most of the lyrics even if I hate the song, but there’s one explaination for you: some people think of the voices as background noise.

Most good rap died with Bigge Smalls. If you want to know what you are missing listen to the song Dance with the devil by Immortal technique. If you don’t listen to this then you can not say that most rap is bad.

Like all other music they have the a lot of bad popular stuff, and only a few good popular artist are really worth listening to. Think about punk rock, there is Blink 182, Good charlotte, yellow card, simple plan and then there is Sex pistols, The Clash, The Who, The Ramones and NOFX.

For rap there is Ludacris, Mystikal, P. Diddy, Chingy (who bedevils this genre of music), and Lil Jon & East Side Boyz (if you ignore their lyrics, these guys can be fun to listen to :wink: ) and then you have Tupac, Bigge, Eminem, NWA, Grand Master Flash, Immortal technique, Nas and Jay-Z.