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Description

Initial Post Instructions

Choose

one

of the music or dance movements that you read about this week

and at least one work

from that movement. Then, address the following:

Examine the movement and specific work in relation to historical and political influences of the movement.

Identify characteristics of the movement and how the work reflects these characteristics.

Include a statement from the artist and one from a critic.

Include a link to the lyrics and/or video depending on your choice.

Cats the Musical, Bangalore, India, 2014. (CC BY 2.0)

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the famous English composer and theater producer, declared in 2014 that T.S. Eliot may be the father of rap music. He stated in an interview that he “came to the conclusion, having read Eliot again, that maybe he was the inventor of rap. His metre for the Rum Tum Tugger is so wonderful… it raps” (Webber qtd. in Clark, 2014, para. 4).

Webber demonstrated his point by quoting the opening lines to the poem: “The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious cat; / If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse. / If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house” (Eliot qtd. in Clark, 2014, para. 5).

Webber’s renowned musical Cats was originally based on Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” (originally published in 1939), and it first premiered in 1981 in London’s West End. Cats was the longest running show in Broadway history from 1997 until 2006. It was rereleased in a updated version in 2014 with a strong hip-hop vibe. The Rum Tum Tugger poem was turned into a rap in the new production, and the character was played as a “rapping ‘street cat'” rather than a “rock rebel” (Singh, 2014, para. 6).

Maya Angelou is another who has influenced the rap and hip hop genre, and she is called the “godmother of hip hop” by many. Angelou was one of the first to see a connection between hip hop and poetry, and she has collaborated with and influenced many hip hop artists over the years, including Kanye West, Q-Tip, Tupac Shakur and Common. In 2011, Maya Angelou and Common collaborated together on his track “The Dreamer,” during which Angelou recited a poem she had written. Conduct a Google search for Common & Maya Angelou The Dreamer to view the recording.

Something that both rap and poetry have in common is rhythm. W. B. Yeats, the famous Irish poet, stated that poetry is “an elaboration of the rhythms of common speech and their association with profound feeling” (Yeats, 1936, p. 2). Without rhythm, the lyrics in rap and the lines of poetry would simply be short stories. Through rhythm, the rappers and poets create a mood that communicates their message.

Imagery is also used in both rap and poetry. When an author uses imagery well, readers or listeners are able to immerse themselves in the world that the author is trying to create. A great example of the use of imagery is from Kanye West’s song “Flashing Lights”: “First class with the seat back, I still see ya / In my past, you on the other side of my memory’s museum” (West, 2019, lines 36-37).

From these lines, the listener understands that, although West lives a life of luxury, he is still haunted by the memory of his ex-girlfriend. In the second part, West seems to be stating that he still thinks of her but feels separated from her. When an artist skillfully uses imagery, the listener is able to enter into the world of the speaker and feel everything that the speaker is feeling.

A relatively new sub-genre of rap is “socially conscious” hip hop. This sub-genre of music “question[s] the dominant cultural, political, philosophical and economic consensus” (Smolcic, 2016, para. 2). Some examples of socially conscious hip hop artists that are part of this movement are Kendrick Lamar, Common, Jay Z, and Public Enemy. These artists and others are calling attention to issues such as police brutality, prejudice, violence and injustice in their lyrics.

It is important to remember that using literary devices such as rhythm, rhyme, metaphor, and imagery does not necessarily make a rap into poetry. For a rap to be considered poetry, it needs express feelings in a way that is imaginative and creative with a distinct style and rhythm, and the lyrics must be complicated and multifaceted.

Watch the following video on “To Prisoners” (originally published in 1981) by Gwendolyn Brooks, a major influence on many socially conscious rap artists, as scholars and former prisoners reflect on the words and meaning. Think about generalization and specificity in the poem. How does the poem paint a specific picture? How does it remain timeless and relevant today?

Response

Adamari Bravo

MondayMar 29 at 9:19pm

Manage

Discussion

Entry

Hello Doc and

Classmates

,The music movement I chose was rock music. Rock and Roll has its roots in R&B rhythm and blues in the 1940s in the United States primarily in black Radio audiences (Martin & Jacobus, 2018). The genre was not accepted only after white groups and singers began to adopt the black style. It started to get popular by the 1960s one of the bands that is still known are The Beatles. The Beatles, a small group, especially political during the 1960s and 1970s. They condemned the Vietnam War and popularized Indian mysticism (Martin & Jacobus, 2018).The group used their influence to fight for political stability in different parts of the world. Some of the songs that were released that were political were “All You Need is Love,” “Revolution 9,” “Blackbird,” “Piggies,” and “Taxman.” The Beatles, the most influential pop voice of the

time

, responded to this shift towards violence with “Revolution,” the first Beatles song with an explicitly political statement. As “Revolution” stresses, it was not a movement about physically overthrowing a regime. It was a spiritual revolution, one aimed at overthrowing preconceived notions. Thus, before you can effect a lasting change, as John Lennon sings, you have to “free your mind.” As John Lennon sings in his masterpiece on the need for nonviolent change, “When you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out?” (Whitehead, 2014)A popular statement statement from John Lennon, one of the artist of the Beatles was “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” Despite the fame the Beatles received criticism from people who felt the group was too exaggerated. Percy Shain from the Boston Globe published in February 17,1964 describing the band as “a group of disorganized amateurs whose voices seem to be fighting each other rather than blending” (Schneider, 2014).

  
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