Is Rap Music Really “Music”?

Love it or hate, “Rap is here to stay”. But is it music? The dictionary gives us a clue:

Mu-sic: noun:

  1. Vocal and/or instrumental sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.
  2. The art or science of composing or performing music.
  3. The written or printed signs representing vocal or instrumental sound. “Reading music”.

So music is essentially sounds rhythmically put together to create an emotional response: it never says the response will always be positive, or even intended to be positive; music is often used as a tool of protest or outrage as much as it is used to sooth or calm our emotions.

Music is created within a specific culture, or subculture. And that is surely where “Rap Music” resides. Rap music is not just for entertainment. You won’t see couples dancing cheek to cheek to a rap song; but you will see them reciting the lyrics along with the artist, as we all do with the “songs” we like.

Rap, like “Rock ‘n Roll “or any other musical genre, “says something” to its audience, but not necessarily positively and for every taste; which is why your parents loved Tommy Dorsey but loathed Elvis Presley. So yes, “Rap” can be considered “music” just as any tribal ritual with its singing, dancing and drums can be, regardless if we understand, or enjoy it.

It just wasn’t meant for us; no more than a Beethoven cantata was meant for them.

Music is selective, made to for those who know and appreciate it. And there’s enough music around to fit anyone’s taste. So there’s no need to denounce and burn records they did with books. Just put on your headphone and play your own favorites.

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