Why Rap Is Not Music

Charlie K    |

Being open-minded and having an open mind is a great gift, especially when it comes to music. Being an average American college student can be hard, and quite frankly, we may not know how to have an open mind and an open heart.

I'll be honest, I've been a hardcore conservative in the world of music for most of my life, which means I listen to mainstream music, rap in particular, without any respect. I have always thought that this genre was too negative and based on content, not even real music.

My experiences in rapAluminum audio battery broadcast

As a middle schooler, I was confronted with a first-hand experience with this kind of music.

I was walking with a friend of mine when he remarked that "The left is turning hip-hop into black culture," to which I replied, "That's a lie; hip-hop is not a black culture." He got mad and shot back, "That's what I am. My music is just rap!"

I didn't realize that his music was not rapped at the time, but rather that he is not a "real" rapper. I got annoyed and retorted, "That's like saying a country music artist is not a musician, and therefore not an artist."

He got mad at me, and I said, "If you aren't one, then you're not one."

We were still walking when he decided to add one last comment. He said, "When you said you were not an artist, I didn't think you meant it." It's hard to prove that he was actually "a real" rapper.

Of course, the irony is that when I said that to him, I was making a joke about being a "real" rockstar and having a "real" band, and therefore not being an artist.

To sum it all up: just because you are from America, you are not an artist. You are simply a rockstar, and I'm sorry, but that's not art.

My point is that not all music is equal, and not all music is music.

Rap is not musicMan with dreadlocks and sunglasses poses near tupac shakur portrait

Rap is not art.

Now I think rappers can make good music, and I think that a rap artist can have some talent for making great music.

However, when that music comes to be, it often relies on obscenity and is often centered around making fun of other people. (Personally, I believe these two traits are the foundation for art, which is generally respected and not degraded for mere entertainment.)

If an artist relies on the butt of the joke, then that artist is not an artist. Just like a comedian who focuses on the worst jokes and uses them to make you laugh at their own expense, a rapper must not limit his or her art to just making fun of a certain group of people.

Some people may think that making fun of other people can be an acceptable form of humor, and it may be that way in a good sense, but it should never be a form of art. Using humor to insult people in an insensitive way is not art and should not be glorified for entertainment.

If an artist wants to have a career based on their humor, they should be an actor, comedian, or comedian actor. Being funny is fine, and most people can learn to laugh at themselves, but they should not have a career based on doing so.

Art is not for those who use humor as a crutch and therefore try to be mediocre in a field they do not have the skillset.

When rap comes to be made to make fun of people, it falls flat. It is merely insulting, and at worst, plain mean.

Rap is not art; it is just another form of music.

If it is done well, then I am sure many people will enjoy it. If it is not done well, it is just as bad as music that is not music at all.

Why?Gray scale photo of man lifted by people holding stratocaster guitar

Lyrical content varies greatly across rap styles, but many, including the spoken word variety and hard rap, present literal interpretations of the presented events in the songs they sample.

Some rappers are known to pantomime instruments (see the song “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by 50 Cent), while others do not (see the song “All Eyez on Me” by Biggie).

I will touch on sampling later in this article, but for now, the key point is that the act of sampling was probably the first example of music in any genre to recreate the sounds of an existing song literally. The invention of sampling has undeniably changed the way music sounds today.

The second characteristic of rap that makes it unique among genres of music is instrumental or instrumental soloing. Often, instrumental solos are played by rappers in a way that is distinct from how any other instrument would perform them.

Rap solos take a distinct approach from other forms of music, and unlike musical instruments, rappers play one instrument and do not play another instrument. Some rappers (and freestyle singers) play the electric guitar or drums, others play the bass guitar, and some, like Busta Rhymes, play the piano.

The last characteristic that I want to discuss is sample-based lyrics, which leads me to argue that rap is not music.

Many argue that rap lyrics cannot be regarded as music. The main argument is that the lyrics are mostly made up of words, and some are made up of words that rhyme or words that do not rhyme.


Whether or not a song is considered music depends on the exact point of view. Some would argue that any music piece that includes lyrics is not music, and others would argue that songs that are not music are still better than no song.

That said, I would argue that rap songs should be judged for how they are created and performed rather than for how they sound. To be considered music, the lyrics and the music should complement one another.

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