In Defense of RapApril 12, 2010 Posted by: Joe Morgan, CFA
Over the competition, I’m towerin’
Wreckin shop, when I drop these lyrics that’ll make you call the cops
Don’t you dare stare, you better move
Don’t ever compare
Me to the rest that’ll all get sliced and diced
Competition’s payin’ the price
I’m gonna knock you out (Huuh!)
- L. L. Cool J.
From the start, rap music has been the underdog. First enjoyed only by a small segment of the population, no music genre ever spread so quickly to cross barriers or race, country and class so quickly.
I believe there is a simply reason for this: Rap is emotional and raw, always driving for an expanded audience through an unabashed desire for high sales volume.
I don’t recall ever seeing a van painted entirely to advertise a country or easy-listening artist. But in San Francisco — hardly the rap capital of the world — it’s rarely a week that goes by without seeing such aggressive guerilla advertising techniques. The art of the music is retained, but the goal to be on top is still at the forefront.
There’s something you have to respect in this raw desire to be successful.
Certainly, other genres have huge hit records and there’s even a genre that is named after such success: “pop” as in popular music. But no artists I know of in country, pop or even R&B will come right out in their lyrics, arguing they are the best performer of all time. Only rap allows for that sort of hubris.
Winning is typically the goal of any competition; however, in nearly the last half-century, many have either lost their desire to win at extreme cost or were never taught it in the first place. Perhaps this is a hangover effect of the way the Vietnam War was fought or perhaps it’s simply an inevitable result of such a rich economy.
I’m no sociologist so I won’t hazard a guess, but I do believe we need to shake our fear of winning and begin competing to bring home the gold. Our government can help by negotiating treaties and developing a tax system that incites growth and competition for U.S. firms and individuals alike. We as individuals can help by realizing...Read More