I Don’t Listen To Rap

I’ve come to the conclusion that when people make a point of saying “I don’t listen to rap”, that nine times out of ten, they’re thinking that there is a specific intrinsic value to that statement.  It’s like when you’re telling someone about a great TV show and they interrupt you to say “Oh…we don’t own a television”.  They’re not simply stating facts.  They’re letting you know that they’re different from everyone else and that they’re probably looking down on you from an elevated, enlightened perch.  Otherwise there would be no need to interrupt your appraisal of a TV show with their lifestyle choices.  With music, it’s the same thing more often than not.

Honestly, I can understand not being into a specific genre.  However, I hate when people say they don’t listen to rap and then list everything that’s wrong with mainstream rap as a reason for it.  “It all sounds the same to me” is a common complaint, but no; what sells to the public at large all sounds the same…I will give you all that.  However, there is no genre of music more diverse than rap, in my opinion.  Hip-hop has touched so many cultures worldwide and people from so many varying walks of life have picked up the mic at one time or another to where you’d be foolish to sit there and say that all rap is alike…but we’re also dealing with people who are saying this just to have something to say or to prove themselves to be a highbrow of some sort.

I can from first-hand experience tell you that you can be well-versed in other genres and still be a die-hard hip-hop fan.  In fact, I recommend all fans of any one genre also be fans of others in order to truly appreciate the art of making music as a whole.  I’ve said many times that I can’t trust the ear of a hip-hop fan who listens to nothing but hip-hop.  If you can’t appreciate James Brown, then there’s a lot you don’t understand about the origins of rap.  If you can’t get into the samples used from jazz, blues, country, etc. to create your favorite hip-hop tracks, then you’re only appreciating a small percentage of what’s available to you to enjoy.  I heard “A Garden Of Peace” by Lonnie Liston Smith years after first hearing “Dead Presidents” by Jay-Z and it made me appreciate the craftsmanship that went into using the sample ten times more.  On the reverse, if you’re making one blanket statement about your inability to appreciate hip-hop based on a handful of examples, you’re either in love with complaining or too lazy to make the effort to find what’s dope to you…or both.

A Garden Of Peace x Lonnie Liston Smith

Author: Shaka Shaw

frontfreedotcom@gmail.com

8 Replies to “I Don’t Listen To Rap”

  1. Never heard the OG sample for this song before but I like it. Reminds me of when I was listening to Radiohead and I heard the sample for a Roots song, or watching the Boondocks and hearing the sample for T.R.O.Y. Rap has the unique ability to combine every single genre of music into one art form. There’s something that everybody can appreciate if they take the time to listen.

  2. Great article. I was just talking the other day about the elitist attitude people have when it comes to letting others know that their taste or choices are far better than anyone elses.

  3. A lot to talk about on this entry. I hate when people short change the depth and breadth of hip hop and I’m glad you touched on that.

    Digging in the crates was a way for me to renew my love for hip hop in a time where I was disappointed with what was coming out. I was able to go back into the archives and find the originals to some classics which made me fall back in love with it all over again. I’ve then talked to some old heads who at one point proclaimed intense hatred for hip hop and turned the argument on its ear, next thing I know they are listening to De La or Ice Cube or Common.

    Anyway, any self proclaimed music lover is disingenuous at best if they claim to not listen to rap, they just choose not to hear it.

  4. I’m guilty of that…but when you have people claiming Future is the savior of hip-hop you have to call a spade a spade and say look, your taste sucks bro. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying when you think your taste is better than someone else’s but not if you’re saying “I don’t like rap and therefore…” because…just no. lol

  5. But see this is where it’s tough because I also take issue with people saying “oh i can’t listen to anything after 2000” because that’s not being fully invested in the progress of the culture; it’s remaining stagnant. The 90s is still a golden era to me but there is still dope music being put out today in the same vein. We have yet to see what will be classic or not in coming years, but there’s still quality so for folks like us to sit back and detach completely just serves to further the generation gap to where the youth can’t relate to us and we can’t relate to them…so that’s when they say screw the foundation and call Drake or whoever the best to ever do it. Old heads gotta be invested enough to say “yeah thats cool but look over here…”

  6. Nah, rock is more diverse. There is Muslim death metal in Egypt, for example. Defend rap without a straw man argument like “other genres are not the most…”

  7. Hip-hop has never needed defending and the argument was never about attacking other genres, since I listen to all kinds of music. The article attacks the idea that someone’s tastes are better because they claim not to like rap when most have only heard the worst possible examples. But you’re here to read what you want to read from what I’m putting out there, so carry on bro. Lmao.

  8. Dope article for bringing down the “i don’t listen to rap” argument.

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