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Thursday, August 18, 2011



I don't know much about rap music, other than that I never hear the term anymore except when uttered by people who don't know much about rap music. It seems to be called "hip-hop" now, which could give a person the serious misconception that it is written and performed by bunnies. The lyrics don't bear this out, since they deal in very un-bunny-like themes, such as self-glorification, cop-killing, drugs and fornication with large rear-ended women. It's all part of "hip-hop culture," and how those two words found themselves in the same sentence is one of the great mysteries of the world.

Live performances of these artists rarely result in actual music being played by actual people. Luckily, there is singing. Well, not exactly singing, but there is lip-syncing during the parts where a tune is in danger of forming. It's as if the artist considers himself extremely fortunate to have hit the correct notes one magical time when they were recording the song, and doesn't want to press his luck at the concert. If the singer is feeling brave enough to attempt to actually sing, the microphone he uses is always a "pitch-correcting" device that figures out the closest note to the one he is trying to hit and nails it! A less gifted singer myself, I tried a pitch-correcting mike, and when it actually shrugged its shoulders I got the hint.

You don't need to know how to play instruments, as long as you know how to play records. The "DJ" can usually be seen wearing a pair of headphones on one ear only. If you talk to an off-duty DJ, make sure you stand on the non-deaf side. The DJ is the one who makes those god-awful scratching sounds incessantly during a perfectly good song. Another piece of advice, don't lend him any of your records.

If the group does not have a DJ, odds are that it will instead employ an "MC," or Master of Ceremonies. Most of the ceremonies include self-glorification, cop-killing, drugs and fornication with large rear-ended women. The foremost MC that I can think of was MC Hammer. The ceremony that he is most famous for mastering was the pilferage of Rick James' "Super Freak," which he took credit for writing, since he yells out "U can't touch this!" (he wrote that!), smack in the middle of the chorus.

Rap music has spawned an entire industry on the creation of beats. You can now buy a beat, if you don't have any of your own. When I found that out my heart skipped a beat, and I had to buy it back. The service comes in handy if you use the "rhythm method" of birth control. You can now even lease a beat, provided you return it in good condition. Back in the olden days there was a device called a drummer that provided much the same service, but it was unreliable and was expensive to lubricate.

If there are no instruments or live singing, you are probably wondering what all those people are doing onstage. Those are professional gyrators. If the rap artist is a male, there are at least five female gyrators with large rear-ends, and if the artist is female there are a minimum of five male gyrators, hoping to at least pass for bisexual.

And it works: all the dancing is infectious, and without an antibiotic it is impossible not to dance to some of these tunes. One time I busted a move out on the dance floor, and since no one could fix it I was forced to return to my seat.

There are certain bands that perform a mixture of rock and hip-hop, like Linkin Park, for instance. These hybrid bands are intriguing in the way they cross over socio-artistic boundaries, and also because they save on gas.

I didn't know who Usher was when he first burst on the scene, but I knew he was much more talented than those others who didn't make it: Valet, Gas Station Attendant, Electronic Integrated Systems Mechanic, none of them had what it takes.

But I think I do. In every rap song, during the un-rapped parts, there is always a guy going "UH-UH-UH" in the background, as if someone was repeatedly dropping a D-cell battery on their foot. Sometimes he repeats what the rapper says, in case you didn't realize how important it was. I am mastering the art of ceremonies, including the posturing. I made the mistake of practicing those rap hand gestures outdoors, and a plane landed right next to me.

I will need a name. "Lil'" this or that is popular, "Lil'" being short for "Litl'." I am not small enough for that: "Me'm" would be better. Anything with a "Q," "J" or other high-scoring Scrabble letter is good. If your name sounds goofy, change it: Puff Daddy thought his rap name sounded foolish, so he adopted the much more intelligent-sounding "P-Diddy." Work the word "ice" into it if possible, to symbolize street toughness. You never know when you might encounter death on my street, since deer are not as swift as one would think. Use "z" at the end of anything plural and "K" to replace anything that starts with a "C." So call me "MC DJ Kool Ice Q-bez," especially if you are the I.R.S....

Incidentally, some historians believe that rap music came to the U.S. from Africa, and others contend that it arrived from the Caribbean. Either way, it's doubtful that it had a valid passport. The "hip-hop lifestyle" is said to include four elements: rap, graffiti art, break dancing and DJ-ing. For me, any type of dancing is considered break dancing, and my orthopedist will back me up. So if you ever hear that "MC DJ Kool Ice Q-bez is in da house," den itz time to change da lockz.

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