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What’s Your Rap Name?

Do you like rap music, yo? Word, can you spit out some lyrics? Are you street? Ok, I’m just babbling. I only know two rap songs, Ice Ice Baby and Rapper’s Delight. But I have been watching The White Rapper Show on VH1 (is there nothing better on!) and it got me thinking. First, I am so out of touch with what is cool and hip, and second, the whole rap culture is very similar to the online culture.

I’m a music lover, and I use my gadgets to play music. I remember the pre-disco sound of heavy metal very well. That was a great time. Groups had names, and group members had real names like Robert Plant. It wasn’t until later that some of these members started getting personas instead of names, like Bono, the Edge and Sting. But where heavy metal was about volume and jamming, disco evolved into dancing, togetherness, celebration, and became a countrywide movement. Even Ethel Merman had a disco album. As a Chicagoan, I remember very well the backlash that followed the hedonism of the disco movement in the early 80’s when a couple local DJ’s, who are still working here, marked the end of the era with Disco Demolition Night at the old Comisky Park.

In 1979, a made up group sprang out of the New York music scene with a sound that wasn’t quite rock, and it wasn’t quite disco. It grooved and it funked, it was street and it had a beat, and it wasn’t exclusionary to any type of people, Rapper’s Delight:

I said a hip, a hop, the hippie, the hippie
To the hip hip hop, a you dont stop
The rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat
Now what you hear is not a test – I’m rappin to the beat
And me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet
Ya see: I am Wonder Mike and I like to say hello
To the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow
But first I gotta bang bang the boogie to the boogie
Say up jump the boogie to the bang bang boogie
Let’s rock, you don’t stop
Rock the rhythm that will make your body rock
Well, so far you’ve heard my voice but I brought two friends along
And next on the mike is my man Hank:
Come on, Hank, sing that song

Today, rap has gone onto the stratosphere. There are many different types of rap now. But at it’s root is this song, and it’s humble lyrics. More importantly, rap is sung by personas, not groups. These personas become brands, like Snoop Dog, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, and LLCoolJ.

Log on to an online forum and you’ll see personas as well. Icons, avatars, signatures and quotes costume one’s profile and add to the mystique one builds. Who’s behind the keyboard? Do they have gold teeth? Are they as helpful as they seem or are they after something? Either way, they’re projecting an image. They are selling a version of themselves to you. But that’s just my opinion.


January 19, 2007 - Posted by | Opinions

1 Comment »

  1. Hey, if you’d like to see what LL Cool J is up to, we just published a pic of him doing an in-store at the Virgin Megastore in New York.

    Check it out:

    Comment by David Rheins | September 12, 2008 | Reply

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