Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

#Rap and #Yale University Press - The Anthology of Rap

A new book charting the rise of rap music has been released by Yale University Press. "The Anthology of Rap" was written by Andrew Bradley and Andrew DuBois two Professors of English at the University of Colorado and the University of Toronto.

Type bookstore, Canada

Why is rap so interesting to these academics of the English language? NPR recently interviewed Professor Andrew Bradley, one of the co-authors, and we learn how our favorite raps tunes can be broken down to the intricate lyrics, social commentary and syncopation. These Professors are telling us why we love these tunes!

"Now, even with my poor MCing skills, you can hear within that something pretty tremendous. And what that is, is this is what I've discovered by actually transcribing it [Rapper's Delight]. It's written in ballad stanza. This is the form of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner.' But it's also the form of the 'Gilligan's Island' theme, you know, the ballad stanza of storytelling form that's been with us in our culture and finds its way, whether intentionally or not, into these lyrics." Adam Bradley (Co-editor, "The Anthology of Rap") discussing The Sugarhill Gang's 1979 classic, "Rapper's Delight."

"The Anthology of Rap" explains how the original M.C.s were actually party D.J.s. And if you watch Doug Pray's 2002 "Scratch" documentary you'll also hear various hip hop legends explaining how the hip hop D.J. (or in the 70s more likely a break D.J.) ceded the spotlight to the M.C.

"What developed out of DJing was the very concept of MCing, of putting words in rhyme to the music. So some of the early innovators in the art of rapping are actually DJs: Eddie Cheeba, DJ Hollywood. Even Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, these are people who started often as DJs and then made the transition into the lyrical art." Adam Bradley

Legends vs. The Hits This isn't a book about the best-selling rap records. There's no Vanilla Ice, M.C. Hammer or even Young M.C. The Anthology is about the lyrical prowess of rap and the artists that wrote those rhymes. In particular, Rakim is held in high regard. No doubt! God M.C.

"People had to go back and really start over with their lyrics once they heard Rakim. He's that kind of artist. Take one of his most famous lyrics, 'Microphone Fiend': 'I was a fiend before I became a teen. I melted microphones instead of cones of ice cream.' Just that little play of language." Adam Bradley

The Last Word
"What do I want people to take out of the book? I think I want people to take away a sense of rap in full. I think rap at its best is a keyhole into American culture over the last 30 plus years. It's a way in to think about all of the things that matter to us about this past four decades. And it's also something you can dance to. So how good is that?" Adam Bradley

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