The argument concerning whether music can be authentic or inauthentic has been debated for many years. In Ralph Ellison’s essay “The Charlie Christian Story,” he argues that there is true music and imitative music. In his essay he states that, “true jazz is an art of individual assertion within and against the group. ” Although Ellison talks about jazz, I believe that the word Jazz can be replaced with the word music to make the statement more general and explain authenticity in deferent genres of music. For example In rap music there are various examples of authenticity and Imitation.
The artist Tuba Shaker and the artist Christopher Wallace, also known as the Notorious B. I. G or Baggy Smalls, are examples of rappers who deliver authentic music. Tuba revolutionized the rap Industry by discussing deeper, more Influential, topics than what many rappers today talk about. One of his most famous songs Changes, which came out In 1 998, after he died, talks mainly about racism and animosity In the world. In this song he states that people should start making changes and contribute to making the world a better, more prosperous, place to live in: instead of always being self-centered and driven by hate and greed.
The Notorious B. I. G. Not only talked about the problems in the world, but also talked about his life. In his song Juicy, he raps about his life struggle and how he became successful by following his dreams and overcoming the hardships that impeded his path. A more modern example of an authentic rap artist is Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Fifty, in my opinion, delivers authentic music because his music contains personal experience, much like Tuba and Baggy. He grew up poor, he became a gangster, he went to jail, he dealt with violence, he got shot, and in his music he writes about all of those occurrences.
In his first and best album Get Rich or Die Trying’ he wrote about all of his life events and the path that led him to fame and success. In his song Many Men, which was featured in his first album, he raps about how he was a target for murder and about his experience and recovery of getting shot. Other reasons why I believe that 50 Cent’s music is authentic, is due to the fact that he does exactly what Ellison says. Fifty’s music is art of individual assertion within and against the group. He used ideas from artists such as Tuba and Baggy, added his own flavor and uniqueness and created a sub genre of rap music known today as “Gangster Rap. Many others after him have imitated his style of music but have not added their own experience or touch; this Is why much of the music today, In my eyes, is considered to be Inauthentic. There are many artists today who I would consider to be Inauthentic. Soul Boy, R. Kelly, Young Jazzy, Paul Wall, Fat Joe and many more are all examples of artists who create Inauthentic music. Every one of their songs contains scalar lyrics to one another. The songs are either discussing how much money the artist has or how many girls the artist has.
There Is no deeper meaning or message that Is being invoked to the listener, unlike lyrics from Tuba, Baggy or Fifty. Inauthentic music Is the bulk of the rap music produced today. Even authentic artists like Tuba, Baggy and Fifty have degraded to lower levels, in order to please the For example one of 50 Cent’s new songs I Get Money is inauthentic because it only talks about his money and how he spends it. Despite the fact that this song is inauthentic it is still very popular because people enjoy dancing to this song at clubs and parties. This undermines the theory that authenticity is based on popularity.
Just cause a song is popular does not mean that it is authentic. Debating whether music can be authentic or imitative, in my opinion, is a valid argument. Most of the popular music today is imitative and, unfortunately, contains no real meaning. However, artists like Tuba, Baggy, and 50 Cent have created opportunity for new aspiring artists to thrive. By accepting the music for what it is, then adding your own originality and experience to it, will you be able to create authentic music. This is why I believe that true “music” is an art of individual assertion within and against the group.