“The Roots and Stylistic Foundations of the Rap Music and Tradition” Hip-Hop as well as many other artistic cultural forms we practice today can be related back to African culture and various traditions. Author of The Roots and Stylistic Foundations of the Rap Music and Tradition, Cheryl Keyes, discuss’ the spirit, style, tradition, emotions, culture and the delivery of music.
Keyes says that many of these practices can be traced back to the West African Baric Tradition in particular. When asking many old-school, and culturally Involved hip-hop artists about the roots ND origins of rap/help-hop music many of them will refer to Africa. In our culture hip- hop Is considered a form of art and It Is Important that we know Its origins as It Is easily traced to Africa and African culture. According to the text cultural reversion is the foregrounding of African-centered concepts.
Keyes cross references this term to her analysis of the transition of African oral cultures to American soil following slavery by referring to the lifestyles of African slaves in the North and the South, how they were poorly treated and their relationships with Caucasians emerged over the years. Once slavery “ended” blacks were not Instantly free, they could not Just go off and do what they wanted, they had no homes, they had no money and many of them had families so they could not just up and leave especially the women.
As a result Africans began to work for white families as this was the only way for them to get by. Through this many cultural traditions were developed and continued post slavery for instance the “Invisible church” where slaves went to secluded places “brush harbors” for praise, worship and storytelling they were called “praise houses” which have now been constructed as churches In modern times post slavery. Most stories during this time were told in a rhyming sequence which has been carried out in rap music from the time it evolved until the present.
After reading on through the textbook I noted that Keyes has set the pace for many of the articles in the text as they all relate to the West African Baric Tradition (WBT) in some form. One must know his or history in order to have an understanding of what is to come. Later on In the text Iatric Rose discusses the Importance of the relationship between cultural forms and context as many of them have contributed to the development of hip-hop In some fashion. In brief she specifically points out a few cultural forms ‘e.
Cultural tradition, related current and previous practices as well as the way practice is shaped by technology, economic forces, race, gender, and class. These forms have all contributed to the development In many ways, and have a large impact on the art forms economic and cultural state. In particular the cultural traditions which we can Instantly relate to the WBT as It correlates to hip-hop music and we can Instantly relate that to race, gender, and economic forces due to its male dominance in both hip-hop as well as African culture. These traditions are what allow the West African Baric Tradition to still exist in society today.
Removing cultural forms such as tradition and race would take away the origins and symbolic history from rap music as it means so much to the African and African American culture. In chapter one of the text, Keyes specifically discusses the West African Baric Tradition as It deals with Call and grandfather/grist would sit down all of the immediate children and rap to the beat of the drum. These stories/raps were often being told a form of lesson passed to the children through call and response. For instance, young children are always told by parents “l wish you knew you school work like you know the words to that song. It is often easier for one to interpret a lesson in a fun manner/music which made its easy for the children to comprehend lessons passed from the grist. This is how the Mac’s of hip-hop communicate and interacts with their crowds at different performances or concerts, through call and response, “When I say Hey you say Ho, and so on. ” In African culture music is used to teach, uplift spirits and celebrate the drumbeat is set on a two and a four (the pace of a heartbeat). The practice of a drumbeat set on a two ND a four is still used today in hip-hop and many other forms of music.
A lot of African and African American creativity and art is a direct action to our oppression. Keyes references two terms in her essay mamma and mono, Mamma Be Kumar La meaning the energy of action is in speech and Mono meaning power of the word. Both the terms mamma and mono have the power to move or persuade in reference to hip-hop culture. The term mamma is somewhat parallel to the idea of crowd interaction in the hip-hop world (ii. Concerts and Interactive performances). The term mono in reference to persuasion is the use of expression of life’s twists and urns through music.
Many artist tend to write about personal feelings in which listeners often can relate to, this here is similar to the reasons slaves created the “invisible churches” and discuss oppression throughout their music. While some may say this is controversial there are several who disagree with this because they more than likely are able to relate to the music. As the West African Baric Tradition is passed on today it is the role of the Hip-Hop community to assure that these cultural traditions still exist throughout our music and many art styles.