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Music 15 Hip Hop WEEK ONE: PreHistory. The Dozens Competitive trading of insults, frequently rhymed. Yo mama jokes are the most common variety probably.

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Presentation on theme: "Music 15 Hip Hop WEEK ONE: PreHistory. The Dozens Competitive trading of insults, frequently rhymed. Yo mama jokes are the most common variety probably."— Presentation transcript:

1 Music 15 Hip Hop WEEK ONE: PreHistory

2 The Dozens Competitive trading of insults, frequently rhymed. Yo mama jokes are the most common variety probably Prevalent throughout African American communities in the US and traceable to West African practices

3 The Dozens in Music Frequently used as text for blues songs The trading back and forth trope becomes a standard part of blues, jazz and later hip hop mc’ing

4 Jelly Roll Morton “Dirty Dozens” Jelly Roll Morton was the first major figure in jazz; an influential bandleader, composer and arranger, whose career ranged from playing in brothels to composing serious music for recording. This track was recorded informally very late in his career and sets the dozens to a piano blues backing

5 Bo Diddley “Hey Man” Bo Diddley was one of the most influential figures in early rock and roll, especially in establishing the new rhythms that marked the style Here he plays the dozens with his percussionist over one of his trademark beats

6 Toasts Toasts were stock tales that were generally recounted in rhyme. Most are bawdy, violent, highly stylized and funny Many of the folkloric examples were collected in prisons, military contexts, barbershops, street corners etc While there is a finite number of these stories, there’s a huge variety of ways of telling them

7 Toasts continued As with the dozens, some trace their roots to West Africa Some of the most famous examples are The Signifying Monkey, Stagger Lee (Stackolee), Mexicana Rose, The Freaks Ball, Doriella Du Fontaine etc

8 Comedy Both the dozens and toasts were mainstays of the repertory of African American comedians, especially in the first half of the 20th century. Some of these performers began in vaudeville and wound up working what became known as the “Chitlin’ Circuit” Some of the best known of these performers included Moms Mabley, Pigmeat Markham, Flip Wilson, Redd Foxx and Rudy Ray Moore

9 Pigmeat Markham “Here Comes the Judge” Markham began performing on the vaudeville circuit in the early 20th century and continued well into the TV era. While African American, he performed in blackface well into the 1940s Late in his career he became a regular on the “Laugh In” mostly in his judge character This record is a cash-in on the TV character but comes close to presaging early rap

10 Dolemite “Signifying Monkey” Dolemite was a performative alter ego of Rudy Ray Moore, especially when performing material based on toasts. He’s basically a kind of “bad man” figure from one of the toasts This version of the Signifying Monkey was hugely influential in rap (see Schooly D, ODB etc)

11 Radio Disc Jockeys Many of the most popular radio disc jockeys from the 50s through the 70s developed often complex styles of jive talk and patter, often over the top of the music they were playing.

12 Parliament “The Mothership Connection” George Clinton frequently used radio DJ personae and DJ-like catchphrases in his songs for both Funkadelic and Parliament. This is one of the most famous examples.

13 Black Arts Movement Alongside the Civil Rights movement, many African American artists became more politically radicalized This term refers to the loose group of artists

14 Last Poets “Niggers are Scared of a Revolution” The Last Poets were a radical performance poetry group that emerged from the Harlem Writers Workshop The main members were: Jalal Mansur Nuriddin (Alafia Pudim), Umar Bin Hassan, and Abiodun Oyewole They declaimed their work over minimal percussion accompaniment Notice the use of repeated phrases to musically and verbally structure this piece

15 Lightnin’ Rod “Sport” Lightnin Rod was an alter ego of Last Poet Jalal Narrudin when he performed non-political material. This is from an album entitled “Hustler’s Convention” which is basically an extended toast (Players Ball). Musical backing is by members of Earth Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang

16 Music Made from Other Music One of the best ways of understanding the basics of hip hop is that it is a form of music made from other music. This is a circumstance that came about through the ubiquity of recorded music. The two other forms that worked in a similar way that fed into hip hop were disco and reggae

17 Reggae Many of the important early figures in hip hop were Jamaican Both the sound of Jamaican music and the way of doing things had a huge impact on hip hop There were two main structural influences: DJs who talked over music, and the dub practice of reusing instrumental backing tracks of already existing songs

18 Soundsystem The primary means of disseminating music in Jamaica in the 1970s was the soundsystem This terms is more of a social structure/complex than a technological one It refers to the whole structure of putting on a dance or a party: the speakers, the records, the DJ, the selector, the promoter, the dancers

19 “Talkover” As in the US radio DJs in Jamaica developed flamboyant on-air personalities while talking over the music Many of these DJs also hosted dances or were part of soundsystems so the practice transferred to a performance context too At parties the standard practice became to talk over instrumental dubs of popular songs Eventually these performances were recorded and released as their own records

20 Dub The word has a number of meanings in the Jamaican context: it derives from “duppy” meaning ghost, it refers to duplicates of recordings, esp. “dubplates” or test-pressings of records Eventually it came to define the style of making mixes of other records that dropped out various elements and altered them, especially using echo and reverb

21 Dr Alimantando “Best Dressed Chicken in Town” Dr Alimantando was one of the pre- eminent Jamaican DJ performers. His work often skewed to the more surreal and humorous as here

22 Big Youth “Can You Keep a Secret” Big Youth was the first openly Rasta DJ This song is a version of Keith Hudson’s “Melody Maker” rhythm

23 Disco Disco, like hip hop was more of a social practice and context than musical style per se. Disco DJs played all kinds of records: jazz, African, R&B, exotic etc The practice of extending records to keep people dancing was pioneered in disco by DJs like Tom Moulton and Francis Grasso

24 Eddie Kendricks “Keep on Truckin” This is a basic R&B song that was popular in discos Compare the original to the edit by Tom Moulton which extends especially the instrumental builds and breakdowns to make the song more exciting Moulton used tape to edit songs but other DJs mixed between two copies of the same record as became standard in hip hop

25 James Brown “Give it up or Turn it Loose” This is representative James Brown song from the early 70s. Brown had started as an R&B singer but in the later 60s shifted his sound to what would become known as funk: the emphasis shifted from the song to the groove The groove is expressed through the short repetitive interlocking parts played by the instruments in the band. This style of building up the rhythm layer by layer was a huge influence on hip hop production

26 Chic “Good Times” Chic was a project of the duo of guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards Rodgers had a strong jazz background, and had been a member of the Black Panthers, while Edwards was more of a straight R&B musician Their concept was to take the energy of the “breakdown” sections in songs popular in discos, and to build more complex traditional pop songs on top of that

27 Chic “Good Times” They essentially took the James Brown model and made it sleeker This song is a rather bittersweet invocation of the good life, which made it popular in both discos and at street parties It was one of the most popular records for early rappers to rhyme over


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