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We asked Australian saxophonist/drummer, Willy Qua to answer the following question...

Willy Qua

October 2009

The Question:
Is There Any Intrinsic Musical Value In Rap?


Response by Willy Qua share this - email, favourites, social bookmarks and more

The question "Is Rap Crap, or does it have a respectable place in man's artistic endeavours?" ... I'm not sure.

To be honest, I can't stand 99% of Rap, and the only two Raps I've ever liked weren't by one of my black brothers, but a funny Jew, and a funnier Englishman (The Hitler Rap by Mel Brooks and The Gambling Earl Rap by Peter Sellers circa 1955)

I personally can't understand why anyone listens to that chordless, melody-less, monotonous bullshit, the normally ultra creative Negro race seems to have embraced. There would be 40 million Negroes in the USA and rather than hear one talking on a CD, or a film clip, a person can actually go and find one, and talk to him for NOTHING-and likely sound just as good!

(By the way, before I'm accused of being a racist, save your breath! I am! By choosing only the best, the slave traders inadvertently created the seeds for a 'super' race. Add that to the treatment dished out to the ones that survived the journey, we can see how Negroes, as a race are such world beaters in what they attempt, particularly in sports and music.)

However, as far as my own taste is concerned, they've taken a giant leap backwards with Rap. The giants of modern music-the guys that took the baton from the European Masters of Classical, Romantic and Impressionistic movement, namely the Tatums, Armstrongs, Birds, Dizzys, Coltranes, etc, would be fuming if they could hear what their descendants have done. Just when these geniuses elevated the essentially improvised Negro-spawned music of Jazz to the equal of anything the European Masters achieved, along came the Rappers.

These 'Rappers' have discarded melody and harmony, leaving the sole element of rhythm, used in the most pedestrian an uncreative way.

The subjective abstractions of Art and Music make it far more difficult to appraise than the time and motion activities, such as sport. With regard to the latter, man's speed, strength, and creative athleticism, can be fairly easily measured, even without a stop-watch. In diving, the jump turned into the belly flop, the belly flop into the elegant Swan Dive, and that to the Somersault, to the triple somersault with twists etc. Each successive achievement more complex than its predecessor. Astonishingly, Popular Music seems to have gone in the opposite direction. Rap seems to be about one step away from sitting around the fire and clicking sticks with each other.

On the other hand, Rap has two things going for it that are totally undeniable and therefore tend to validate its existence, regardless of my otherwise perceived lack of value: Incomprehensible as it is to me, some people actually like it! It makes people happy. Neither myself , nor Clarence Darrow , could mount a case against that.

Secondly, Rap exists by the very factor that makes it obnoxious to me. As musically prehistoric as it is, nothing else sounds like it! Compared to the music of Beethoven, Debussy, Coltrane or Jarrett, it's 'boof-head' noise. So, the secret with me that prevents me from killing one of these guys is that I no longer compare it with the above gentlemen. Instead, rather, by its uniqueness, I concede, Rap has a place in the catalogue of humanity's endeavours. In other words, we can't have everyone as good as Coltrane. (Personally, I still hate it! lol)

2009 Willy Qua

Editor's note: If anyone is offended by any of this...
As an aside, Willy said "No one takes me seriously and nor should they!"


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