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'Music is the art of organizing tones in a coherent sequenceso as to produce a unified and continuous composition. Vocal or instrumental sounds possessing rhythm, melody, and harmony'.The American Heritage dictionary. ' Music is a kind of counting performed by the mind without knowing that it is counting', The Monadology (1714) A method of employing the mind without the labour of thinking at all'.Samuel Johnson, quoted by Boswell, Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides(1785). Music is work.John Cage, Empty Words (1980)A piece of music is simply a chunk of time you are paying attention to withyour ears.Barney Childs, quote in Ewen, American Composers (1982)
According to Tafui ,"Hip Hop is a cultural movement expressed through the traditional elements of deejaying , emceeing, various forms of dance (breaking, popping, locking) and writing (graffiti art)'. ' As a culture, hip hop represents other aspects of culture as well such as language, style of dress, politics'. Marcus.P
'Hip hop is life'.marcus parker. 'Hip hop music is a culture which break dancing ,graffiti writing , DJing, rapping singing and fashion is used as a means to express freedom from oppressive social conditions. Hip hop music was formed from human transcendence as a result of the creative instinct by African Americans as a result of social oppression on the African American, Latin American and afro Caribbean 1970's communities in New York city. A famous DJ at the time DJAfrika Bambaataa defined that defined the five pillars of hip hop culture: MCing, DJing, breaking, graffiti writing, and knowledge. Other elements include beat boxing, hip hop fashion, and slang. Since first Since first emerging in the Bronx, the lifestyle of hip hop culture has spread around the world'. Robert M, Sr.
'When hip hop music began to emerge, it was based around disc jockeys who created rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables, which is now more commonly referred to as sampling. This was later accompanied by rapping and beat boxing'. Garofalo.R. An original style of dancing and particular styles of dress arose among followers of this new music. 'These elements experienced considerable refinement and development over the course of the history of the culture'Robert M, Sr.
One of these refinements was the birth of Gangsta rap.According to Marcus.P 'Gangsta rap is a type of hip hop which focuses mainly on the negative aspects of inner city life. The lyrics often glorify criminal activity and degrade women. 'This genre of hip-hop has been a source of tremendous controversy and is often cited as the cause of the increase in violence. This is particularly true amongst black youth'. According to federal statistics cited by the Charlottesville Daily Progress, homicide is the leading cause of death for black men between the ages of 15 and 34.Many gangsta hip-hop artists justify their music by claiming they are only retelling the experiences of their lives on the streets'. However, close analysis of the song lyrics often reveals a plethora of curse words and no substance'.
' According to commentators such as those found on Urban Dictionary.com, many artists have been forced to create artificial 'gangsta' images for the sake of a lucrative career. Many young people idolize these artists and imitate their behavior'. Joanna White-Oldham.
This ongoing fever for hip hop music amongst the youth began to spread over the globe to other countries like China, Canada, and the United kindom and other parts of Africa.
'Hip hop music arrived in Cuba via radio and TV broadcasts from Miami. During the 1980s hip hop culture in Cuba was mainly centred around breakdancing' Fairley J .Initially hip hop was criticized not just by the government, but by many in the community as well. With raperos emulating US rappers' aggressive posturing and lyrical content, hip hop was seen as just another cultural invasion from the US, bringing with it the violence and problems of the ghettos'. Fairley J. 'Cuban rappers attacked social and political issues concerning Cuba such as racism, class struggles and police harassment etc. But as pressure for commercial success increases, many of the grass roots artists do not understand the recent change of rapping about partying, cars, and women' . Pacini.H, Deborah and Garofalo.R . "Hip-hop in the United States started out as a voice of protest, an alternative voice for urban, inner-city youth to voice their grievances, to talk about their living conditions, their hopes and aspirations," said Abiodun, a member of the Black Liberation Party before fleeing to Cuba 14 years ago as a U.S. fugitive facing racketeering charges'. Nancy D.
"But now what we see in terms of rap in the United States, for the most part, it's really not talking about anything. Also according to Baker, Geoffrey 2005,"many criticize the objectification of females in the dancing and in videos. Some see it as dominant if the women dance in front of the men in a doggy style position, but critics see it as a way of letting the male take initial control over the female. Also many argue that the females in those music videos are objectifying themselves to seem lower than men'. Wunderlich, Annelise 2006 . According to B.Geoffrey 'Music videos are becoming more explicit. To gain a following of their music, Cuban hip hop artists are continuously using provocatively dressed females. This sexual image in their videos is taking away from the audiences ability to actually listen to the lyrics and understand them. The lyrics being addressed recently by Cuban hip hop artists stand as a rebellion against the many downfalls, such as poverty and racism, that their nation is currently fighting' Baker, Geoffrey.'Sexually-charged dancing (like grinding and doggy style) often associated with hip-hop, are not the only things criticized. In recent years, Hip-hop has merged with Cuban culture to the point it can be heard in parades, school dances, and clubs. This has given rise to the problem of children, 16 or younger, hearing and singing the lyrics found in Cuban hip-hopwhich often make reference to sexual activities'. ^ Baker, Geoffrey. 2006.
According to Chris Kehinde Nwandu , 'Hip hop in Nigeria dates back to the late eighties and early nineties. Groups and solo artists during that period include the likes of Junior & Pretty, Daniel ,Danny Wilson , Plantashun Boyz , Remedies with members Eedris Abdulkareem , Eddy Remedy & Tony Tetuila'.
It is estimated that 80-percent of urban youth can be reached through Hip-Hop, which encompasses rap, graffiti, dancing and fashion'The late 90s and the 2000s saw a remarkable increase of artists and groups like Eldee da Don of Freestyle , Ikechuku, JJC and the 419 squad , D'banj and P-Square became a part of mainstream Nigerian music after the collapse of pop trends like Yo-pop . 'The availability of computers and cheap music editing software in the late 1990s and the 2000s enabled Nigerian musicians to achieve higher quality recordings, which quickly won over the Nigerian audience. As Nigeria's Nollywood movies have done to Western movies, Nigerian hip hop has begun to displace Western popular music'. Nwandu k. 'As the Great Music Debate (launched by The GuardianLIFE in the aftermath of the wide and wild debate generated by the article, A Nation's Identity Crisis of renowned columnist and public commentator, Dr Reuben Abati in his column, CrossRoads in The Guardian on Sunday, June 21), enters its third week, some Nigerian artistes have expressed their opinion on the lyrical contents of Nigerian hip-hop songs. Though with different responses, yet, a good number of them contend that despite the fame and wealth that some of the artistes have been amassing through their works, many of the songs ruling the airwaves or the public entertainment circuit, are deficient in quality lyrics; and have have little or no lesson for the listeners'. Chris Kehinde Nwandu.
'The GuardianLIFE sent email and sms messages to a collection of the artistes including D'jinee, Ruggedman, Dare Art Alade, TY Bello, NoMoreLoss, J.Martins, IlBliss, Ashioye Ugbo, P'Square, Timi Dakolo, Keffee among others. Out of the list of about 20, however, only a few responded and their views were recorded as follows:Popularly known for his song, No Vernacular, Lagos Jump, Omo Wale among others, the dreadlocks-wearing half-German quizzes, "how can you have fuel shortage, bad roads, Niger Delta crisis, children being accused of sorcery in the South-South, Haliburton scandals and you are busy talking Moet, girls and blingz?" BY CHUKS NWANNE. According the new talk of the town, 'Bracket' , "The lyrics of Nigerian musicians are in reality... is more real than fiction because they reflect the day to day experience of the artistes".I, Lara George, an ex member of the famous KUSH states, "Our lyrics as Nigerian musicians need to be improved upon and not destroyed. Instead of looking for monetary satisfaction that could be destructive and then building NGOs to fix the damage done; we need to use our music to leave a legacy that will help improve the way we are viewed by the rest of the world."
'Lara, who is no doubt one of the best female vocalists in the country for now, adds, " We need to perpetuate solid values in our own environment and grow the psyche of the 'man on the street' in a positive way. She won the Best Female Vocalist at the Nigerian Music Award in Owerri, Imo State. Her songs such as Ijoba Orun, Rest Of My Life and others made noticeable impact in the music scene'. CHUKS NWANNE.
In an atempt to defend todays music Etcetera Ejikeme said: "At moment, you can broadly classify Nigerian artistes into two; what I'll call the mainstream and the alternative. For most of the mainstream artistes, lyrics are the last thing on their minds; basically they just want to make anything that the youth can dance to. The only challenge is that we all don't dance 24/7. So, it's within those quiet moments, when you reflect on the lyrics of a song you've been dancing to for months that you suddenly realise how totally hollow and sometimes senseless it is'. Ectcetera also added on the Babaeko's Xtreme Music that: For the alternative youth, these are serious musicians, who understand that a lot of craftsmanship must go into making a piece of music. They generally have more profound lyrics that grab the imagination of the listeners."
'The good news however is that the Nigerian music listeners are very sophisticated -- they are beginning to ask probing questions, demanding for quality music. This is the point where real musicians will be separated from charlatans. All the way from the US, Emma Agu, one of the founding members of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria, PMAN, acknowledged the rapid growth of the country's music industry, but faulted the lyrics of some of the artistes'. Chris Kehinde Nwandu. 'There is a remarkable improvement in the audio and video presentation, but the industry still has a long way to go, when it comes to the lyrical contents of the vibes; majority of these boys are churning out. Did you hear Tu-Face's It's time to have sex? I think that was disgusting! Time and time again, I try to make out what some of these hip-pop guys are saying; I barely could catch a word out of their vibes. Most of their lyrics do not make sense.'BY CHUKS NWANNE
'Days are gone when you go to a nite clubs and dance to American beats from dusk till dawn without complaining. Those days of Shaba Ranks, Patra, Buster Rhymes, Chakademus & Pliers, 2Pac, Shagyâ€¦ these artist ruled the country's music industry for long, and we had no option than to love them. No option! Those days, it was like a taboo to play a Nigerian song or video on air. A radio station was even so audacious as to decree that no Nigerian music except Fela will grace its air'.CHUKS NWANNE . 'Nowadays things have changed as the Nigerian music is being heard more than even the foreign ones. The Nigerian acts have grown so big that even the foreign musician coolaborate with them to to make new music. Hip-hop has also become an effective tool to communicate with youth under siege, using the language they understand. Social consciousness hip-hop workers have used the microphone and their message to speak to the youth about crime, drugs and have conducted workshops in town halls addressing the youth about the dangers of dangerous living'.Marcus P.
'But critically studied, much of the music coming from the artistes these days, especially the male folks, is shallow and meaningless in lyrical content, beats and composition. If the singers are not rasping about sex or some other lewd subjects; it will be about how many women they have bedded or dated or jilted; or about 419 and related issues; or what they call beefing (abusing perceived enemies). Once an artiste sings about money, everybody follows. Then another sings about sex, and the rest will file in. The beefing has in fact become an industry, much in the light of the eighies' rash of abusive songs by the Fuji musicians, who now in their late 60s -- and burnished with the wisdom that comes with old age (?) -- must be regretting those dirty words they were trading with their opponents on the scene then'. Kuti.S .
The President of Professional Musicians Association of Nigeria, Agu admits however, "I hear good music from Nigeria; well produced music, beautiful vocals with good melody, fantastic bass line, distinct snare drum, hi-hat and trebling kicks, good harmony, nicely mixed and mastered, but lyrically empty."Hip-hop has gone beyond being just about music, but has actually become a brand, a lifestyle and an urban culture that almost everybody aspires to be associated with - even big corporate. It is on this note that inevitably the rapper is now more than a musician but has become an entrepreneur that utilizes his or her craft to sell global brands of big corporations. Rappers are trendsetters; where they lead others follow. They can revitalize a luxury brand by making it seem youthful and individualistic'.
'It is estimated that 80-percent of urban youth in lagos can be reached through Hip-Hop, which encompasses rap, graffiti, dancing and fashion' The Guardian Life magazine. According to Murray Forman, professor of media studies at Northeastern University in Boston. "To say there is no influence and no effect by hip hop music is naÃ¯ve.
Basu.D , Sidney J, Wunderlich, (2006) "Cuban Hip-hop: Making Space for New Voices of Dissent." In The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop and the Globalization of Black Popular Culture London; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press,
Pacini.H, Deborah and Garofalo.R, 2004."The emergence of Rap Cubano: An historical perspective." .BurlingtonVt. Ashgate press.
Wunderlich, Annelise: "Cuban Hip-hop: Making Space for New Voices of Dissent," 'The Vinyl Ain't Final: Hip Hop a2006 Pluto Press
' Basu, D and Lemelle.S 2006 ,'the Globalization of Black Popular Culture' London: Pluto Pres page 168.
Pacini.H, Deborah and Garofalo.R. 2004." "The emergence of rap Cubano: An historicalperspective." In Music, Space, and Place,' Ashgate, .press"