Sunday, 30 June 2019

Understand Rap - Stormzy Is A Signpost


.. a hell of a lot of people , usually white, middle aged and older, and stuck in the seventies when it was normal to treat non whites as second class. This weekend saw Stormzy headline at Glastonbury much to the annoying of may of the people I've mentioned, but I doubt they gave the amazing spectacle he led and presented more than five minutes.

  This introduction to Rap and Hip-Hop shows that the genesis of this begins nearly a century ago, and to be quite honest I personally think it goes back a lot longer than that , Rap is basically spoken word poetry often with an added rhythm backing which may eventually be seen as a song, but Rap can be just spoken word. It is NOT singing but it IS performance and it IS ART.

The subgenres sort of grate on me as it seems to dissipate the art form, so GRIME is Rap with an electronic 140 bpm a bit faster that the standard disco 125 bpm , but as far as I am concerned it is RAP. A lot of songs can be performed with the most basic percussive backing be it hand claps or foot taps.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company demonstrated this with their "Othello Rap", as do poets such as does John Cooper Clarke with his live performances and this goes back to Beat Poets and well before then to the oral folk traditions.

I will admit I didn't know any Stormzy songs or pieces but he is just part of the vast tableau of art available to us these day. The Glastonbury performance was a huge production, involving a huge amount of people and planning . Stormzy was the centre , and wrote a lot of the material, but there were bands, fireworks displays, gospel choirs , other rappers and an Ed Sheeran cover in the set.

It was not limited to Grime and Stormzy can sing as well rap.  The set is available for 4 weeks on BBC iPlayer here. After opening with "Know Me From" Stormzy ran through the debut album with extras such as the aforementioned "Shape of You" against a backdrop of digital screens, fireworks and supporting cast. This was an impressive performance regardless of genre and was inclusive not exclusive, and was very watchable and an incredible triumph.

I do hope this performance stays in the digital world so that everyone can experience this incredible performance.

Maybe I'm a bit lazy, not wanting to go to Glastonbury but they certainly know how to stage a show.

If you haven't seen Stormzy , set aside a couple of hours and watch this performance while you can.

Stormzy is a signpost worth following. Grime won't be your preferred option but you will be impressed by what it can deliver. Oh and feel free to watch the "Othello Rap" that is both clever and funny ..... and totally boatless



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