Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Real Reason Rap Music is Popular

Back in the 1800s, Walt Whitman shocked the literary world with his free verse published under the title Leaves of Grass.  His work, which captured the rhythm of American life, served as a springboard to other famous writers, including Carl Sandburg and beat poets like Allan Ginsburg.

Today, Rap music attempts to build on that legacy and has failed miserably.  Rap, and its cousin Hip Hop, is loud, often profane, usually incomprehensible with pathetic attempts at meaningless lyrics, with no depth or purpose other than the damage hearing of anyone within a few miles of the source.  No one remembers a single line a few moments after hearing a "song."

On the other hand, Whitman’s observations echo today: “If you want me again look for me under your boot soles.”  In other place, he wrote, “I am satisfied ... I see, dance, laugh, sing.”  '

Then there’s Sandburg’s safe comment, “A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.”  

One of his poems radiates with humanity and feeling that Rap cannot touch:

“Come clean with a child heart
Laugh as peaches in the summer wind
Let rain on a house roof be a song
Let the writing on your face

be a smell of apple orchards on late June.”

In contrast, here are some of the most famous lyrics in Rap music, culled from a website that listed the top 50 rap lyrics of all time:

"Crack mothers, crack babies and AIDS patients/Youngbloods can't spell, but they could rock you in
Mos Def
PlayStation." Mos Def

"If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?" Kendrick Lamar

"Thinkin' of a master plan/Cause ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand." Rakim

“Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge/I'm trying not to lose my head/It's like a jungle. Sometimes it makes me wonder/How I keep from goin' under." Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

If none of that is rancid illiteracy enough, how about the number 1 lyric?

"I never sleep 'cause sleep is the cousin of death"  Nas

Thrilled by banality?  Sleep being tied to death goes back 2800 years to the Iliad, for example. 

It doesn’t get better with “famous” Rap artists.  Consider these lyrics from Eminem, who is considered one of the great Rap artists of all time.

"Lose Yourself"
Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment
Would you capture it, or just let it slip?

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
The whole crowd goes so loud
He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
He's choking how, everybody's joking now
The clock's run out, time's up, over, bloah!
Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
He's so mad, but he won't give up that
Easy, no
He won't have it, he knows his whole back's to these ropes
It don't matter, he's dope
He knows that but he's broke
He's so stagnant, he knows
When he goes back to his mobile home, that's when it's
Back to the lab again, yo
This whole rhapsody
He better go capture this moment and hope it don't pass him

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go (go)
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
(You better)

The “song” rolls on for a lot more lines, but anyone with the slightest sense can see this is simply gibberish.  Yo.

To be subjected to such idiocy on a regular basis helps explain why Climate Change has become such a threat to human civilization.  God has clearly had enough.

There could be another reason as well.  It relates to a recent discovery that I am a victim of an international conspiracy to prevent me from going where I want to go at the pace I want to go.  Yes, driving and bad music are definitely connected.

Previously, I thought that the many examples of bad driving I see daily were random.  Most people probably make that same mistake when they encounter someone going 10 miles under the speed limit in a speed lane, or who pulls out of a side street oblivious to the lack of space and then slows down, who signals one way and goes the other or who simply drives so erratically as to clog traffic.

It’s not random, at least in my case or in the many like me across the country.

My first real clue came recently when I was driving to the library.  I innocently followed another driver who carefully signaled and turned until we came to the library.  Then, the driver simply stopped his car and blocked both the road and the entrance to the library.

This was clearly planned and organized to stop me.

I immediately recognized two basic criteria that determine whether a driving episode reflects the conspiracy: 1) there had to be no apparent reason for interfering in the flow of traffic, and 2) I had to be the only one affected. 

Sample of bad driving
Since then, I have endured multiple instances of similar blockade efforts.  They made me think about various aspects. 

First, why pick on me?  I’m innocuous with no power or authority.  I concluded that haplessness made me the perfect candidate.  If I complained, who would listen? That's why others caught up in this same situation have failed to speak out.

Second, why do this at all?  I concluded that this was a practice run for disrupting the entire traffic flow in this country.  Terrorists realized that we are on guard for bombs and other violence.  However, havoc caused by creating gridlock would cause far more damage than any explosive.

Third, how did they communicate?  This was trickier because no one could hold up a sign.  I could see that. Besides, I could shift directions abruptly, leaving a team of obstructionists on the wrong road.  The answer was that they must use the radio.  Every car has one.  Instructions can be sent instantly and in direct response to any direction I choose.

Car radio
However, I realized there could be a problem: after all, I could hear the instructions and would be immediately alerted to the conspiracy.  Therefore, any messages must be in code.  Couldn’t I still hear the code?  Obviously, I could stumble on it by going through stations.  Therefore, the code must be played on a station I was not likely to visit or to linger there should I accidentally turn it on.

To accomplish that, the station must play the worst music ever composed. Naturally, I would never listen to that or would immediately turn the channel as soon as I heard it.  In fact, the music must be so bad that no one would listen to it unless forced in order to obtain the code. As a result, the music would appear popular as conspirators listen, while, in reality, it’s simply causing their ears to bleed. 

The obvious answer: Rap music.

At least, as a code for nefarious activities would explain its continued existence.  Nothing else does.

I imagine Whitman’s modern counterparts are patiently waiting for the truth of Rap’s purpose to be publicly known so that the conspiracy can be thwarted.  Then, maybe, Americans can actually return to music that isn’t designed to nauseate listeners.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about various topics, including contemporary American issues.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His most recent book is Passover in Prison, which details abuse of Jewish inmates in American prisons.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at


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