Rap converges with religious glossolalia

September 10, 2020 • 2:30 pm

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of rap music, which has replaced soul music, a fantastic period of song, as the African-American pop music. I do like some rap songs, but only when the rapping has a melody interspersed.

Here’s Iggy Azalea “freestyling”, which is improvised rap. She’s not very good at it, and this almost seems to be a form of glossolalia, or religious speaking in tongues. And, just like for those who do this in church, the crowd goes wild.

You can have it.

Is that any different from this?:

34 thoughts on “Rap converges with religious glossolalia

    1. What I don’t get is how I can find so much music to love, going back hundreds of years, more if you count the origins of folk music from around the world, yet somehow modern pop/rap music has become so awful that it reduces me to cursing fits of rage when I cannot mute or change the channel fast enough. And not just pop or rap but modern country and a good amount of what passes for rock these days. Is it really just me, my age, or has what the masses enjoy just become that shitty? Perhaps at 43 I’ve entered crusty old farthood but then my son, at half my age, feels much the same way.

        1. They already play the music of my teens on the “classic rock” station and Elvis is apparently too old to play on the “oldies” station anymore. Go figure.

          And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my kid’s band who just put out a three-song ep on Spotify, C.H.I.M.P., Astro Ever After.

          1. I’m very nearly PCCe’s age. I tell my boys that the world was Black and White in my youth as widespread coloured movies, TVs, and pictures were yet to become common. Some of the ‘stuff’ I once treasured is now on display in museums.

            My boys are now middle aged men themselves. And so it goes.

      1. I get you.
        See my comments way below about brains and musical tastes.

        ALSO… there’s “survivorship bias” in that…in the 60s (and let’s say you and me and Prof Coyne and many readers regard the 1960s as a good time in music)… in the 60s there was a lot of crap also. MOST of it has been forgotten so only the quality stuff (Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead, etc) remains.

        Maybe in 40 years time the best of THIS era will remain and kids then will say “They had the best music in the 2020s!”

        Survivorship bias is my guess.

        D.A., J.D. NYC (writer/atty)

  1. I love all forms of music. I do struggle sometimes to appreciate some of the rap and hip-hop but so what. As long as the aggregate of human happiness increases then play on, play on.

        1. This is so weird, I enjoy throat singing and I just came across The Hu on Wednesday, I didn’t know it was a thing but I kind of dig it.

      1. Ironically I’d say that rap in fact works best in heavy metal.

        I know nu-metal is old hat nowadays but I still like the first Linkin Park album with its pop-rap-metal mixture.

    1. Yeah ya think? She’s under the I Pression she has talent because people have told her how talented she is but nope she really isn’t.

  2. I acquired an appreciation for rap by watching Hamilton. Very interesting back-story about how Lin-Manuel Miranda came to write the play and the music. And what a volatile time in the history of the US! There are a few things about this you can watch on youtube, and then the entire play is available on Disney channel for a small monthly fee. I was surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did. Helps to have done a bit of reading, and watched a few lectures ahead of time however.

  3. I don’t like freestyle music of any genre (I never got, for example, the joy people get from riff bands like Phish,) I loves me some repetition and hooks. But there’s plenty of relatively more mainstream rap with awesome hooks that even my mostly-90s-music-loving-self can get into. Old Town Road, In My Feelings, This Is America, etc.

  4. From her Wikipedia article, “Azalea joined The Beatles as the only acts to rank at numbers one and two simultaneously with their first two Hot 100 entries”. The comparisons stop there, I suspect. It would be interesting to see how her singles sales compared in terms of actual copies sold.

    1. “She Loves You”: “the day before it went on sale, some 500,000 advanced orders had been placed for it”.

      “Fancy”: “In the United Kingdom, “Fancy” became her highest charting single as a lead artist at the time, debuting at number five on the UK Singles Chart and selling 38,320 copies in its first week”.

      ‘Nuff said…!

  5. I have a theory – neurology is a hobby of mine – I have NO quals I’m just a well informed tourist in the field…
    …but …

    my theory is that just like after a certain age we can’t learn languages without an accent, and later we can’t learn languages at *all*…… our musical tastes are “stuck” in our teens and 20s.

    I’m also no music guy but I’ve studied/speak Japanese and Russian successfully: but German, French and Arabic with minimal success.

    Think of it in this context:
    “Is there much music you heard after your 30th birthday you really like?”

    I quite like rap from the 80s/early 90s (when I was 20), but little music at all afterwards.

    This question is for a greater brain than mine – Pinker maybe as he’s into music and has a fine stock of brains in jars in his attic – I’m told —– 😉

    Nevertheless I think there’s a brain chem link between languages and music appreciation and aging. That’s all I’m sayin’.

    D.A., J.D., NYC (atty/writer)

    1. It does sound plausible but as with many things it is surely much more complicated and what you describe is merely one of many factors.

      For example, yes, there is a huge amount of music I’ve heard beyond age 30 that I like. I still frequently find new music that I like. But I do have a particular attachment to the music from my youngest years of musical awareness through perhaps my college years, and especially the music of my high school years.

      Interestingly, and I’m sure this is common, that includes quite a bit of music from eras prior to my own. Such as the music my parents listened to and classics from the previous several decades at least that were still getting air time.

    2. Butterscotch, a singer, and the first female world beatbox champion (2005), made a how-to video 13 Levels of Beatboxing: Easy to Complex,. Watched it out of curiosity, and will not be trying learning it, but I certainly came away with more understanding of the complexity, and a respect for her talent.

    3. “Is there much music you heard after your 30th birthday you really like?”

      Yes. I was in my late 30s when I began to listen to opera, in particular Mozart’s The Magic Flute. I became obsessed with it. This lead to decades of learning about opera in general and even participating in staged productions here in Milwaukee (as a supernumerary). My kids grew up with it being played constantly so they will need to find some other form of music to discover in mid-adulthood.

  6. Glossolalia is not necessarily religious or rap related, and not necessarily bad. Lisa Gerrard’s singing in the group Dead Can Dance often featured glossolalia, and it worked very well. Notable examples are Sanvean (which featured in the TV show The West Wing) and The Host Of Seraphim (which featured in the movie Baraka).

  7. I don’t know that I see a great substantive difference between the nonsense filler used by some rap stars while “flowing” and scat artists.

    I enjoy scatting in jazz but I’m not generally a fan of rap music. I think it has to do with the lack of a melodic component to the vocal performance.

    Also, a note to PCC, apologies, I made a comment above and accidentally autofilled a different email address in the email field. I’m not attempting to pull a swift one, it was just a mistake.

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