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The Three Waves of Contemporary Rap Music

The Three Waves of Contemporary Rap Music The Three Waves ol Contemporary Rap Musi, Ronald f emal Stephens The person of words has always played an important part in the social structure of African-American culture. Over a period of nearly four hundred years, the artful use of words has evolved into a variety of speech genres within the African-American community. These genres include the creation of plantation tales, work songs, and unique preaching styles; the telling of rhyming jokes, riddles, singing games, and jump-rope rhymes; and the use of more creative rhetori­ cal devices such as sounding, woofing, jiving, signifying, rapping, playing the dozens, telling toasts, boasting, and bebop talk. A principal aspect of the African-originated "orality" found in rap is nommo, the supernatural power of the spoken word. The rhyme and rhythm that appear throughout African-American speech, litera­ ture, music, and dance are essential parts of nommo. Nommo creates 1. See Roger D. Abrahams, Deep Down in the fungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia (Chicago: Aldine, 1970); Thomas Kochman, "Rapping in the Black Ghetto," Transaction (February 1969): 26; Kochman, "Toward an Ethnogra­ phy of Black Communication," in Rapp in' and Stylin' Out: Communication in Urban Black America, ed. Thomas Kochman (Chicago: University http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Black Sacred Music Duke University Press

The Three Waves of Contemporary Rap Music

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Copyright
Copyright © 1991 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1043-9455
eISSN
2640-9879
DOI
10.1215/10439455-5.1.25
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Three Waves ol Contemporary Rap Musi, Ronald f emal Stephens The person of words has always played an important part in the social structure of African-American culture. Over a period of nearly four hundred years, the artful use of words has evolved into a variety of speech genres within the African-American community. These genres include the creation of plantation tales, work songs, and unique preaching styles; the telling of rhyming jokes, riddles, singing games, and jump-rope rhymes; and the use of more creative rhetori­ cal devices such as sounding, woofing, jiving, signifying, rapping, playing the dozens, telling toasts, boasting, and bebop talk. A principal aspect of the African-originated "orality" found in rap is nommo, the supernatural power of the spoken word. The rhyme and rhythm that appear throughout African-American speech, litera­ ture, music, and dance are essential parts of nommo. Nommo creates 1. See Roger D. Abrahams, Deep Down in the fungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia (Chicago: Aldine, 1970); Thomas Kochman, "Rapping in the Black Ghetto," Transaction (February 1969): 26; Kochman, "Toward an Ethnogra­ phy of Black Communication," in Rapp in' and Stylin' Out: Communication in Urban Black America, ed. Thomas Kochman (Chicago: University

Journal

Black Sacred MusicDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 1991

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