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Thread: Rappers: Brilliant Musicians?

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  1. #1
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    Default Rappers: Brilliant Musicians?

    Is it a possibility that you would consider a rapper who does not do any instrumental composition to be a brilliant musician?

    I wouldn't.

    While there is definitely an art to rapping over a beat, I feel that this art isn't nearly as complex as what other songwriters are putting together. I understand rappers are creating unconventional melodies in their songwriting, but I don't think that these melodies are nearly as consequential to the quality of a song. For example, while it is true that rappers must design and execute certain pitches in their songs, it doesn't seem consequential enough where I would expect that a rap producer often has to tell a rapper that his pitch was off during the recording of a song. And I can't imagine a rapper being told that his pitch was off after a live performance.

    While people seem to believe they are trumping arguments such as mine by pointing out that rap lines actually do have melodies (as well as other complexities), they are failing to observe the inherent simplicity of these unconventional melodies, as well as the fact that these melodies are less consequential to the quality of the song. This is because the beat virtually always the main driving force in a rap song, and can cover-up lame rapping to at least some extent.

    I also have similar views about vocalists in hardcore bands that only scream.
    Last edited by bighead384; 06-25-2013 at 07:32 AM.
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    If we're comparing vocalists across the board, I don't see why not. A singer who doesn't do anything with instruments is no different. Now, most rappers are not particularly talented, just like most singers. But when I hear a rapper who can rap over almost ANY beat and turn it into a song, full of improv and curious/complex rhythms, I'm every bit as impressed as I am with a singer who comes up with a beautiful melody and has a great voice. In general, though, I have more appreciation for instrumentalists than I do vocalists (since I'm an instrumentalist myself), so it takes quite a lot for me to get super into a rapper.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    If we're comparing vocalists across the board, I don't see why not. A singer who doesn't do anything with instruments is no different. Now, most rappers are not particularly talented, just like most singers. But when I hear a rapper who can rap over almost ANY beat and turn it into a song, full of improv and curious/complex rhythms, I'm every bit as impressed as I am with a singer who comes up with a beautiful melody and has a great voice. In general, though, I have more appreciation for instrumentalists than I do vocalists (since I'm an instrumentalist myself), so it takes quite a lot for me to get super into a rapper.
    I can respect most of what you're saying except for this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Llamas View Post
    A singer who doesn't do anything with instruments is no different.
    Because the singer has to come up with melodies that are much more consequential to the quality of the song. In fact, a couple bad notes here and there or a weak melody could be the difference between a great song and an average one.
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    It all depends on the artist just like every other genre. Rappers like the Beastie Boys, Tyler, The Creator, RZA, Big K.R.I.T., Kanye West all produce their own beats. There's hundreds more out there that do both. I know rappers that have co-producing credits on everything they do because they probably get the beat from the producer, and if they're friends with the producer they can reshape the instrumentals here and there to suit their voice/the flow they're thinking about using ect. I have friends that are starting to learn producing, and they've made beats with our other friends who are mostly MCs. In the long run, the music doesn't have to be this super complex compostition as long as it catches a listeners ears it's a brilliant song to them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bighead384 View Post
    Because the singer has to come up with melodies that are much more consequential to the quality of the song. In fact, a couple bad notes here and there or a weak melody could be the difference between a great song and an average one.
    By that logic, a percussionist's job requires less talent than that of any string or wind player. As someone who's done some percussion, I have to completely disagree with you. I can play the keyboard and guitar and nearly a dozen instruments total, but drumming is next to impossible for me. I can also sing, but I can NOT rap. That shit is really hard.
    Quote Originally Posted by jsmak84 View Post
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    You have to judge everything in its context. First of all: should hip-hop producers receive more credit than they do?

    Probably.

    But the rappers themselves, especially those who are capable of freestyling well, are definitely talented. Llamas makes a good point that it's harder for the average person to sound OK while rapping a typical rap tune than it is to sound OK while singing a typical rock song.

    It's kind of like baseball players. Different players have different skill-sets, but no one really seems to have a problem judging them in their correct contexts. Dave Grohl would be like a Ken Griffey Jr.; a 5-tool type who can hit for power and consistency, field very well, and run the bases well. Someone like Nas or Eminem- very good rappers, but don't do much to create their own beats- would be more like a Mariano Rivera. They really only need to know how to do one thing well, but that thing, they do very, very well. And yet, no one wants to compare Ken Griffey Jr. to Mariano Rivera and argue who was greater.
    Last edited by XYlophonetreeZ; 07-15-2013 at 02:36 PM.
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    Eminem actually has produced a lot. Most of "The Eminem Show" album is his production. But I agree with what you're saying either way. I totally gotta grab "The Eminem Show" Really fucking good album.
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