Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Walk This Way

This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:



In 1986, hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. teamed up with rockers Aerosmith to record a remake of Aerosmith's song Walk This Way.




The video was the perfect illustration of the gradual transition from metal rock to the rap and hip-hop scene that would dominate music for...well...the rest of time, apparently.



The first use of the word "rap" to discuss rhythmic speaking in music was in 1971, with Isaac Hayes' album Black Moses.




But the style of music can be traced even further back--most notably to James Brown's funk music of the 60s. The first official rap song (as we know rap today) is considered Rapper's Delight by The Sugarhill Gang.




It was also a quick introduction into copyright laws for the rap industry. You see, The Sugarhill Gang liked the song Good Times so much, they decided to use its music for their song. After hearing Rapper's Delight, the songwriters for Good Times threatened to sue, at which point they were listed as songwriters. Many other groups (rap and otherwise) have learned that lesson the hard way over the years.



Soon after The Sugarhill Gang's song became a hit, mega rock star Blondie released her own rap song which was...a little weird. But it pushed rap/hip hop a little further into mainstream (she starts rapping at 1:54 and doesn't stop).




Like Rapture and Walk This Way, today's rap is usually incorporated into songs with sung lyrics, often to take a little of the edge off of what would normally be cutesy and girly:




Maybe Debbie Gibson should have given that a try.

58 comments:

  1. It can work well when blended. Look at the band Linkin Park.
    My favorite blend was Anthrax and Public Enemy doing Bring the Noise.

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    1. I agree...it's better when blended.

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  2. I just never got into rap... my oldest loved it... she had put earphones in and I bought her a TV and VCR for her room so I wouldn't have to hear it... lol... I went to extremes but I never tried to stop her ;-)

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    1. I've never cared for it either, although there have been songs I've liked over the years. Ice Ice Baby was THE song when I was in college and I remember liking Push It in high school. As long as it's fun and not profane, I can handle it. I like Meghan Trainor's music, too. She combines rapping and singing.

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  3. I wish rap never happened :(

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    1. Someone told me in 1989 when I was working at the college radio station that rap was here to stay...it has evolved over the years, but that person was right!

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  4. Debbie Gibson mention! Totally unexpected, like...Out of the Blue, dreams come true... ;) Never really got into rap.

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    1. That could be a rap, for sure! I love Debbie Gibson. To be clearer--Debbie wouldn't have done the rapping. It would be like Ariana Grande up there--Debbie would have sung and the rapper would have come in at the bridge to cool things up a bit. That way it wouldn't have been seen as so bubblegum pop-ish.

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  5. I loved every song you mentioned (though no memory of Ike's Rap) which is funny, because if you would have asked me if I like rap, I would have said 'no.' Guess it depends on the song!

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    1. Yeah, I think Ike's Rap was before our time. And it wasn't the type of rap we know today...but it was just the first use of the word "rap" to discuss talking instead of singing in a song.

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  6. The f this and f that rap is just stupid, but the mixture of stuff is usually pretty good.

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    1. Yes, I'm not a fan of profanity, especially not when it has to be bleeped. There's nothing worse than listening to a song full of beeps! (Except for the Pussycat Dolls song Beeps...they made it work.)

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  7. I am still a fan of that old school rap. Sugar Hill Gang and Run DMC, and of course, The Beastie Boys were all favs of mine.

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    1. I remember driving around on Friday nights with The Beastie Boys playing!

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  8. I never could appreciate the Rap music so wether blended or raw, I just can't stay with it. Blame it again on my old age.
    You sure do your homework and that I can appreciate very much.
    Have a WONDERFUL day Stephanie.
    Hugs,
    JB

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    1. Interestingly, I initially learned about the Sugar Hill Gang situation on Drunk History. It was fascinating. A producer put the group together... I think I read somewhere that they signed all the rights over to the Good Times people and they didn't receive a dime from the song because of it, even though they wrote the lyrics and performed the song. I love Drunk History! You get to laugh and learn at the same time.

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  9. Not a fan of rap either and some of the lyrics are awful. It does fit with your A to Z theme though.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I don't really care for rap as a genre but there are songs that have a little rap that I like. And I still listen to Ice Ice Baby whenever it comes on!

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  10. Honestly, I'd have done anything to be on stage with Aerosmith too. ;) Well, almost anything.

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  11. I'm not into rap, (smile) but I remember hearing all of the songs you featured today.

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    1. I'm not into rap either, but there are some things you can't resist.

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  12. This was walk down memory lane. Blondie, RunDMC, Issac Hayes and the Sugar Hill Gang--great stuff! I was never a big fan of rap myself, but I do enjoy a few of the old school types. And there's no denying rap's dominance of the music industry.

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    1. I was pretty much a straight pop music fan in the 80s. Pretty boring!

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  13. laughed at your last line. :)

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    1. I had that brilliant idea about ten years ago when Nelly Furtado brought in a rapper to make her songs cooler...I thought, "Imagine if Debbie Gibson and Tiffany had that option!"

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  14. Awesome post! I'm going to linger here and suck in these tunes before getting to work. Thanks for the [pleasant] distraction.

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    1. I've been pretty bad about watching these videos instead of working.

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  15. Ahhh, some of my favourites today. Aerosmith, Run DMC, Blondie, That's the 80's!

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    1. I agree! Of all of the things I learned writing these posts, the biggest was just how much of a role music played in making the 80s awesome.

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  16. I have to say that for the most part, I hate rap. I liked the Blondie song and I don't mind Will Smith. I think coming up with all the words the way they do takes something but...just not that into it:)

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    1. Will Smith always made an effort to only do clean rap music. You have to appreciate that!

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  17. I'm kind of glad Hip Hop vanished with the 80's.

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  18. Oh, I'm so glad she didn't! Can you imagine Debbie rapping? Shudder.

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  19. I loved Walk this Way and still do. Rapture is a different story LOL. Loved Blondie but that was like nails on a chalkboard to me.

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  20. No mention of The Beastie Boys? If anyone, they pushed rap & hip hop into the main stream, especially "white" main stream.

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  21. This isn't my kind of music. Give me Elvis. :)

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  22. I had to check it out as I remember "Walk this Way" from the 70s, working on the loading dock when I was in college! I don't remember the rap remake which is probably a good thing!

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  23. Thanks for the backstory on rap. When it first came along (actually, probably a while after it first came along, given your chronology), I couldn't get into it, but I gradually became a convert through trying to understand why it appealed to my nephew and later my daughter. There's such a huge catalogue now of rap music. Some of it I love, some of it I loathe--pretty much like every other genre of music.

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  24. Rapture was THE song for me after the Rapper's Delight hit. I was like, "Yeah, okay, I'll give it to the white blonde. She's kind of cool." :D

    I have to admit though, I still had Magic Man in my head way more often.

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  25. You have made me smile every time I read your blog post. I listen to the songs you mention and I am usually singing and dancing when the kids get home and they laugh at me. Seriously, I have enjoyed this nostalgic visit to the 80's. I was a huge fan of Arrow Smith and of course of Walk This Way. Except I hate the toe jam line of the lyrics. It always grossed me out.

    Melissa Sugar
    Twitter: @msugar13
    sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com

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  26. I don't think I've ever seen the entire video before. I enjoyed it. Rap has its roots in African American storytelling traditions. Ask Dr. Henry Louis "Skip" Gates of Harvard.

    Love,
    Janie

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  27. I remember this song and I was nuts about Aerosmith. Permanent Vacation came out not long after and I played that thing to death!

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  28. Rap. Meh.... *Shiver*

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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  29. Not my thing, but a great lesson on rap. Thanks!

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  30. I remember Hayes for voicing Chef on South Park

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  31. I've learned to like rap over the years, but it's not my go-to genre of choice. So glad you mentioned Blondie because she was so cutting edge with that song. I love her!

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  32. That's art for you. Bring in something new, and all the artists want to try it.

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  33. Interesting to read about the evolution of how rap came to be. I seemed to miss these songs in the 1980s for some reason :)

    betty

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  34. Run DMC was played on the bus on our way to many a football game when I was in high school. It wasn't my first choice, but whoever had the boom box got to pick the music. After a while it rubbed off on me. (You just can help but join in after a while.) :)

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  35. According to Professor Armand Leroi "Walk This Way" has been the MOST influential song of all time in the music industry. This amazing fact was told to me by my son who had attended the Ted Talks (one of which was given by Leroi in Oxford this year) - I thought it would have been something by The Beatles! Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

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  36. The Aerosmith/Run DMC video was really well done and a favorite of mine for a long time. I love to see Steven Tyler just bopping his head to the music.

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  37. I enjoy '80s rap because I think it's both good and fills me with nostalgia. I've only liked a few modern songs. These videos bring back memories.

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  38. I remember seeing Walk this Way for the first time and just not getting it at all :) I'm afraid I have never been a fan of rap and probably never will be ::g:: I'm trying to get my head round the idea of Debbie Gibson rapping - LOL
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  39. I never liked Rapture but my husband still insists on playing it often!

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  40. I freaking love Aerosmith! This is a great version. There are, apparently, 7 versions of the song. It's also the title of one of their books.

    By the way-
    http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com/2015/04/24/sharethelove/

    I just wanted you to know that I appreciate you, and all you bring to the blogging community.

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