The word “rap” is really just a shortening of the phrase “Rhythm and Poetry” and means “fast read” or “spoke fast”.
Rapping can be traced back to its African roots that is centuries older than hip hop music. The griots, or West African historians, were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation for centuries before the American development of Hip Hop. Such connections have been acknowledged by many modern artists, modern day “griots”, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics. Spoken word as it is known today did not evolve until the late 1980s and early 1990s with the emergence of “poetry slams,” where spoken word artists would square off incabaret-style duels. Since its inception, the spoken word has been an outlet for people to release their views outside the academic and institutional domains of the university and academic or small press hegemony. The spoken word, or slam poetry, evolved into the present day soap-box for people to express their views, emotions, life experiences or information. The views of spoken word artists encompass religion, politics, sex and gender. A spoken word piece can be powerful with the right emotion behind it but, at the same time, a lack of emotion can set a poem apart. It all depends on the topic. Life experiences are best, especially when the person has actually lived through the experience. Lastly, spoken word is used to inform or make people conscious of some aspect pertaining to life.
You may be asking yourself why I’m giving this so much interest, and the reason is simply to educate and inspire you. So starting today I want to place some spoken word so you can hopefully begin your week off right. Enjoy!