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17 September 2019, 11:11
A political commentator thinks rap isn’t music – and the Internet is coming for him.
US political commentator Ben Shapiro has tried to convince a rapper that hip-hop isn’t really music.
Shapiro, who has been an opponent of the genre for a while, made the controversial statement in the latest Sunday Special episode of his show, The Ben Shapiro Show.
In the latest episode he sat down with indie rapper, author and podcast host, Zuby.
“In my view, and in the view of my music theorist father who went to music school, there are three elements to music,” Shapiro says in the interview above. “There is harmony, there is melody and there is rhythm.
“Rap only fulfils one of these, the rhythm section. There’s not a lot of melody and there’s not a lot of harmony. And thus, effectively, it is basically spoken rhythm. It’s not actually a form of music. It’s a form of rhythmic speaking. Thus, beyond the objectivity of me just not enjoying rap all that much, what I’ve said before is that rap is not music.”
Despite openly admitting he knows little about the genre, Shapiro continues: “From the outside, when I listen to hip-hop, I don’t hear a bunch of family-oriented messages. In fact, I hear a lot of messages that are degrading to women, I hear messages that push violence, that are disparaging to the police.
“I hear messages that treat relationships between men and women as something disposable and glorify mistreatment of women... the art form overall, which not only has an impact on not just black young people but is disproportionately listened to by white young people. I don’t particularly like a lot of the messages I hear.”
This isn’t the first time Shapiro has shared his thoughts on rap music. Back in 2012, he wrote on Twitter: “Fact: rap isn’t music. And if you think it is, you’re stupid.”
Fact: rap isn't music. And if you think it is, you're stupid.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 9, 2012
In the interview, published to YouTube on Sunday 15 September, Zuby argues that while in rap, you won’t always find harmony and melody in the vocal line, “in terms of the production, there’s a lot of harmony and melody there”.
He adds: “Rapping is a different art from singing. So, the focus is on the rhythm rather than the melodies and harmonies by intention – otherwise, you’d be singing.”
Needless to say, the Internet agreed. They just had a slightly different way of phrasing it...
This analysis of rap music by @benshapiro is beyond idiotic. My man @MrChuckD would destroy his thesis in under 60 seconds. Poor Ben should watch Ice T’s @FINALLEVEL documentary on rap music. https://t.co/uy45i9TBFE— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) September 16, 2019
This fool @benshapiro: “…there are three elements to music. There is harmony, there is melody and there is rhythm…Rap only fulfills one of these, the rhythm section…it’s not music."— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 16, 2019
This is false. It has all 3. Just because you don’t like rap, doesn’t mean it isn’t music. https://t.co/Y4W991h022
Ben Shapiro saying "rap music isn't really music" in the nerdiest white-guy voice imaginable is just begging to be sampled in a million rap songs.— Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) September 16, 2019
Yo @benshapiro have you ever really listened to hip hop ? Not just a song or two and decided it wasn’t for you , I mean actually took the time to study and listen to it? It’s full of beautiful melodies and harmonies . In fact some of the modern rap is more melodic than pop music https://t.co/irYYn8Z1Ld— Jelly Roll (@JellyRoll615) September 15, 2019
While im on the subject @benshapiro there has never been a genre more unfluential to ever other genre of music than rap music. Pop radio is full of rap influenced songs right now , country music is now influenced by rap music . Every genre is trying to take pieces of rap now— Jelly Roll (@JellyRoll615) September 15, 2019
Ancient Greek music theory explicitly says melody is intimately linked with rhythm and meter of words. So therefore, rap is music. Ben Shapiro is terrified of black people. https://t.co/PQTw0YIzog— diego (@alvarez_diego01) September 15, 2019