US political commentator Ben Shapiro says rap isn’t real music

17 September 2019, 11:11

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

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.”

Zuby | The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special Ep. 68

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.”

Read more: Lizzo the hip-hop flautist is bringing classical music to new audiences >

Ben Shapiro admits he 'knows little' about rap
Ben Shapiro admits he 'knows little' about rap. Picture: PA

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.”

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...