The socio-political influence of rap music as poetry in the urban community
Rap, like poetry, is oral and traditionally set at a specified meter, maintains a consistent thought and is created to please the ear as well as the mind. I contend that rap music, just as traditional poetry, stands as not only as a means to express creativity on the part of African-Americans, but it also stands as an art-form that addresses an agenda that would stand to spark meaningful dialogue. In Richard Wright's essay, "Introduction: Blueprint for Negro Writing," he explicitly expresses that the untraditional means through which black literature has evolved and is not identical to European-based literature. He also insists that much black writing that existed through the mid-20th century stemmed directly from the sharing of jokes or through "burnt-out white Bohemians" producing stolen or purchased material from needy blacks.2 Whichever the case, I assert that because of these modest beginnings, black literature has had to choose a different path to legitimacy than "white" literature. Black literature is sprinkled with unconventional characteristics that have helped itself gain a status of legitimacy and cultural reverence, and therefore is compelled to maintain some aspects of those characteristics to retain some black arts authenticity.