[Marxism] Rap music originated in medieval Scottish pubs, claims American professor
sabocat59 at mac.com
Sun Dec 28 11:24:11 MST 2008
Rap music originated in medieval Scottish pubs, claims American
Rap music originated in the medieval taverns of Scotland rather than
the mean streets of the Bronx and Brooklyn, an American academic has
By Simon Johnson
Last Updated: 3:57PM GMT 28 Dec 2008
Professor Ferenc Szasz argued that so-called rap battles, where two
or more performers trade elaborate insults, derive from the ancient
Caledonian art of "flyting".
According to the theory, Scottish slave owners took the tradition
with them to the United States, where it was adopted and developed by
slaves, emerging many years later as rap.
Professor Szasz is convinced there is a clear link between this
tradition for settling scores in Scotland and rap battles, which were
famously portrayed in Eminem's 2002 movie 8 Mile.
He said: "The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting - intense
verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the
dozens that one finds among contemporary inner-city African-American
"Both cultures accord high marks to satire. The skilled use of satire
takes this verbal jousting to its ultimate level - one step short of
a fist fight."
The academic, who specialises in American and Scottish culture at the
University of New Mexico, made the link in a new study examining the
historical context of Robert Burn's work.
The most famous surviving example of flyting comes from a 16th-
century piece in which two rival poets hurl increasingly obscene
rhyming insults at one another before the Court of King James IV.
Titled the Flyting Of Dunbar And Kennedy, it has been described by
academics as "just over 500 lines of filth".
Professor Szasz cites an American civil war poem, printed in the New
York Vanity Fair magazine on November 9, 1861, as the first recorded
example of the battles being used in the United States.
Professor Willie Ruff, of Yale University, agreed that Scottish slave
owners had a profound impact on the development of African American
Comparing flyting and rap battles, he said: "Two people engage in
ritual verbal duelling and the winner has the last word in the
argument, with the loser falling conspicuously silent."
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