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Fat Joe is Right, All Music is African

You need not look further than some of the music's great genres such as rock, soul, and hip-hop to understand the impact it has had on the world music scene. All Music has African origins. The success of the Ndlovu your choir or The Lion King soundtrack is a depiction of how Africa has been shaping the global music landscape. Conventional wisdom has cast musical greats such as Elvis Presley and Eminem in a long line of craven white exploiters of black musical culture for whom African Americans should have nothing but contempt. In a recent interview, American hip-hop artist, Fat Joe, made the sensational claim that all music is African and he has been in touch with Afro-beats throughout his career. In the interview, Elvis was addressing the claim but a large section of hip-hop that castigates Latinos for crossing the cultural boundary into "black" music. Well, for starters, what is termed black music would not have been there without African music. Yes, African Americans cannot exist without Africa. Therefore, to understand how music's great genres have come to be, we have to understand the music scene in Africa. African music is not as homogeneous as many presume. Sub-saharan Africa has tremendous cultural diversity that also translates into rhythm diversity as music played a central role in African society. This role is seen in how the African American society has always been passionate about music from the "Kumbaya" days to the current days of "Illmatic." Dance, music, and story-telling are among the ancient art forms that have flourished for many centuries in Africa. Music and dance are terms that we will use to denote the musical practices of African people. Ancient African society did not separate their everyday life activities from their music and other cultural experience. African Music Influences Other Genres African has been and will continue to influence many other types of music. Varying from rock and roll, jazz, the blues, and even modern pop, African music has traces in all kinds of music. In fact, there are not many genres that do not have even just a little bit of African ancestry. Rock and Roll Rock and roll is a genre that was started in the late 1940s and became especially large in the 1950s. Many artists contributed to the fame of this infamous genre like Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Jerry Lee Lewis but by far the person that made it so big was the famous Elvis Presley. Rock and roll practically owes itself to African music because of how much it contributed. If you added a perfect amount swing and boogie-woogie with a deep African rhythm and blues, you'd get rock and roll. Without its African traces, rock and roll would've never really been a thing which would literally mean that there would be no other types of rock genres today like rock opera from Queen, glam rock from David Bowie, psychedelic rock from Jimi Hendrix, or even folk-rock from artists like Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel. This just shows how important African music is in every music sets of history. The Blues Well, rock and roll was the kind of music that started most of the music that we have today, but do you know what mainly started rock and roll? The blues. I'd say that the blues may be the most influential musicians of all time. Starting with just a simple percussion beat and a slow bass line, the blues doesn't just have traces of African music in it, it was started in Africa back in the early 1900s. The reason that so many people in Africa loved the blues and to write more blues songs because the blues is a way to get out what is bothering you or angering you hence the name the blues. The blues have grown so much since then to make so many different music types like rock and roll. As you can see, African music is so influential in all music types of the world. Hip Hop and Rap Many people confuse these two different forms although there are distinct differences between them. Rapping literally means “to converse” and predates the phenomenon known as hip hopping by centuries. Consequently, rapping has been used as chanting or speaking art form (as a rhyming lyrical form accompanying Reggae music as well) with or without accompaniment and can be very powerful as a tool of self-expression. Depending on how you define it, Rap may very well date back to early African tribes and their practice of chanting in a rhythmic fashion to induce trance states. House House is an electronic form of music that originated in Chicago in the 1980's catering to African American and Latino clientele desiring high energy danceable music. House borrows elements liberally from Rhythm and Blues, Soul as well as Funk and disco but infuses an element of electronica into the mix. Some House music also samples pieces of bass lines from earlier Disco tunes and combines vocals or other effects in for good measure. Consequently, House is a synthesis of various components of different types of music but with the goal of creating a high energy environment for movement and dance. Regardless of the fact that House incorporates electronic elements into the mix, its origins are deeply seated in Funk and Soul and this is evident in the groove and feel of the music, especially when you're out on the dance floor. Techno Techno music was founded in Detroit Michigan in the early 1980s by three African American musicians and friends interested in both Funk as well as more electronic bands such as Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Giorgio Moroder. Initially, techno was played in small groups and local parties but eventually found broader and broader audiences as local clubs began to cater to interested crowds of party goers and dance-a-holics. The growing popularity of DJs and their ability to collate and synthesize select groups of songs also helped to launch the popularity of Techno to International degrees helping it along to the popularity that it enjoys today. And although Techno adheres to Western forms of composition (i.e simple 4/4 time, major scales, etc) much of it is simply cleverly programmed drum samples with cool effects. Gratitude Whether Western instruments have evolved from ancient African forms, or we have adopted knowledge in terms of rhythms and cross-rhythms, various scale patterns, or simply the evolution of melody and harmony, Western music undoubtedly owes an immeasurable debt of gratitude to our African brothers and sisters for their wisdom, insight, and creativity.

The African Exponent --

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