Breaking Out Into RAP Music

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
Karri
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Karri » Mon Oct 11, 2004 2:40 pm

I know my two cents are way overdue, what with the "shelf-life" of the topic... :oops: Peter made an excellent point about LC reciting his stuff over a jazz backing. I think Leonard once discussed this in an interview where he said that he can relate to the idea of rap, having grown up in the Jewish culture with a long tradition of reciting holy texts in synagogues.

I know many of Leonard´s intricate rhyming schemes are hardly suitable for a rapid "machine-gun" delivery, but still, I think a song like "Democracy", for instance, would make for a great rap version. Especially if some of the discarded verses - dealing with the all-too-frequent racial tensions between the Blacks and the Jews - were included. I´m looking forward to the day when we´ll hear say, Public Enemy, do Cohen´s or Dylan´s stuff. (Just think about it: Flavor Flav kickin´ "Subterranean Homesick Blues" or "Highway 61 Revisited" (complete with the police siren!) :wink: ) Or, if that sounds too far-fetched, how about the Beastie Boys? :D

As for the idea of rap as "the music of the underdog" - well, don´t you think that Jews know a thing or two about disdain and rejection? I don´t mean to glorify suffering, it´s just that often an inferior position in the society brings out the best in any given culture.

Finally, as for the rap idiom: there´s always been more to it than nifty rhymes and tongue-twisting delivery. Such rap pioneers as Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets were, first and foremost, "spoken-word" artists, rather than witty´n´funny rhymers.


Karri
User avatar
lizzytysh
Posts: 25464
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Post by lizzytysh » Tue Oct 12, 2004 3:23 am

The Last Poets 8) !!! ~ Karri :D ! I could hardly get the Reply button clicked quickly enough! I have long called them the Original rappers! However, noone I've ever made that comment to has ever heard of them! I still have their album [which I can't remember the title of at the moment ~ it may simply be a self-titled album. It's amongst my albums, and I don't have time to ferret it out right now. They're standing in various garb on a sidewalk [in Harlem?] with their drums, with a building in the background. I LOVE that album, including its messages!!! It was very much during the era of Black Power ~ a 'movement' I always found intrigueing. It was 1971-72 when I got it. When I first moved to North-Central Florida, I saw their name on a marquee. The building looked old and perhaps abandoned [no windows] and I searched for an entrance [to no avail] to try to get some kind of information ~ was this a current posting :shock: , or one left over from a building long abandoned? I learned later that the building still functions as a venue and the marquee was, indeed, either current or very recent. I kicked myself for quite some time for not having been even more diligent than I thought I was already being regarding it [but obviously not diligent enough :( !]. It would be so thrilling for me to see them in person ~ I love that strength, rhythm, and syncopation in their voices and delivery :D .

Welcome to the Forum, by the way :D :wink: !

~ Lizzy
User avatar
Byron
Posts: 3171
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:01 pm
Location: Mad House, Eating Tablets, Cereals, Jam, Marmalade and HONEY, with Albert

Post by Byron » Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:18 pm

Can I mention John Cooper Clarke?
Those who have heard him will never have forgotten him. 'Beasley Street' is about as 'down to earth' as you can get.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
Andrew McGeever
Posts: 905
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2002 10:02 pm

Post by Andrew McGeever » Wed Oct 13, 2004 2:27 am

Dear Byron,
You mentioned John Cooper Clarke. I haven't trawled through this thread to make comments or criticism.
But I would invite all to take your cue and visit http://www.cyberspike.com/clarke

"You'll never walk alone"

Andrew.

P.S. It's almost one year when I saw you last. Gloucester it was. Good weather; no rain. My team won that day. Let's all get back; I think it's titled a "meetup".
User avatar
Byron
Posts: 3171
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:01 pm
Location: Mad House, Eating Tablets, Cereals, Jam, Marmalade and HONEY, with Albert

Post by Byron » Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:47 pm

Andrew, thanks for the link. Bloody marvelous stuff. We were sent a CD by a very refined and staid couple who we met in Vietnam earlier this year. The shock to the system is profound and it took 3 sessions of listening to the CD before I was totally hooked. Some is spoken and some has backing music. All hit you between the eyes.

Yes, 16th October last year was the meeting in Gloucester. Another chance here to thank Linda and family.

I'm not mobile enough to get to any sort of meet-up at the moment.

I've bookmarked the link and will spend some quality time with the Master Clarke. His work reminds me a lot of Philip Larkin. Earthy, honest and completely representative of the human condition. With a side helping of wry humour. :wink: Thanks, once again.
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
rick
Posts: 100
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:12 am

Post by rick » Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:46 pm

Talking blues was very rap like, as well as many other earlier forms of music. Talking blues was done by many blues and folk artists including Dylan.

Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues was done rap by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and reggai by Sizzla.

I think it's a complement when another artist from another genre redoes one's work, although sometimes it's not particularly good (Sting's Sisters of Mercy springs to mind!).

Johnny Cash's reworking of Nine Inch Nails' Hurt is a great example of a good song reaching a different audience in a different format. Cash's own I've Been Everywhere is rapid fire rap style (try singing that puppy sometime!).

I personally would love to hear someone take a Cohen piece and rework it in a rap format.

Interesting (and short!) read on rap roots:
http://www.fact-index.com/r/ro/roots_of_rap_music.html

and a CD: Roots of Rap Music
http://www.uln.com/cgi-bin/vlink/016351201829BT
Washington, DC
Karri
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Karri » Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:16 pm

Thanks for your comments, folks. :) JC Clarke definitely sounds like checking out. As for RHCP´s and Sizzla´s Dylan covers, I wasn´t aware of those. :oops: I´m afraid we´re getting way off-topic here, but I´d just like to add that I´d trust De La Soul with "Democracy" any time. :) If anyone has any more suggestions for Cohen covers, I recently started a thread on that very subject. It´s in the "covers" section.

Karri
Andrew McGeever
Posts: 905
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2002 10:02 pm

Post by Andrew McGeever » Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:39 am

Dear Byron,
Thanks for the reply!
You mentioned Philip Larkin in your post: I have his "High Windows" collection of poems, first published in 1974.
But it's his "Annus Mirabilis" which hit me, so long ago "between the eyes".
The first stanza :
"Sexual intercourse began
in nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me)-
between the end of the Chatterley ban
and the Beatles first L.P."

Speaking of which, October 10th was the 64th birthday of John Lennon: "birthday greetings, bottle of wine".

Byron, that's two Beatles links for the price of one! How do I get away with it on a website dedicated to Leonard Cohen?
The answer: we're Beatles in disguise, and we'll NEVER walk alone.
Andrew.
P.S. Maybe I could drag myself to Liverpool ?
User avatar
Byron
Posts: 3171
Joined: Tue Nov 26, 2002 3:01 pm
Location: Mad House, Eating Tablets, Cereals, Jam, Marmalade and HONEY, with Albert

Post by Byron » Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:18 am

Andrew, you have read Larkin and therefore will know only too well what your parents do to you :wink: :lol:
"Bipolar is a roller-coaster ride without a seat belt. One day you're flying with the fireworks; for the next month you're being scraped off the trolley" I said that.
Andrew McGeever
Posts: 905
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2002 10:02 pm

Post by Andrew McGeever » Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:58 am

Dear Byron,
You've asked for this, so accept the punishment;

This Be The Verse.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
they may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
and add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
by fools in old-style hats and coats,
who half the time were soppy-stern
and half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
and don't have any kids yourself.

Philip Larkin.


Byron, if YOU had worked 30 years in Hull library, then maybe.....or maybe not :?: :o
Take care, my scouse mate,
Andrew.
jemima
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:03 am

Post by jemima » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:10 pm

lol. ok, whilst this has included some serious messages on rap music and lc, i just have a funny image in my head of leonard all dressed up in a fur coat, some bling on his hands and around his neck going "yo yo, my homies!!its goin' down right here, right now!!"
leonard cohen, the original p*i*m*p!!i think not :lol:
bless.
jemima
how come you bother with my heart at all
Karri
Posts: 25
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Finland

Post by Karri » Tue Oct 19, 2004 3:14 pm

i just have a funny image in my head of leonard all dressed up in a fur coat, some bling on his hands and around his neck going "yo yo, my homies!!its goin' down right here, right now!!"

Yes, it´s an image that tends to linger... :lol: Well, he did always have a way with the ladies, didn´t he...? :wink: However, I don´t think the point of this thread was to portray LC as "the original pimp" but rather to discuss the idea of other artists doing rap versions of Leonard´s songs. The idea of LC himself rapping does sound a bit absurd - I know he kinda rapped on that Was (Not Was) song (which I haven´t heard) but I think he´s made far better use of the "spoken-word" approach. Having said that, he has always come up with great melodies even if his delivery isn´t always that animated.

Given the influence that religious recitals, on the one hand, and folk and blues, on the other, have had on Leonard it´s only natural that the spoken-word delivery and the natural rhythms of language have become a significant part of his music.

I had a dream last night that "Dear Heather" was released - as a double cd, with one disc full of live stuff. Oh well, one can only hope... :wink:


Karri
Don G
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 8:14 am

Post by Don G » Thu Dec 09, 2004 10:01 pm

I have never liked rap and always liked the sticker that says you can't spell crap without rap. however there have been some artists I like.
like others said I just can't picture cohen as a rapper or I can but it seems so strange and funny.
I read something about rap by Ben Stein a little while ago it helped me to not hate rap so much. Its kind of funny too espeacially when trying to picture a short gray haired jewish man in a fur coat with some gold chains rolling by bobbing his head to the beat.
http://www.eonline.com/Gossip/Morton/Ar ... 30807.html
Post Reply

Return to “Leonard Cohen's music”