American Popular Music Essay

  • Starr and Waterman note that “the use of encoded, or hidden, meaning in the blues has its roots in many earlier genres of African American music.” These coded messages often take the form of referencing local landmarks (i.e., “where the southern cross the dog”) and sexual references (i.e., “That Black Snake Moan”). How do these traditions continue to impact popular music? Starr and Waterman note “songs of slaves could embody secret messages that were impossible to state directly in the presence of the masters or overseers.” Why might coded references be used in contemporary music? In which genres do you think this technique is most prevalent? Cite some specific examples of coded messages in contemporary music that reference this tradition.

  • The tradition of response songs has a long history in American popular music. For example, one of Woody Guthrie’s best known songs, “This Land Is Your Land,” was written as a response song to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” which Guthrie found to be unrealistic and complacent. Guthrie offers an alternate perspective on the issues on nationalism and patriotism referenced in Berlin’s song.

  • Examine the lyrics of Charlie Patton’s “Tom Rushen Blues” and craft your own response song using the AAB lyrical structure typical of the twelve-bar blues. You could choose to retell the story from the perspective of one of the other characters or objects referred to in the “Tom Rushen Blues.” You could write a “sequel” to the story or you could engage the subject matter in another creative way. In your lyrics, use at least one “coded reference” that would be understood by members of your learning community but not necessarily by the general public. You may choose to make reference to a local landmark or a particular event of importance to your learning community, use a person’s nickname, or employ some other technique.

    Music and the American Culture Essay

    1620 Words7 Pages

    Music has played a vital role in human culture and evidence based on archaeological sites can date it back to prehistoric times. It can be traced through almost all civilizations in one form or another. As time has progressed so has the music and the influences it has on people. Music is an important part of popular culture throughout the world, but it is especially popular in the United States. The music industry here is, and has been, a multi-million dollar business that continues to play an important role in American popular culture. This is also a art form and business that is forever changing as the times and more importantly, technology changes. Technology has changed the way music is made as well as how it is produced,…show more content…

    Many see it as a catchy rap song with a good beat, but the actual message it portrays would have many listeners and parents disgusted. The basic message of this song is that Fat Joe and Lil Wayne like to throw stacks of money at strippers and make it look like its raining in the club, hence the title of the song. These rappers are portraying the lifestyles of young, rich, defiant rap artists. A portion of the lyrics in the chorus are, “Got a handful of stacks better grab an umbrella.
    I make it rain, I make it rain (Oh), Make it rain on them hoes”. This chorus is repeated multiple times throughout the entire song. This type of message and song does not fit in with the messages, goals, values and beliefs of the feminists movement and we see a clash between the music industry, specifically rap music, and the feminist movement before and after this song. Since the beginning of its art form rap music has been subject to scrutiny throughout its existence. In a Theresa Martinez reading from the semester, the author describes rap music as a resistance. She builds on a theory of oppositional culture that was composed by Bonnie Mitchell and Joe Feagin (1995). In this article, “POPULAR CULTURE AS OPPOSITIONAL CULTURE: Rap as Resistance”, Martinez explains how African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans draw on their own cultural resources to resist oppression. She states that this very resistance to the dominate culture in

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