Authors: Kamau Kemayo
This essay outlines the relationship between hip hop music and its cultural forebears in the Black Aesthetic era. Blaxploitation films, toasts and poetry in particular are explored as the contribute to the global phenomenon of hip hop culture and rap music. Henderson’s theories of black linguistic elegance, mascon imagery and the soul field are applied to specific examples of rap music in comparison to the analysis of rap music present by Adam Bradley in his 2009 Book of Rhymes. Supplementary to Bradley’s contributions, this essay asserts that content, culture and signs are also significant components of the music. The elements of Henderson’s theory of Black Linguistic Elegance are the keys to connect the structure and the content of hip hop lyrics.
Keywords: hip hop, rap, black aesthetic, signifying, rhyme, pregeneric myths, black linguistic elegance.