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If this image belongs to you or is your intellectual property, please submit a copyright notification instead of reporting it. We encourage users to report abusive images and help us moderate the content on We Heart It. I loved Debussy, Stravinsky, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, anything with romantic melodies, especially the nocturnes.
I was probably 15 when I started going to the studio with the older cats in my neighborhood.
I treat clothing or a piece of jewelry like it was a piece of art, even though people who collect clothes get a bad rap because they're told it's all vanity. Sonnymoon and Quadrants are a couple of bands that really inspire me in terms of the melodics of things and certain tones and just what feels good.
If you're broke, you don't want to rap about being broke; you gonna rap about hustling and getting that bread. I always felt really alone because no one wanted to talk about the things that I enjoyed, and that was really rap music and hip-hop as a culture. When Elton John sang a duet with the white rapper Eminem on a Grammy telecast, rap went mainstream. Since the 1960s, mainstream media has searched out and co-opted the most authentic things it could find in youth culture, whether that was psychedelic culture, anti-war culture, blue jeans culture.
I think rap music is brought up, gangster rap in particular, as well as video games, every other thing they try to hang the ills of society on as a scapegoat. Back in the day, if someone said that hip hop and rap was a fad, that was a joke to me because they just didn't know what they were talking about. Rap is supposed to be about keeping it real and not relinquishing your roots in the community.
I'm a mother myself, and sometimes mothers get a bad rap just because they've tried to do their job. Only two to three per cent of an audience is interested in words and pays attention to lyrics; most of the rest of it is about image or the beat or the sound, or else it's a tribal thing - country & western, rap, heavy metal, with historical folk rock off in some kind of cult. In high school I had a boyfriend who was super into rap, so I was into Too $hort and Wu-Tang for a little while. While also, importantly, not wanting to dumb it down or pretend the days of 'difficult' poetry are over, because we live in a pluralist culture and there's room for 'difficult' poetry alongside rap and everything else. I made the decision that I was going to make rap music in, like, fourth grade, so it's been something I was saying for a long time. I do like alternative rock and rap, but as far as inspirational, then I go full-on orchestra. Anything that's of any use, famous people get hold of it and take it for themselves and it gets a bad rap. You know, there are artists who are 35 and up that still make rap and that still works for them. I enjoy listening to contemporary rock on the college stations while I'm taking long walks, love gospel and soul music, am fascinated by hip-hop and rap as the new kind of urban 'beat' poetry and, come to think of it, find something interesting about just any kind of music. I used to be focused on being the dopest rapper in the game, and then once that became what I was, I wanted something different, and I wanted to become the best businessman in the game.
I love a lot of music that's considered folk music, but I also love a lot of music that's considered punk or considered rap. You know, most people called rap stupid when it started, and it was one of the most innovative music forms of its time.
If the KKK was smart enough, they would've created gangsta rap because it's such a caricature of black culture and black masculinity.
When people say to me 'what do you think of rap music?' my answer is there's no such thing.
While the West tries to turn its civilization into cultural variety hour, Islam tries to turn Muslim lands into a cultural monolith.
In rap music, even though the element of poetry is very strong, so is the element of the drum, the implication of the dance. As far as anybody in the rap game ever tryin' to assassinate my character, that's impossible. I look at WorldstarHipHop in the morning, Bossip, Global Grind, and everything in between, but it's all so quick, I don't even think about it. My whole thing is to inspire, to better people, to better myself forever in this thing that we call rap, this thing that we call hip hop. It is a coincidence that Mathangi is the Goddess of Music and the spoken word, which can be rap. Say there's a white kid who lives in a nice home, goes to an all-white school, and is pretty much having everything handed to him on a platter - for him to pick up a rap tape is incredible to me, because what that's saying is that he's living a fantasy life of rebellion. Rap is hardcore street music but there are women out there who can hang with the best male rappers. To me, the 90's signaled the end of glam rock, the beginning of gangsta rap, and hopefully the beginning and end of boy bands.
Look at music: I've always loved hiphop and rap, and now there's this whole progressive movement, with De La Soul and Mos Def, Common. I listen a lot to rap, and I'm inspired to take it, to use it in another way, to get the message across. Government workers often get a bad rap, but it's rare for them to receive much appreciation when government works. Hip-hop was my first audience - I would rap in the mirror, walk down the street and listen to my Walkman.
The only time I ever really got into rap was back in the early '90s, and bands like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Gang Starr.
When people say to me, 'What do you think of rap music?', my answer is, 'There's no such thing. I think British journalists do well in America because the newspaper culture there is so strong - telling stories and presenting them readably is in their DNA. What's wrong with us isn't a rap sheet of bad deeds, but a damaged heart, a soul-sickness, that plunges us into fearful self-protection, alienation from God and others. I think commercials get a bad rap, that there's no creativity to them, but I haven't found that to be entirely true.
Hip-hop is getting to the point now where they are going to start sounding like Al Jarreau or Bobby McFerrin or some of the other poets. What I'm trying to do is put back into rap music what's missing - which is the good part, the fun part, that party part.
I love my city and I feel like the majority of the people that are in the city are people from other cities. The weird thing about rap is that you don't get compared in the same way that athletes do, even though it's probably the most competitive sport in music. The whole point of 'Acid Rap' was just to ask people a question: does the music business side of this dictate what type of project this is?


As long as I'm around the cats in the hip hop scene, they'll throw me a track and I'll write a rap over it. I feel like the rap metal at the end of the 1990s destroyed rock music for everybody and suddenly everybody felt like they had to apologise for being in rock bands. Part of my affinity with urban music comes from being on 'Kids Incorporated,' 'cos we used to sit around and listen to Chaka Khan and Prince, and I got influenced by all that. Some of the hip-hop stuff people get into is exciting, because there's a passion and there's something to explain to a more mainstream audience, so you get these passionate writers who want to express their love for rap and hip-hop, which is cool. When Ke$ha tries to rap like L'Trimm, she sounds like any ordinary lonely teenage girl stuck in a nowhere town, singing along to her radio and dreaming of a party where she's the star.
Rap for me is like making movies, telling stories, and getting the emotions of the songs through in just as deep a way. Technology sometimes gets a bad rap because of certain consequences that it's had on the environment and unforeseen problems, but we shouldn't use it as an excuse to reject our tools; rather, we should decide that we need to make better tools to solve the problems caused by the initial tools in a progressive wave of innovation.
I'm not turning my back on music anytime soon, but it's just a blessing to have options open. I'm not blowing my own trumpet here, but I made a rap song 20 years ago with Afrika Bambaataa.
When you're a little kid, you don't see color, and the fact that my friends were black never crossed my mind. There's always a time when you think you've done your last song or you've written your last rap or, you know, people are not checking for you.
You have to come in on a professional level to make it, otherwise you just can't get into rap.
I go to a lot of rap shows and sometimes take what they do from a performer's aspect, how they interact with the crowd. The rap community has been singled out as more homophobic than other groups, but I don't think that's right. By denying its musical and artistic merit, hip hop's critics get to have it both ways: they can deny the legitimate artistic standing of rap while seizing on its pervasive influence as an art form to prove what a terrible effect it has on youth.
I have a very broad demographic, from the 8-year-old who knows every word to 'Ice Ice Baby' and the college kid who grew up on 'Ninja Rap' to the soccer mom and grandparent.
Rap culture is interesting and different and has purpose but it has a non-romantic view of life and of social feelings. It's a funny thing about rap, that when you say 'I' into the microphone, it's like a public confession. People are so confused about race and hip-hop that people didn't even consider the Beastie Boys one of the greatest rap groups of all time because they were white. With 'Acid Rap,' I allowed myself to be really open-minded and free with who I allowed into my musical space.
Rap is the only interesting music left - it's the only genre that's still pushing itself, and experimenting in a way that I find exciting.
My character is meant to know nothing about rap, and not to like it very much, but I know about it, because my kids make me listen to it. I think there's a lot of, unfortunately, unfunny ventriloquists out there, so they've got a bad rap. I remember being told 'Someone's gonna make a fortune out of this rap thing' and thinking 'no way'. Hackney gets a bit of a bad rap, but it's the only place I've ever lived that felt like a community.
I feel like I've started to create my own culture of being a voice for something, and that's what people want to know about. You have film actors doing TV, rap stars doing TV, with everyone kind of crossing the line. That's why I called my record Devil Without a Cause - I'm a white boy who's so sick of hearing that white kids are going to steal rap. In the '80s and '90s, I was really interested in, moved by, exhilarated by, and troubled by rap in all the ways a white person from Brookline, Massachusetts should be. Celebrity is ridiculous and silly and it's mad that people like me are listened to - you know, rap stars and movie stars. But please keep in mind that reporting images that are not abusive is against our terms of service and can get your account blocked. No, I've loved rap for a long time, especially when it got out of its first period and became this gangsta rap, ya know this heavy rap thing?
The other night, for example, my girlfriends and I stayed in listening to some '90s rap - my favorite kind.
I've got opinions, but they're opinions on both sides - not just anti-Republican, which is a real popular thing for a rap artist to do.
I'm not trying to make people think I'm some sort of scientific wizard or inspirational poet.
R&B and pop and rap and everything are the branches on the main tree of the life of music, American music, which is jazz. Some people make a t-shirt or slap something on a wall with paint, but I must make music and freestyle rap.
People think of bland and watery iceberg lettuce, but in fact, salads are an art form, from the simplest rendition to a colorful kitchen-sink approach. It doesn't seem to be able to look out of the ghetto and that's ultimately unfortunate, because it defines our limitations. Eventually heavy metal culture, rap culture, electronica - they'll look for it and then market it back to kids at the mall. If I feel like somebody is getting a bad rap or being unfairly picked on, I will stand up for them, absolutely.
And sometimes when I'm freestyling, I'll lose my flow, you know, but I'll still wanna - I don't wanna just stop rapping because I lose my flow. I guess it's this old idea of containment - that rappers, because they're black, can't and shouldn't aspire to look outside the ghetto for influence. Some people have more of a knack for it than others do, but almost all of it falls to, 'My mother's suffocating me.' Whatever.
And my best friend's older brother would sometimes drive us home in this pimped-out truck, and he'd play all his dirty rap music. The thing I love about The Clash is they started out as guys who could barely play three chords.
They're talking about real things you can hang on to, problems of identity that you have sympathy with.
Most people make an assessment of this state on the ride from Newark Airport into Manhattan. I was raised in Oakland, so I'm, like, super Bay Area born, and, you know, it's just really multicultural up there, and there's a lot of subcultures just from, like, anything, like from rockabilly to, like, crazy punk scenes to, you know, a huge rap scene, and there's just all kinds of things you can do out there.
You're always looking for somebody to love you, be accepted, and there's the insecurities that are even transmitted through rap.


The same West that justifies the rap culture thinks that every Muslim terrorist bombing is an expression of economic angst or social alienation. If you look at my deck in my car radio, you're always going to find a hip-hop tape; that's all I buy, that's all I live, that's all I listen to, that's all I love.
It was a few years ago for my old show 'Buck Commander,' and it was a song called 'You're Short.' It was about my camera guy.
Because people have seen rappers rap off the top of their heads, they don't think it is difficult.
It's all, 'Look at this car that cost me so much money, look at this Champagne.' It's super fun. Texting and Twitter encourage creative uses of casual language, in ways I have celebrated widely. British newspapers get a terrible rap, but they are brilliant in their presentation, most of them, so full of vitality and literary wit.
The process of auditioning for them can be tedious, but actually doing them can be really fun. In the popular imagination they're greedy, heedless, and amoral, adept at price manipulations and dirty tricks. I think rap is less about educating people about the black community and more about making money. People see what's on the surface and what you rap about, and they make their decision on who you are from there. And then I changed schools, and the rap style became old-fashioned, so I changed it completely.
So when you're an artist who's making something which isn't how its mainstream appearance should be, there's always these strange questions of authenticity and what you have to do to be 'real' as a rapper. The reality is there's criticism for everything, but Jay-Z is one of the most remarkable artists of our time of any genre, and as a hip-hop artist he carries the weight of that art form with such splendor and grace and genius. If it's all original music and it's got this much emotion around it and it connects this way with this many people, is it a mixtape?
The infusion of Latin, hip hop and rap with musical theatre, great storytelling and talent was a powerful combination to me during a time when I'd not been moved by much! People suddenly felt bad about wanting to reach massive audiences and the sense of theatre, that we have in our live show, became something to avoid. Then gangsta rap got started, and I was infatuated with that - maybe that's why I'm fascinated by guns. When you break-dance you listen to hip-hop and rap, so I've been listening to that music since I was a kid. I've been listening to the radio since we've been touring the past month, because we don't get it most of the time.
My experience going around the United States and speaking in schools is that teenagers here are very interested in the fate of their peers around the world. It's homophobic, all right, but no more so than the heavy-metal community or the Hollywood community or any other community. I can go from bluegrass to heavy metal, to blues, to classical and big band and then go to pop and rap. I try to write for the average listener and I'm conscious of the mainstream without selling out.
Sometimes, just staying in, putting on some rap music, and letting loose is all I need to have a good time. I wanted to make a cohesive product, but I also just want to make a bunch of dope songs inspired by whatever sounds I liked. If it happens to end up on the top 40 or the pop charts, it doesn't mean I meant to go pop. It came after Edgar Bergen because everybody had a little cheeky boy dummy like Charlie McCarthy, and everybody decided to become a ventriloquist because Bergen had popularized it. I love that because I am a woman and because I a rap, and I look the way I look, I can connect with the demographic of people who feel like they have a voice in me. We have to be true to our roots, do what we do, and try to do it a little better each time. We played a lot of gangsta rap, but we also played a lot of oldies, and I think that mix is part of what inspires my sound. It's not just about the music, with rap: when I was in care, it meant a whole lot more than that.
But I got kind of frustrated with the chauvinistic side of rap music, the one that makes it hard to write songs about love and relationships. Everything he's done I think is pretty spot on, even, like, the bad rap videos, the shoes, the movies, everything.
But when hip-hop acts start sampling Sting or Phil Collins, then I just don't get it at all. But when directors know you write screenplays and have a different view of things, you really get invited into the huddle in a much fuller way. I like that, but I listen to everything from rap to Lenny Kravitz to Coldplay, depending on my mood. Well, it's very hard to teach racism to a teenager who's listening to rap music and who idolizes, say, Snoop Dogg. You can hear, like, you know, Africans and Jamaicans doing it just kind of as, like, a rhythmic, poetic conversation, you know, to a rhythm. So once Public Enemy became a rap group, I decided that that's the role that I wanted to take on. I don't know if you've seen any great MCs on stage but when you do it's like wow, this is more than the words to rhymes. For more than 30 years, I have been tormented and persecuted by my enemies for reasons of race and belief. There's a way to make political and social issues interesting and entertaining to the young rap audience. Every phase went through changing up their dress styles and all that, but since Run DMC came out, it's been baggy jeans.
It's nice to know after 27 years now that what I said in the first place has stuck, and that was the belief in it. But there's this weird perception of me as someone who's sitting around plotting like a devil. It's hard to say, 'That guy is less than you.' The kid is like, 'I like that guy, he's cool.



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