Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Origins Of Rap Music

Many think that Rap Music is a recent movement in music arts. But I contend that this is not a correct fact. I give you my example of Rap that started with Country Music in September 1961. Yes it was Country Music that started the Rap movement when Roy Acuff composed and Jimmy Dean (yes of the breakfast sausage fame) performed the song, “Big Bad John.”

By November the song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and won Jimmy Dean the 1962 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording.
So below I give you Jimmy Dean performing the first original Rap Song, “Big Bad John.”


  1. To my ear, neither rap nor country qualifies as music.

  2. Rap claims its origins from the music of the Griot, which I doubt since Griots can carry a tune.

    Perhaps, we can give credit to someone along the line of Cacophonix the Bard from the Asterix cartoons for rap's origins.

  3. I don't have any Asterix cartoons in English...but I do have a collection of the originals in French, so I only know the Bard as Assurancetourix and he can't sing in French either.
    Rap probably has it's true origin as a neanderthal past time.

  4. Before we can accept this, we need a definition of what rap music is. Variations have existing a long time--e.g., in square dance, there is a "caller"--but beyond that, not much similarity with rap. In Reggae, they called it "deejaying" (wikipedia: "Toasting, chatting, or deejaying is the act of talking or chanting, usually in a monotone melody, over a rhythm or beat by a deejay") I think just that someone is talking in rhyme does not make it "rap". There must be something more to it.

  5. I love 'Big Bad John'.

    Seems to me that some of Tennessee Ernie Ford going back even earlier might meet that definition as well.

    I suspect that tim is correct though - there must be something more than what has been outlined so far; I suspect you could go back to some aspects of very early religious music, including plain chant, and some of the antiphonal traditions.

    What a refreshing topic! Thank you - I enjoyed this.