Man on the Edge: Has Rap Gotten Better or Worse?

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 “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang is the song that took rap from being an obscure genre to being a mainstream music form.  But wow, has it changed.  And today marks the end of an era.

Henry Jackson, better known as Big Bank Hank, passed away today, after complications from cancer.  He was 57.  But his song, and the genre it inspired, will live on.  That one song has become part of Americana, a favorite for 35 years.  But in that time, a lot has changed in rap.

Rap has evolved from a disco-inspired way to let DJ’s tell a story, to something, well, different.  A lot of the time, we hear about the negatives in rap and hip-hop.  Like Nicki Minaj’s new video that uses Nazi images, although she says she has a Jewish boyfriend, so it’s cool.  And she actually did apologize.  Also, Eminem is taking heat for his new song in which he raps about punching singer Lana Del Rey, like Janay Rice.  It goes to underscore an impression of a genre that many people criticize for violence and sexism.

But it still sells.  Which means that somebody has to like it.  So our Man on the Edge, Robert Wilder, hit the streets asking if rap has gotten better or worse over the years…