Jan 5, 2009

Entertainment - Rap music originated in medieval Scottish pubs, says study

Rap, a music genre consisting of a rhythmic vocal style accompanied with backing beats, is long believed to have begun in New York in the seventies. But a new study now claims that it originated in medieval Scottish pubs.

According to the lead author, Ferenc Szasz, the so-called rap battles, where two or more performers trade elaborate insults, actually derive from the ancient Caledonian art of "flyting".

And, Scottish slave owners took the tradition with them to the United States, where it was adopted and developed by slaves, emerging many years later as rap, also referred to as hip hop music, the study has revealed.

"The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting— intense verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the dozens that one finds among contemporary inner -city African-American youth.

"Both culture accord high marks to satire. The skilled use of satire takes this verbal jousting to its ultimate level -- one step short of a fist fight," Szasz was quoted by leading British newspaper The Daily Telegraph as saying.

In fact, the academic, who specialises in American and Scottish culture at the University of New Mexico, actually made the accidental link while he was examining the historical context of one of Scotland's best-known bard Robert Burn's work in the study.

Szasz has also cited an American civil war poem, printed in the New York Vanity Fair magazine on November 9, 1861, as the first recorded example of the battles being used in the United States.


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