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Rap vs. Rock: The Question of the Greatest Genre


A personal reflection on one veteran listeners’ music tastes…


            This issue is probably even more debatable now than in the past and in the end most people just agree to disagree.  How a person grew up, what influenced their music tastes and culture all play a part in what genre or genres a person likes.  Most people think it all boils down to opinion, but what I am going to prove is that Rock and actually superior in quality, the amount of talent utilized and the all around attitude of the music when compared to other genres.

            Rap can be described by this simple equation:


(Rap)3 * 500 + (5 * 10^26) < ((Rock)/(458))^-57


First of all, let me explain that I have tried listening to a wide variety of music.  My decision was formed after listening to recent rock, rap, punk and to other genres sparingly.  None of these songs really interested me and some turned out to be just plain annoying.  These songs lacked melody and always seemed like something was off about them.  While everyone is influenced by different people’s ideas of “music”, I think that I can validly state that my opinion was formed without bias towards one kind of music or another.  My parents like some soft classic rock, kids I knew in grade school liked rap, punk and recent rock. Almost everyone I knew did not like hard rock, 80’s metal and real classic rock and you could definitely venture that I chose these genres because everyone else wasn’t doing it.  But this simply isn’t true.  I didn’t choose my music because everyone else wasn’t doing it or because everyone else was doing it.  I chose it because of the guitar.  For some reason, I became fixated on good ELECTRIC guitar in songs and this led to my search for the greatest guitar solo, ever.  The sound of the guitar was something I had to have in music to fully enjoy it.  It just seems to me that there is nothing comparable to the guitar solo throughout all of music history.  Let me be the first to say that the loss of the guitar solo in modern rock deeply saddens me and contributes to the downfall of music. 

But some people will argue that the solo can be considered obnoxious noise and that it doesn’t really require THAT much skill.  I respond to this by saying that when compared to all of the other genres out there, you just can’t rule out rock.  If you give listening to the guitar in songs a chance, you become almost instantly addicted.  I’m not saying you have to like it, it just starts to interest you and you get to the point where you like it.  I believe that no other genre can hook you this easily.  It takes longer to start to appreciate rap or punk for some reason than rock.  I’m sure there are people who would be uninterested by the prospect of the electric guitar, but I think this group would be considered the minority.  There is something in all of us that calls out for this facet of music.

You can see that I’m not proving anything by what I am saying but I do think there are some definite things that you can use to back up this argument.  A good point is that people listen to music for enjoyment and the funny thing is that I listen to and can enjoy music longer than most people.  This ability gives me a sense of pride and can be seen from multiple areas.  I have a defined set of music that I listen to and do not enjoy other kinds of music that deviate too much from my likes.  This shows that I have made up my mind and come to a decision about my tastes in music.  In other words, my music tastes have matured.         Another point is that I have a smallish library of about 700 songs all hand picked from the radio or music that I have looked into.  I’m happy to say that I’m not one of those average kids nowadays who combine another person’s ipod into their own and then brag about how many songs they have.  These kids don’t listen to their music as much as other people and just change what they listen to when someone else plays something that more people like.  This state of mind sickens me because these people don’t enjoy their music and just claim that they like “everything”.  No decision on one’s music tastes is bullshit.  Just like when someone grows into and accepts their own personality, music taste can be compared in the same way. 

 I don’t see any reason to become devoted and love one form of music more than rock.  For me, the motivating factor behind my like is the electric guitar, plain and simple.  For other genres, I don’t understand the motivating factors.  My music tastes have a pure background while other music tastes nowadays have impure, convoluted backgrounds.  About any recent genre you name nowadays involves pressure from some kind of group.  This automatically leads to the lack of focus on listening to music because of the enjoyment.  Music becomes a status factor and people begin to like a type of music because other people do.  This is totally wrong and anyone who started listening to music in this way has no standing in the argument for the best genre.  You basically become suckered into one type of genre without making an informed decision taking into account every music type. 

Then, you can even compare one genre at a time to rock and find the problems with each one.  I obviously can’t compare every genre, but I can definitely say that the main genres of today do not even come close to 70s and 80s guitar rock.  Rap is a horrible genre with followers from two racial groups.  Now I’m not a racist and all I am saying is that I personally don’t understand why any Caucasian person can validly get into this genre.  I know they could have been raised like this and were suckered into rap (just like you can be suckered into any genre) and that’s perfectly alright.  But, I’m questioning the validity of the person’s interest in a genre.  Gangster rap is also annoying and offensive to just about everyone and is based solely around hate and violence.  It’s just the people who promote rap and its values who actually like it.  I think deep down we all are annoyed and astonished by rap’s stupidity and redundancy.  Another example, Punk, is a genre that has twisted guitar rock into something without melody and heart.  Now you could argue that progressive rock has done this as well.  The guitar remains though, and this unifying concept is something most people can agree on.  And to all those genres that I don’t have a beef with: Get some guitar, the sheer lack of guitar in the music leaves an empty hole in the listeners’ soul.  This is definitely apparent in country, soft rock and classical music.

The first thing I have a problem with is people who listen to a genre for any reason but personal enjoyment.  Secondly, my own opinion formed to focus on rock so other genres don’t appeal to me and I do not enjoy listening to them.  But someone who listens to a genre for personal enjoyment has every right to.  But I am still saying that rock is better than someone else’s valid genre choices.  I’m allowed to say this and put forth my ideas against someone else’s ideal of great music because the battle between two genres is healthy and can be argued for in both directions.

So in the end I’m not really condemning one type of music.  I’m just stating my own opinion and informing you of my own musical enlightenment.  I’m just an average Joe Livingston trying to warn you of the downfall of music.  I really don’t see music going anywhere in the future because of rap’s influence on popular culture.  I also see modern rocks sad excuse for a counter to rap as annoying and pathetic.  In the end, I think people as a whole need to reexamine the roots of rock and think about why they really enjoy listening.  After this has been done validly, I can almost guarantee that people will always come back to the guitar and maybe guitar rock can be resurrected some day.                                





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