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Free «Connecting Music to the Past» Essay Sample

Curtis Jackson, famously known as ‘50 Cent’ is a famous icon of rap music in the United States of America. Born on 6th of July 1975 in New York, the musician claims that his rough past as a child and his early adulthood was a propellant to his current success in the music industry. His grandparents raised him after his drug-dealing mother died; latter, he survived nine bullet shots, a tragedy that almost left him dead. Nonetheless, the rap artist did not give in to that. In fact, in 2003, his album ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’ was a top seller, escalated by the hit song ‘In Da Club’ among others, and since then, he stiffened competition in the American rap industry, constantly leading the industry with his artistic style.

A closer look at 50 Cent’s style reveals that he, majorly, is celebrated for his rhythm and songwriting skills, which has seen him receive various awards from time to time. At the ASCAP R&B awards, Mitchell Gail reported that “50 Cent took home three awards, including songwriter of the year” (19). Most supporters and funs of the hip-hop and rap artists claim that they are more drown to 50 Cent because of his arrogant style and nature of music, mostly stirred up by the gruesome chain of past events in his life. In addition, in as much as 50 Cent seeks support from other artist, he does not overuse the talent of others to promote his albums. For that matter, he is very specific about who to choose; for example, the major artists featured in his albums are Eminem, Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, The Game, Olivia, Tony Yayo, and Jemie Foxx.



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While researching about rap music, Forman and Neal, in their book found that rap music can be tracked back to “the revolutionary verse of Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets, to Pigmeat Markham’s ‘Here Come De Judge’” (68). Further, the two writers found that you could cite some ancient oral traditions of various African-American cultural practices, in essence, brining about the origin of the rap music. No wonder, rap was initially more popular amongst the black Americans. The difference between the ‘then rap music’ and what has evolved over the years is that initially the musicians would plainly record their production by placing their rhythmic, repetitive speech over well-known black music hits, and were very dependent on existing music. However, today’s artists, like 50 Cent, have given it different twists, where they write songs, and specially design the rap lyrics, giving it a splendid touch of instrumentation, which has perfected the music and made it more appealing to the American listeners. This has proven to be far much appealing to the listeners rather than the initial form of rap music that solely depended on the existing music.

Another popular pop and R&B singer, songwriter, record producer, model, business lady and an actress, Mariah Carey was born in Huntington, New York, on March 27th of 1970. Carey started recording her music in the 1990s, and was named the best-selling female R&B artist of the millennium, at the 2000 World Music Award. Additionally, she has earned five Grammy Awards as reported by ‘The Guardian’ and her music is famous for her “vocal range, power, melismatic style, and use of the whistle register”. Nonetheless, it is impossible to ignore her huge record of album sales and shipments of over 62.5 million albums within the US, and sales figures of more than 200 million albums worldwide.

In effect, Mariah’s kind of music falls under R&B genre; and to understand the scope of this genre, it is important to consider its origin and how it evolved over the years. R&B is a popular music genre that is believed to have come up as a combination of blues, gospel, and jazz music influenced by the African-American artists. Initially, this genre of music was only popular amongst the black American community, in the early 1940’s. However, today it is one of the most popular genres of music played in the United States of America. Historically, R&B was generally played in an ensemble style, which included a lead singer, instrumentalist, rhythm section, wind instruments, and a combination of piano and organ (Andrews 71). Andrews further explains that, in 1948, this kind of music gained its genre name as R&B, which signified ‘Rhythm and Blues’. However, unlike Mariah Carey’s music target audience is both teenagers and adults, back in the 1950’s, R&B majorly targeted teenagers. Furthermore, in the year 1970s, rhythm and blues also included soul and funk under its blanket, but this has changed with time. Today’s R&B artists, like Mariah Carey, have separated this form of music from the rest genres that were initially associated with it. They have made it explicit and distinct from the rest by the specific tunes of instrumentation and the rhythm associated with R&B. Nonetheless, though this genre of music has been associated with the African-American community for years, Mariah and other non-black musicians have taken this to another level, making it an internationally adorable genre of music sung by interracial artists.

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‘Luke Bryan’ is a name that hit the headlines in 2007, and has since remained there because of the artist’s impeccable talent that has impressed many listeners. Known for his finely tuned art of playing the guitar, Luke also impresses his audience with smooth vocals and skills as a songwriter. “Songwriting gives me a way of telling stories about my life to other people. It also gives me chance to make other people’s stories heard, especially if they grew up like me or have experienced the same things that I have”, he said, which actually explained the origin of his passion as a singer and a songwriter (Jewels 34).

Luke Bryan is just a demonstration of a tip of the iceberg behind the power of the country music that makes it very popular amongst the Americans and other nationalities. This genre of music gives artists the power to tell their story in a poetic, or rather an artistic way that allows listeners easily relate with the storyline. Indeed, its origin dates back to almost a century from now. In fact, Gish explains that it originated in the end of the twentieth century (32), saying that it began in the rural areas of Southern states of the USA. This genre is believed to have taken its roots from the ‘Western Cowboy and the American folk music’. Nonetheless, Kate Riggs explains further that country music is generally characterized by dance tunes, ballads, and simple forms. It is majorly associated with string instruments, like banjoes, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, fiddles, and harmonicas (Gish 24).

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In conclusion, different genres of music may have completely different origins and could have evolved differently. However, a keen eye would easily notice a similarity, or, at least, a common root of certain genres of music. For example, Curtis Jackson and other rap artists of today would not easily reveal the origin of the rap music because this genre of music has constantly evolved over the years and taken a different shape. However, it is explicit that it is mostly dominant amongst the African-Americans, and this justifies the fact that it truly could have originated from cultural practices and poetry of the African-American community. Similarly, R&B originates from the African-American community. However, looking closer, it is revealed that it has its roots in blues, jazz, and gospel music. These combined are the genres of music that inspired artists to come up with the R&B genre. On the other hand, country music is a blend of music forms that were popular in the Southern United States towards the end of the twentieth century. These were the initial roots of the formation of the country music, and include; the folk music, gospel, Celtic, and other old-time music forms. Artists borrowed from these and through their music evolved to form today’s version of music.


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