We constantly hear that Blues and Rock music was culturally appropriated from black American musicians from the early 20th Century. There are many problems with this claim. All of the instruments come from Europe. All of the musical theory used comes from Ancient Greece. The core elements of American Blues and Rock music all come from English folk music that dates back to at least 1000 AD. Greensleeves is essentially no different than a modern Blues song, and it is so old historians argue about what the lyrics even mean. Blues and Rock are largely based on simple chord progressions with the five-note pentatonic scale with an occasionally added flat fifth for “blue note inflection.”
A role that American blacks may have played in the rise of the popularity of the minor pentatonic scale in the American south. In the 1800s, most American music was played using major scales, which was also true in England. In the southern states, the minor scales were associated with the deep baritone vocals of “Negro Spirituals.” Eventually, the minor scales spread in popularity to other forms of music in the south. In the Mississippi delta region and western Tennessee, where both blacks and whites alike tended to talk in a slow baritone manner, we see the rise of the minor scale because it better fit the way people sang.
Thus English Folk Music evolved into Blues and Rock by exchanging the major pentatonic scale for the minor pentatonic scale and adding electrified guitars.
Often, however, it is simply accepted without question that rapping is a unique art form created by American blacks. Even though modern rap music seems to stem from a diverse group of people in New York City. The first major pop stars to perform rap/hip hop music were Jewish New Yorkers called the Beasty Boys, founded in 1978. However, after the Beasty Boys, it was seen as an almost exclusively black genre until Vanilla Ice released his debut album in 1989. At the time, it was so odd to see a white person rap, that comedian Jim Carrey performed a parody of his hit song called “White, White Baby.”
The story that is commonly told in the USA, is that rap music was invented by black slaves in the Antebellum South, who held insult rap battles to relieve stress. I have never seen any documentation of this, although there is no reason I can think of as to why it would not have occurred.
However, insult rap battles were raged from Iceland to Azerbaijan, and perhaps beyond, hundreds of years before the first African slave was ever brought to the USA.
Snorri Sturluson is kind of like the Icelandic version of George Washington and the Icelandic version of William Shakespeare combined into one. He wrote a book on traditional Scandinavian poetry in the 13th Century called the Prose Edda. In this book, we find Hárbarðsljóð, also known as “Harbard the Ferryman and the Embarrassment of Thor.” This is a rhyming insult battle between the god Thor and a Ferryman.
Also in the Prose Edda, we have Lokasenna, where Loki engaged in an insult rap battle with the Æsir family of Gods. He delivers rhyming insults against several people, including Frigg and Freya, then engages in an exchange of rhyming insults with the god Tyr. The insults include allegations about sexual perversion and the legitimacy of their children. The exchange is not unlike modern rap battles in the USA.
In the UK there is a traditional word called Flyting, which refers to a rhyming insult battle. It is most commonly associated with the Scottish. It appears to come from the Anglo-Saxon word flītan, which means “to quarrel.” It could also be related to the Old Norse word flyta, which means “provocation.” It is best documented during the Renaissance, but Flyting is believed to have been around since the Dark Ages.
A famous example is The flyting betwixt Montgomery and Polwart. This is a rhyming insult battle from 1598 between Alexander Montgomerie and Sir Patrick Hume of Polwarth. Another famous example is The Flyting of Dumbar and Kennedie, circa 1500, which Sir Walter Scott famously called “500 lines of filth.” This example contains some of the earliest known uses of several modern profanities, including “sh*t, f*ck, and c*nt”
Scottish men engaged in a traditional “Flyting” battle. (Note: Scottish people speak a sort of machine-gun English that is hard for people in the USA to understand.)
We can see that “rap” music can sound wildly different. Donatan is a leading Polish producer of pop music. Along with Polish pop singer Cleo, he represented Poland in the 2014 Eurovision contest. He also produced an album called Równonoc (the Polish word for equinox) with a multitude of Polish rappers and the Polish Folk Metal band Percival Schuttenbach.
As you can see this is unmistakable “rap music,” but wildly different than any kind of American pop music.
Of course, what all of this shows is that the very concept of “cultural appropriation” is absolute nonsense. All of the art we have is built upon thousands of years of continuous development. Accusations of “cultural appropriation” are also only used in one direction. It is another invention of the radical left to promote and encourage bigotry and animosity against white people. Should white people accuse the rest of the world of cultural appropriation for wearing the white man’s pants? Or how about using the white man’s electricity?