Monday, 22 July 2013

A post all about Rap Metal


A peerless tune from Gunshot, remixed by Napalm Death. Rap and metal but not rap metal if you get me.

Britrap, one of the lesser 90s Britthings.

And since this post was a little thin on the ground, here's some more 90s Britrap.

(really good this one)

These are less interesting for various reasons: the Hijack tune formidable but owes a bit too much to Public Enemy; whilst Killa Instinct sound a bit indistinct, although seem to prefigure the sound of Gravediggaz a little.

(The obvious entry here is Anthrax/Public Enemy's Bring the Noise, but it didn't fit with my loose thing about heavy sounding UK hip hop. It's largely pointless: too cluttered; too sped up; Public Enemy had already incorporated metal quite convincingly into their sound. Were any of the thrash lot besides Sepultura, and to a lesser degree Slayer, actually any good? So tedious and uptight about it.)

And several years later, from a not immediately obvious quarter

Will rap metal ever get it's day? Some scholar to chart it's obscure inlets and undiscovered plateaus of meaning?

Nah. None of it was very good.


William said...

On paper the combination feels right - both about attack, similar audience demographic etc. But usually less than the sum of its part, as you suggest.

After 'Licensed to ill' the Beastie Boy kept the two styles pretty separate.

The Prodigy on 'Fat of the Land' got closest realizing what it could sound like, without being rap or metal.

Paul Hebron said...

At least funk-metal sounded awful in conception and almost entirely was in execution (Primus are a bit ok).


Gunshot are proto-grime really, all accents, quickness, and wordplay:

Greyhoos said...

If you wanna get technical about it, Run DMC's "Rockbox" was the jawn that's largely responsible for getting it all started. But by and large, the thing about throwing metal licks on top of hip-hops tunes was mostly the doing of people like Rick Rubin or Joe 'The Butcher' Nicolo as a way of giving tunes some possible crossover appeal/sales. Because let's face it, hip-hop circa 1985-6 was just far too severely, punishingly minimal to appeal to anything other than a fringe audience -- mostly just dudes shouting over 808 drum patterns. (PE came a little later, when sampling suddenly became more budget-friendly and increasingly prevalent. Plus, Shocklee & the Bomb Squad were big on heaviness by way of sheer sonic density, layering, & complexity.)

A useful illustration...

Of course two records later, Schoolly was still doing anti-rock raps, which were wildly contradicted by the fact that producer Nicolo was putting metal riffs over other tunes on the exact same album., resulting in the most schizophrenically uneven record of the artist's career.

> None of it was very good.

Nice bit of understatement, that. But I seem to recall a lot of rock-rap hybrid stuff cropping up around 1989-90, getting airplay on US college radio stations. Urban Dance Squad, 24-7 Spies, et al. I think it went over well with the Red Hot Chili Peppers fanbase.