October 20, 2009

Derek Walcott on Rap, Ruth Padel and Much More...

“But I think the activity of rap is a very healthy thing. I think if young writers are trying to rhyme, which is what they’re doing, it’s like a formal protest, in terms of composition.”

“It startled me, when rap came around, because you might have expected that protest would go in a different direction, in a form of violence. And the shape the revolution took was a surprising shape, in symmetry of language, in rhyme and rhythm.”

In fact, Walcott sees intriguing parallels between the social commentary of contemporary rap artists and the social satire of 18th century poets like Alexander Pope or John Dryden.

“You have to rhyme with rap. You’re doing the same thing as a heroic couplet, with the addition of doing it to music. Certain things fulfil themselves because they’re human instincts. Why should satire be in heroic couplets, in rap, as much as in Alexander Pope? Because the couplet summarizes, it emphasizes, it economizes.”

” Da da, da da, da da, da da, da dat/Da da, da da, da da, da da, da dat,” he chants. “That’s a natural couplet instinct, to criticize anything, because of the rhyme.”

 [More @ the Edmonton Journal]

Give thanks to Repeating Islands for the alert.


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