Rap-rock

Stunning news at Spinner this week: producer Bob Ezrin suggested incorporating rap – yes, rap – on Pink Floyd’s 1987 A Momentary Lapse of Reason album.

Wow.

Aerosmith had, of course, teamed up with Run-DMC the previous year and had tremendous commercial success with ‘Walk This Way’, buoyed by a video considered to be one of the all-time best and not surprisingly keenly embraced by MTV. Let’s be honest, it probably resurrected Aerosmith’s career.

The most controversial rap-rock collaboration I can think of, in as much as it horrified classic rock fans, was between Puff Daddy, as he was then known, and Jimmy Page in 1998. ‘Come With Me’ was a Top Five hit in the UK and US.

Do you rate the rap-rock genre? Plenty of rock bands have dabbled with rap; from my own music collection I note The Blue Van and Red Hot Chili Peppers have given it a go. The tracks with more than a few moments of rapping do tend to be the ones I’ve removed from my MP3 player, though, so I can’t tell you much about them.

Seems a good excuse to give A Momentary Lapse of Reason another listen and ponder the whats, whys and wherefores. Or just to be extremely thankful that David dismissed the idea point-blank. Could you imagine it? I have to admit, I can’t and don’t really wish to try. I’d love to know what you think, though.

The chatroom will be opening on the hour, if you’ve time to pop in.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

54 thoughts on “Rap-rock”

  1. I’d like to think that if they had done it, they would have found a way to make it work. I think the main reason why David eschewed the idea is that one of his goals for AMLOR was to balance the scale between the lyrics and music (obviously he tends to favor the music anyway), and adding a rap element would have thrown the balance even more in favor the lyrics. David’s never shied away from dabbling with various genres or trying new things with his music (a good example, the intro on live versions of Learning to Fly), so I don’t think his reaction was anti-rap in any way. It’s just that didn’t fit with where he was trying to bring the album.

  2. Do you rate the rap-rock genre? No, Nee, Jo, La, Voch, Deyil, Ez, Nie, Ne, Nej, Nee, Ei, Non, Ara, Nein, Den, Pa, Nahi, Nem, Nei, Tidak, Ni, Nai, Aniyo, Non, Ne, Nera, Ne, Tidak… you get the idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh good Lord No. The thought of David having to make a video with a baseball cap, basketball vest and parachute pants hanging down over his Calvins … well I do not wish to proceed, thank you very much. The mullet was enough already.

    Rap has its place of course. And that is the point. It has its own cultural references and they are certainly not to be found on AMLoR, which is one of my least favourite PF albums by the way and somewhat lumbering and laboured at the best of times. There is little in rock more unbecoming than middle-aged performers trying to get “down with the Kids” when frankly the World is better served by them adding to their lexicon with material relevant what is going on around them.

    The story that David needed to visit a disco to “get” the licks used on “Another Brick in the Wall Pt II” probably tells us all we need to know.

    1. I agree. Definitely no rap and Pink Floyd. You’ve probably given some nutter the idea now Fed! And they’ll go away and sample and twist and contort one of our favourite songs into something ugly.

      Tim, how could you dare criticise David’s haircut?

      Mike, I also agree with you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this is a good time to remind us all of this.

      ash

  4. I’m hoping that Ezrin is just having a momentary lapse of reason! Truly… A REALLY BAD IDEA!!!!

  5. For the longest time, I was under the impression that Blondie started rap. It was really the first exposure I had. At least for Rap-Rock.

    But when I heard N.W.A.’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ I realized that rock does not belong in rap’s palace; Because the rock is meagrely sampled, played with like a toy and tossed aside all ripped apart.

    However, The Beastie Boys put it all back together again and restored my faith in the rap-rock genre. Rest in peace, Adam.

    1. Great example from 1980/81, Marcus. I’ve always liked Blondie and had forgotten about ‘Rapture’. I think Debbie Harry raps very well. Here’s a B-side to one of her solo singles from around the same time, to give another example: ‘Military Rap’.

      Stone me, but something about it got me thinking about the slower, somewhat Reggae-tinged versions of ‘Money’ Pink Floyd performed – to mixed reviews, it has to be said – on the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour. Somehow, considering the seemingly relaxed atmosphere and the different elements added by the backing singers and then the saxophone, suddenly someone strolling on stage and rapping doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched. But maybe I’ve been inhaling paint fumes all afternoon without realising, or something.

    2. Oh Lordy!!! Quick!!! Get FEd away from the paint … or was it the pennies saved on the pints? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      In earnest though, it’s probably not as far-flung an idea although the thought makes me bristle and not in a good way.

      1. :)) Not a great idea nor is it something I’d want to see, to be fair, but I can imagine it. I have a vivid imagination, clearly.

  6. Well said Michael Kelly.

    To everyone: Happy first day of spring. May the wind always be at your back. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Some old sayings just say it all.)

  7. Wow, indeed.

    I can’t imagine David Gilmour reading (or singing?) rap. That is nonsense, absolutely. I can’t even imagine the producer suggesting him something like this.

    A monetary lapse of reason it was, I think. All producers are the same.

  8. I personally am not a lover of rap in any shape or form so am grateful that David didn’t have a momentary lapse of reason and dismissed the idea!

    Best wishes
    Heather

  9. The Run-DMC collaboration definitely put Aerosmith back on the map. Personally I always thought they were good but through a series of self-inflicted misfortunes, the industry at the time, and where music was heading, they almost ‘washed up’ — rather pleased they worked through that obstacle course.

    I’m taking some liberties (and a huge risk) but would venture to say that The Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight might have marked the first ‘mainstream’ venture into cross-over territory and despite the definitive disco/funk underpinnings, there was a bass/rhythm that could easily have been placed anywhere – even into a rock song. This got me to thinking about the true roots of ‘rap’ and I stumbled upon this (forgive me please) and this (Swedish, 1927?). I always thought this was more rap-funk-rock than disco, but that’s just me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I did see a suggestion that Queen’s Another One Bites The Dust had a bit of ‘rap affliction’ and that John Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance was the first ever popular rap song. Perhaps Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police fits in there? Not being a musicologist I can’t argue against it given the definition of rap but certainly not the rap we’ve been fed.

    However, I digress … back to the rock part …

    I think it’s a difficult genre to ‘master’ and not many have done it well although Cypress Hill, Faith No More (Epic blew my mind at the time), Cake and Anthrax did a decent job — not so much in terms of collaborating with rock/rap artists as a combination but actually incorporating it into their own compositions. Limp Bizkit, Suicidal Tendencies and Everlast (they collaborated with Santana) did it well also and to a lesser degree, Blue October in their song The Flight. Anthrax and Clawfinger use the genre but I’m not sure how commercially successful since I’ve only ever heard one or two tracks from either. The most successful, in my view, is/was Rage Against the Machine (again not collaboratively but as an actual genre – rap-metal) with Killing in the Name (a stellar track I might add!) at the forefront. Another personal favourite was 8 Mile by EMINEM.

    I’d like to think that the grunge era was a transitionary period of sorts — a bridge between the genres, if you will, where the likes of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden experimented a bit with an “echo” of rap (much like a tint or ‘wash’ of colour) and thus paving the way for multiple genres to be incorporated into one.

    I wonder how history will remember rap and its variations? More fondly than I ever will, I imagine.

    Since we’re a multi-cultural community, I thought just ‘for yucks’ I’d add some South African rap-house (better known as Kwaito).

    Darn, I never did make it to the rap-rock part, did I?

    P.S. I’m ever so happy that David Gilmour left well enough alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. And I did see a suggestion that Queenโ€™s Another One Bites The Dust had a bit of โ€˜rap afflictionโ€™ and that John Lennonโ€™s Give Peace A Chance was the first ever popular rap song.

      You make a damn good point with these two fine examples, Pavlov.

      I have a soft spot for Eminem’s writing, I have to confess. How many rockers must wish they could have written something like ‘Mosh’. It still gives me goosebumps, actually. And not that Dido will ever be considered ‘rock’ (gosh, I humbly apologise for even using her name in the same sentence), but ‘Stan’ worked really well…

    2. Now just hold on a dawg-on minute, Pavlov.

      There’s a thin line between the normal nonsense and ill-informed opinion expressed (largely by me) on this site and well researched, carefully considered and just plain knowledgeable argument … And girl, you just crossed it!!

    3. In the dawg haus I see. ๐Ÿ™ (Hark! Are those miniature violins in the background?)

      Fiddlesticks, I was certain I had erased that line …

  10. ‘Lo all. FEd. Ummm, isn’t David rapping, somewhat, on this little gem @ 3:54?

    MLOR is a great album that speaks precision and correctness. Sorrow and Yet Another Movie are classic songs. I’m sure if Rap had been introduced to the album it would have been properly. Don’t mind a bit of Rap anyway, spent too much time listening to this back in the day… Isn’t it a remarkable coincidence Prince Far I was murdered by gun-shot as are all the other names mentioned except one!

    Have a fun week all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I don’t see it, myself. I think rock bands have tried rap, and disco, and any other genre you can imagine, with varying degrees of success. PF is a rock band and I think they wisely stuck with what they do best. PF dabbled successfully in disco on “Another Brick in The Wall” but that was Roger, who did it well, and not David.

    I may be wrong, but rap on MLoR would have felt very dated by now. I’m glad they didn’t do it.

  12. Stars forbid…

    Well FEd, wish me luck. I am having a quadruple coronary bypass in 6 hours. I am looking forward to not being short of breath and tired all of the time. Not looking forward to the recovery and cardiac rehab…

    Penny

    1. Tossing prayers and good thoughts out into the great yonder for a successful surgery and a more than speedy recovery Penny!!

  13. Brrrr… I’m happy that this is not reality. I actually like things being what they are: a song is a song, a poem is a poem and a play is a play for me. That’s why I’m not an opera or rap fan…

    Exceptions here only prove the law, as we say here in German. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Cheers

    Taki

  14. Oh please god, nooooooooooooooooooooo. Pink Floyd, British Rock and never to be messed with. Go away with your really bad excuse for music.

    Damian.

  15. I may come off sounding like an old fart, but I believe that combining rap and Pink Floyd would be bastardizing Pink Floyd for a few extra bucks.

  16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY…..to Dark Side of the Moon and thank you David for your huge contribution to the best album ever!

    Cheers
    Heather

  17. I don’t know if it can be labelled ‘rap-rock’, but i’m thinking of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ by The Clash and I like it.

    And isn’t Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues‘ actually some sort of ‘spiritual’ predecessor of rap and hip hop? Brilliant, isn’t it?

    Here, Serge Gainsbourg, who, as everybody knows, liked to provoke in his own way, also wrote rap songs like ‘Requiem pour un con’. Don’t you just like the title? (con = cunt, twat, I think)

    Not that I’m a fan of rap/rap-rock, not at all, but it might be just because I never took the trouble to listen to it ‘seriously’. I think that both rock and rap provided great protest songs, of course in a very different way, but, what matters is that music and words touch people, whatever their age and their social origin, no? Not sure if what I say is clear in English, sorry.

    Most rap is probably crap but surely there are exceptions. How about ‘Handlebars’ by Flobots? What a song, with such a strong socio-political message (“About the idea that we have so much incredible potential as human beings to be destructive or to be creative.”, as a member of Flobots said). A very powerful and moving video too.

    Pink Floyd and rap? JUST FOR FUN, can’t anyone imagine and enjoy Jay-Z, Eminem or anyone else rapping on this remix? I can. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Michele, I certainly can imagine that … and why not?

      Hey I might even have a go myself …

      *Singing
      Yeah (beat), Yeah (beat), Yeah (beat), Yeah (beat)

      The grass was greener than my brother’s weaner
      The light was brighter but they wouldn’t fight ya
      With friends surrounded it was me they hounded
      The night of wonder had me going under

      Oooh I need a sit down now …

    2. Crossed it?

      I think I re-invented the whole concept of the line and then drove a coach and horses through it.

  18. Overall, I like AMLOR very much, specially live renditions. It does have enough 80s gimmics (drum machines…) that somewhat dampen the final result, and I get shivers thinking what would have happened if rap was added to the mix. Thank god common sense prevailed! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. I am not a rap fan. Or so I thought. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I was hunting around for a piece of rap and asked my daughter when I found something, “Is this rap?”. She laughed. She laughed at the next thing I asked her about too. ๐Ÿ™

    THEN she played me something from my own record collection, which I love and which does have rap in it. Here it is.

    I am wondering if this is also “rock” now.

    ash

  20. Frank Zappa’s music seems somewhat of a rap genre. I enjoy his music. Especially his song “Trouble in the Streets”. Never really pinpointed it as rap. But since this topic has come up. It had me thinking of music I enjoy and what could be “classified” as rap.

    Generally rap gets a bad name due to the derogatory lyrics. But not all rap is negative. We are fortunate there are so many styles of music. Of course, my favorite being rock and roll. Probably because it is what I grew up listening to the most, therefore, it is comforting. But all music is enjoyable.

    1. Excellent observation Suzy — if you listen to Cosmik Debris (Apostrophe is really the only Zappa album that I got into) it’s a good example as well.

    2. Hell and what an underrated guitarist as well! In a completely different league of course but underrated nonetheless.

  21. Rap music was created by putting someone in a cardbord box then pushing them down the stairs… true story.

    1. I thought it was invented by people that couldn’t sing but had a drum machine and some record decks and a get rich quick “plan”. :))

      Nice to see you again Matt,

      ash

  22. I will try to get ahold of “Cosmik Debris” and give it another listen. It has been awhile. Thank you for the information Pavlov. Johnny Cash was a rap in country & western style.

  23. If I have properly understood what rap is and what performances can look like, there is some very humorous hand gestures go on.

    It involves pointing the index finger with the thumb held at right angles, the middle and fourth finger bent and the little finger out straight as if pointing to something completely different.

    This pointing posture can be up in the air or with arms held at shoulder height but with the elbows bent. Depending on the “rhythm”, the whole arm, with the hand holding “the posture”, can be moved in a series of waving movements from above shoulder height to thigh high.

    A variation is for both arms, therefore hands, to be involved. A further variation can be that the performer can walk forward or backwards whilst “shrugging” his shoulders but always with the hands adopting “the posture”.

    Perhaps this pointing and arm waving and shrugging walking can be regarded as a form of dance. It certainly looks like good exercise!

    If older people (like me) try to perform this rap “dance”, it usually illicits laughter from observers so it is best left to young people.

    I prefer hand jiving anyway!

    ash :))

    1. ๐Ÿ™‚ SHAKA, Ash, it sounds as if you’re fluent: is it like Hula? Hawaiians say it’s the hands that tell the story! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t want to get my gestures crossed, you see…

  24. David Gilmour and Rap music, please…..I have so little left to believe in these days.

  25. I’m exceedingly relieved and grateful that Mr. Gilmour said no!

    Tim Minchin comes as close to rap as I’ll ever come! His public service announcement and our very own Tim C’s Prog-Rap-Fusion-Experiment who is hereby on notice and gets ALL the inspired blame for the list below which, is indeed as close as I’ll ever come to enjoying rap unless there’s a rap-folk music-backbeat of some sort! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Woodsy’s Guthery Snipe: a playlist for homies!

    “This Turf is Yo Turf, That Turf is My Turf”
    “Dust Pneumonia Rap”
    “So Long, it’s Been Good to Grease You”
    “Rapper’s Lullabye”
    “JEEZ!”
    “YO! Re-Me!”
    by Dough-Re-Me (name of the rapper dude)

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