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Rap (Music)

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"Old School" Rapper Kool Moe Dee.

Rap star Kool Moe Dee. When he first started rapping on park benches in the lat 70s, rap was a fad few believed would stick. Now rap has gone mainstream. Kool Moe Dee is considered the dean of the old school.


The Surprising Roots of Rap.

Rock historian Ed Ward profiles Louis Jordan. Between 1930 and 1950, Jordan spearheaded the rhythm and blues sound. He was one of the very first crossover artists, appealing to both blacks and whites. Ed focuses on the Louis Jordan who pioneered rap music.


The Tradition of the Black Pop Ballad.

Rock Critic Ken Tucker reviews three albums by older black male vocalists who are trying their hand at new genres, or trying to extend the traditions they first performed in. The albums are "Forever and Ever," the second solo album by Howard Hewett, a former singer with the black rhythm and blues group Shalamar, "On the Strength," by the rap group Grandmaster Flash, and "I Need Money Bad," by John Whitehead.


Two New Rap Albums.

Rock Critic Ken Tucker reviews two new rap albums, one by Run-DMC, the top rap group, the other by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, an emerging group that builds on the innovations of the first rappers.


Female Singers Who Deserve More Recognition.

Rock Critic Ken Tucker looks at several women rock musicians who reject female rock stereotypes and work in highly idiosyncratic and original styles. The groups and individuals includes the Sugarcubes, Jane Wiedlin and M.C. Lyte.


What's Lost When Black Music Goes Commercial

Music critic Nelson George considers the changing nature of black music. In the past, Nelson says, African American artists, record store owners, and concert promoters were more community oriented. He thinks the focus now is on corporate-backed, commercial success.


Sounds of the Summer

Rock critic Ken Tucker remembers the songs that defined the season. Standouts for him were Steve Winwood's beer commercial anthem, Public Enemy's new album, and an edgy ballad by Crowded House.


The Best Music of 1988

Rock critic Ken Tucker talks with Fresh Air host Terry Gross about the year in music. He says 1988 had an eclectic array of hits, with folk and hard rock albums both reaching the top of the charts.

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