The First Guy To Rap In The 70′s

From the ZPZ blog:

Dude 1 said to Dude 2, “Who’s playing tonight”? “Frank Zappa’s kid,” replied Dude 2. “Who’s that?” said Dude 1. “You never heard of Frank Zappa?” replied Dude 2. Dude 1, “No.” Dude 2, “Dude, he’s like the first guy to rap in the 70′s.” Dude 1, “That’s cool”. Dude 2, “His kid has a tribute band”…

And also a few words about the DVD release.

36 Responses to “The First Guy To Rap In The 70′s”

  1. Wannabeard says:

    Is that true? And if so, where? I know FZ had the habit of speaking out his lyrics rather than singing them sometimes. But to actually rap? In a hip-hop kind of way?
    And yes I am kinda sceptic about this. I want some objective standards…

  2. jane23 says:

    Dumb all Over
    but I think it was in the ’80s

  3. casper says:

    Sure FZ invented the internet too. Te way I see it the first rappers were the Last Poets in the 70s or dome old blies guy in the 30s take your pick. Stay sceptical!

  4. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Some parts of Dina-Moe Humm could be considered as rap…

  5. urbangraffito says:

    Couldn’t “Billy the Mountain” and “The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary” be considered as early forms of spoken word performance (aka rap)? They were recorded in the 70s.
    What I’d like to know from Dweezil and Zappa dot com is where in hell is that Zappa Radio anyway? Coming soon only works for a few weeks, a couple months at most… Has Zappa Radio gone the way of the Roxy DVD?

  6. Jamez says:

    Don’t forget ‘Mudd Club’, ‘I’m the Slime’ and, of course, ‘Montana’!

  7. xorg says:

    ‘Trouble Comin’ Every Day’ on Freak Out! (1966).

  8. Balint says:

    Okay, but Dweezil continues:
    “I found this tête-à-tête to be equal parts humorous and disturbing. The humor is obvious but what disturbs me is perhaps less easily discernible. Frank was once asked, “How would you like to be remembered”? He said. “I wouldn’t.” I feel strongly that if people are to remember him that he at least be remembered for the things that genuinely defined him as a human being and as a composer/musician.
    While it may be true that Frank has performed vocal monologues in several of his songs replete with particular idiosyncratic rhythmic scansion, I would unequivocally say that being “Like the first guy to rap in the 70′s” is about the lamest and most inappropriate way to convey Frank’s overall image to others and insults his real musical achievements.”

  9. sterbus says:

    !!!

  10. Dimaension X says:

    Actually, wouldn’t Lou Reed be the original rapper?? The guy never actually sang, … he almost always “spoke” his lyrics.
    Don’t kill me for mentioning his name. I know he and Frank didn’t get along too well.

  11. maltmaniac says:

    Hmmm. And what about Gil Scott-Heron?

  12. cekman says:

    I saw the Meridian Arts Ensemble play at Tanglewood a couple years ago. As everybody was entering the hall, a couple in front of me (late-middle-aged, Jewish, New Yorkers) were reading over the program. I heard the woman say, “Ugh! Frank Zappa?” “Who’s Frank Zappa?” said the man. Choked with contempt, the woman said, “Oh, he was this… heavy-metal… rappuh!”
    I just about lost it right there. I wish I’d kept track of them after the show; I’d love to know what they thought of the MAE.

  13. artie_tripp_III_fan says:

    Beefheart spoke and spluttered out alot of his lyrics, that was late 60s too

  14. urbangraffito says:

    maltmaniac Says:
    “Hmmm. And what about Gil Scott-Heron?”
    I think we are talking about the difference between vocal monologues and poetry here. Is there anything in Rap today that can even come close to the brilliance of Gil Scott-Heron’s 1974 masterpiece ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’?

  15. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Let’s define rap, shall we? (yes, let’s, Barry’s Imaginary Publisher!).
    To me, “rap” is the act of uttering lyrics rhythmically while excluding even the slightest hint of some sort of accompanying melodic theme. In other words, the lyrics merely follow the beat; and any type of melody is instead carried by whatever happens to be the Electronic Device Du Jour.
    What say ye?

  16. kzdarwin says:

    Rap evolved from the African-American tradition of “Toasting” (which probably developed from an earlier African tradition), the recitation of rhythmic rhymes of personal boasting, and putting down of one’s rivals. I remember hearing “toasts” in my youth in the 1950s. Modern rap may have begun with Jamacian DJs “toasting” over the instrumental breaks of the records they were playing. Cab Calloway used to do talk/sing routines. FZ was surely aware of these and other similar traditions in black and european musics.

  17. scott says:

    That’s right, Barry.
    There are some examples of rap music (VERY FEW) that have interesting background music and sounds behind the lyrics (my favorite being
    AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted by Ice Cube), but taken as a whole – rap music is (IMHO) drooling drivel scientifically designed to KEEP THE BLACK MAN DOWN.
    I ain’t kidding.

  18. urbangraffito says:

    artie_tripp_III_fan Says:
    “Beefheart spoke and spluttered out alot of his lyrics, that was late 60s too”
    I’d have to add that Don Van Vliet was an amazing lyricist. While not to everyone’s taste, his lyrics stand the test of time for their playfulness and inventiveness. I’ve often remarked to young poets and musicians that if they want to “swim in an entirely new way, they have to jump out of school first.”

  19. Jeroen says:

    I don’t know about rap, but the human beat box in The Nancy and Mary music was a bit ahead of it’s time, I believe.

  20. Jamez says:

    Zappa was probably the world’s first WHITE rapper before Eminem etc.

  21. casper says:

    # urbangraffito Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 9:46 pm
    maltmaniac Says:
    “Hmmm. And what about Gil Scott-Heron?”
    I think we are talking about the difference between vocal monologues and poetry here. Is there anything in Rap today that can even come close to the brilliance of Gil Scott-Heron’s 1974 masterpiece ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’?
    Proofs my point, the revolution will indeed not start with Steve McQueen; another Last poets original (and a decent cover by Labelle btw)

  22. powpowboogieandthebigbangbang says:

    I’m sorry, could someone please explain what’s wrong with hip hop?
    No, really now.
    Are all musics equal or is rap music only worth 3/5 (re-created) Zappa music?
    Who (or what) is served when DZ mocks hip hop culture?
    Could ‘DZ’ or any ‘Z’ make a *convincing* hip hop record in a million-billion years?
    If not, why not?
    Are there any (charactured) elements of “hip hop” on Go With What You Know? (you all have a copy of that recording, right?)
    How about “CC$”? Any debt to hip hop culture there?
    (Regardless of the ‘veracity’ of the statement) would it be a ‘disgrace’ to be known as the first rapper, or would it be an honor? Would it be better or worse than being known as “the guy who ate shit on stage?”
    Knowing what we know about FZ’s love for BLACK MUSIC, If FZ were growing up today in beautiful Lancaster CA, what are the chances he would be a Rap music consumer? How about rap music enthusiast? He certainly amassed quite a collection of R&B records back in the day.
    Do you think anyone in the hip-hop community could find anything to mock within/about the stuff, substance, comings and goings of post-mortem Zappa incorporated? How about the ‘after-frank’ careers of the ‘alumni?’ Anything worthy of ridicule therein?

  23. k.R. McGuire says:

    Frank says in his autiobuogrophy that the closest he came to earing shit was at a holiday inn buffet in Fayettville at a holiday inn .He says he did not eat shit ever.He did make a cool rap song called “promiscuous” on the broadway the hardway album.It is wonderful

  24. k.R. McGuire says:

    Frank says in his autiobiogrophy that the closest he came to earing shit was at a holiday inn buffet in Fayettville at a holiday inn .He says he did not eat shit ever.He did make a cool rap song called “promiscuous” on the broadway the hardway album.It is wonderful

  25. k.R. McGuire says:

    Frank says in his autiobiogrophy that the closest he came to eating shit was at a holiday inn buffet in Fayettville at a holiday inn .He says he did not eat shit ever.He did make a cool rap song called “promiscuous” on the broadway the hardway album.It is wonderful

  26. al gore says:

    Hey guys, I invented the internet!!

  27. george bush says:

    Mission accomplished!

  28. adam ant says:

    hey guys…. uh… nothing.

  29. urbangraffito says:

    powpowboogieandthebigbangbang Says:
    “I’m sorry, could someone please explain what’s wrong with hip hop?
    No, really now.”
    Not a damn fuckin’ thing motherfucker. A single day doesn’t go by in this cracker’s home without hearing something from the likes of Notorious B.I.G (aka Biggie Smalls), Tupac Shakur, and Immortal Technique (just to name a few). If anything, it was the education I received through listening to Zappa that opened my mind, and my ears, to all sorts of music. I have to agree with powpow here that DZ is taking something of a cheap shot at hip hop in his blog, and in doing so, does a disservice to FZ’s incredible diversity.

  30. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    Dunno. I think Dweezil is simply stating that FZ’s body of work is so immense that it would be a shame for it to be reduced to “the first guy to rap in the 70s”. No stab at rap/hip-hop methinks…

  31. bringthenoise says:

    While we teeter on the high-wire of bald racism, here are some more fun questions:
    “There have been studies showing that an average person who enjoys music but knows very little about the technical side of it can determine the difference in the level of skill of a novice musician up to a competent musician.”
    1. What studies? Where? Conducted and paid for by whom?
    2. What does DZ know about hip-hop? Could he “determine the difference in the level of skill of a novice [hip-hop] musician up to a ‘competent’ [hip hop] musician?
    3. Is DZ implying that there are no ‘competent’ hip-hop musicians?
    4. Is hip-hop music? Is hip-hop 3/5th music? [a reference to the "3/5th compromise," a delightful chapter in American history] Are there “subtleties, maturity and sophistication” in hip-hop? Is there any “technical side” to Hip-Hop? Are there any “truly gifted musicians” making hip hop, or is it just a bunch of spades with “Krunk Goblets” and “over-sized pants…”incessantly repeat[ing] the phrase, “Uh, Uh,”
    5. Are there any “incessantly repeated” tropes in DZ’s own work? How about FZ?
    “My goal is to expose it to more people and hopefully provide some educational elements through diversity in musical selection.”
    6. Anyone know what an “educational element” is? Is ZPZ now an educational outfit as well? DZ gets on stage, plays his father’s music and then…grades papers?
    7. Is someone who sees hip-hop as little more than a ‘krunk goblets,’ baggy pants and incessant repetition of the phrase “Uh, Uh” in any legitimate position to educate anyone about music?
    8. Could DZ produce a convincing Hip-Hop anything if the fate of the Vault, all it’s contents and every golf course in the civilized world depended upon it? If not, then what authority does DZ have to criticize hip-hop?
    9. Does DZ know more or less about Hip Hop than the “dudes” in question know about FZ’s music?
    10. Who cares what “local in house crew guys” think anyway?
    * bonus question: “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy?” *

  32. urbangraffito says:

    10 excellent questions bringthenoise, and quite thought provoking as well.

  33. Jeroen says:

    I think “Vanity” on Confessions was a good, if not spectacular, hip hop song.

  34. Jeroen says:

    I agree with our host that I think Dweezil ment to say that “a white rapper” is not a very apt description of Frank.
    And DZ is right about that.

  35. Frank B. says:

    Hip Hop is not dead, it just smells funny….i for myself will be missing
    all the black guys jumping around a burning barrel and nobody can understand their dialect and poetry. By the way i used to like the Beastie Boys.

  36. urbangraffito says:

    Whatever happened to all the great new sounds?