Rap vs. folk music. Is rap the new Folk music?

Essay by beana144College, UndergraduateA-, April 2006

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What is the music of America? What song or genre defines the American soul, pastimes, or character? Many would answer Folk music. But what is Folk music? Is it not just the most popular type of music; the flavor of the week? What is the most popular type of music in our country today? All of these questions can be answered, once the true definition of folk music has been discovered.

Although it is hard to pin-point an exact example of Folk music, many associate the genre with Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. When a search of 'Folk Music' was performed on Google.com, the definition came out to be "Music originating among the common people of a nation or region and spread about or passed down orally, often with considerable variation." This definition raises questions. Due to the fact that America has little to no source of a 'common people', what music can we prove as Folk music? Is it fair to assume that Folk music evolves with time, shifting genres as our tastes change? Reading onwards, Google.com

also says that "Folk music is more or less synonymous with traditional music. Some would use either term with a more specific meaning, restricted to just popularized-folk/traditional music or just not-popularized; however, both terms are used interchangeably among the general population and are not strictly defined." Due to the vagueness of the genre, it is hard to get a decent grasp of what type of music can fill the Folk music shoes.

Folk music was the working man's music, the earliest songs dating back to slave's spirituals such as "Down by the Riverside," "We Shall Overcome," etc. These songs help show the true nature of the genre itself; songs full of struggle and hardship, but full of hope and determination. Folk music...