*** WARNING: The videos in this post may contain explicit content; NSFW; Viewer discretion is advised. ***
This week’s class discussion featured some topics that one might not think would ever come up in a class covering Bluegrass music. One of those topics was the rap/hip-hop scenes and artists from the Appalachian region and “Dirty South”. While I am familiar with some of the artists within this overall genre, my knowledge is limited because rap is not the primary genre of music that I listen to (Yelawolf, along with songs and artists primarily from the 1990s and early 2000s. Possibly could include artists that were associated with the “nu metal” genre/movement during that same time frame such as Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit. Certain songs by Korn, Mudvayne, Mushroomhead, Slipknot and System of a Down have lyrical and instrumental elements and flow similar to rap).
Examples of Nu Metal songs that I think contain rap elements:
After our discussion on Monday, I was surprised to learn about amount of rap artists that are from the Appalachians and Dirty South (ex: Gucci Mane, Lil’ Wayne). Mentioned above, Yelawolf is the artist that I am most familiar with when it comes to rappers from this area. Some reasons that I like to listen to his music is because of his flow and that a good portion of his songs are either about or reference elements that are common (maybe even stereotypical) to living in the South. And while some comments made in class were along the lines of that “rappers involved with Rappalachia and hick-hop are not going to be taken seriously by other established rappers,” I think Yelawolf is a prime example for a counterargument to that statement. On his album “Radioactive”, Yelawolf collaborated with rappers such as Eminem, Kid Rock, and Lil’ Jon. He also did an EP with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker.
While our discussions in class of music genres that are prevalent within Appalachia was certainly interesting, I found that there was a lack of discussion regarding the rock genres. Whether it is classic rock, metal, punk, etc. I know that there is a definite fan base for these genres within Appalachia. There have also been bands within my hometown area that are associated within these genres. One in particular, Blitzkid, has been successful on a global scale. They were a horror punk band based out of Bluefield, WV, that disbanded in 2012. Another group is Curses, formerly known as War Torn Angel. This is a metalcore/post hardcore band (featuring two members that went to my high school) that is trying to establish themselves, performing mainly local shows and competing for a slot to play on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. To further illustrate my point that the rock genre is loved within Appalachia, it should also be noted that legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd will be headlining this year’s Second Chance Learning Center Concert in my hometown of Bluefield, VA (which is usually predominantly a country music show).
So basically this blog post is meant to showcase some of the music that I am familiar with in regards to our class discussions this week, and to also show that Bluegrass and Country are not the only genres of music that people within the Appalachia listen to and perform. Despite what stereotypes might be associated with any region, if you dig deep enough there is evidence to prove those stereotypes wrong. That is one thing I take away from class this week.