My post is a little late this week because it took me a while to decide what topic I wanted to write about. In class, we have been talking about place, influence and genre, incorporating discussion about types of music as diverse as Rappalachian and Hick Hop into our conversations. Some of the artists we talked about really got me thinking about genres, their boundaries and whether these boundaries should be crossed. Initially, I really didn’t think I was a fan of “Rappalachian” because the artists that came to mind (primarily Big Smo and Bubba Sparxxx) seemed like more of a comedic idea to me. Although their songs are catchy and fun to sing along with, deep down I don’t really feel like I take their music very seriously.
The more I explored this genre and different artists, however, the more I actually started to like it. Ganstagrass was one group in particular that caught my attention. It consists of six artists, four who play traditional Bluegrass instruments (guitar, banjo, fiddle and dobro) and the other two who incorporate rap into the group’s music.
One video that really stuck out to me was one of Gangstagrass singing the traditional hymn “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” This traditional Gospel/Bluegrass song that I have heard growing up in church intertwined with rap verses that I would normally only hear on a radio other than my own presents a dichotomy so powerful that I can’t express it in words and I’m not sure I could do it justice even if I tried. I’m usually a pretty conservative person but I love how this video crosses so many traditional boundaries regarding music, genre, culture and race. I think that, if done correctly, this somewhat odd place between different musical genres, between Bluegrass and Rap, can serve to help build a platform for change.