The historical changes of the USA outlined the emergence of many styles in music. It was because of the versatile nature of the American population. Nonetheless, some styles in music were presupposed to bear the notion of its original shaping because of some distinctive features maintained throughout the historical cut. Thus, this paper is dedicated to working out the theme of similarity and contrasting between two streams in music, namely: country-and-west and rap music. The flows for these two kinds of music directions should be perceived with more information as of the background and features of each.
Denise Noe in her publication urges to evaluate these different styles in terms of their popularity within different layers of audience. For example, rap music is far popular among youth, and C&W is rather devoted toward the population of white Americans from the southern regions with middle-class economic possibilities aging from 25 to 50 respectively. Rap music is represented usually by African Americans in a “black” manner to describe things as they are without any hyperboles or lessening of the sense in a song. Story-telling is similar to both streams of music, but this can be shaped with more sincere and blatant words of rap-performer and somehow bizarre and funny words of country singers.
Both rap music and C&W are estimated to have their own history and social framework. It is not surprising that the themes of oppression and enslavement which came from the historical grounds of the US are dominant in rap music with violence and murder depictions in plots of the songs. Nevertheless, country-and-west music has also a demonstration of violence and cruel themes of everyday life in the form of funny songs which encourage by their rhythm and tempo. Such a feature of C&W in music representation makes listeners mishear the messages inside the plots of songs. Moreover, the theme of crimes and violence is also considered with C&W singers.
As Noe admits, two styles can be depicted with their relations toward the “rural, white, and southern” in the case of C&W and “urban, black, and identified with the two coasts” (Noe, p. 20). Along with the differences in sounding these two are similar, for example, in the sexual description of main parties. Men are pointed out as the major group of representatives in music execution. They are even considered in texts of some songs, such as the country song “Going hunting tonight” which tells about how a man finds girls for sexual delight. In the case of rap, the theme of a man’s dominance over a woman is rather colored with points of brutality and disrespect when they call women with four-letter words (Noe 21).
Three things, according to Denise Noe distinguish these styles in their individuality of representation. Among them are language, history, and race. Language is a great weapon for making the world changed or influenced by people. This part of social life describes in rap true stories of most examples of destinies’ crashes which are observed in “black” districts with a manner to reduce words making them special for African American people. Country music s full of suchlike words but represented in a form of euphemisms, namely: “I’m in the mood to speak some French tonight” (Mary Chapin-Carpenter, “How Do”) (Noe, p. 22) meaning the intention for making love.
A unique history of a black layer of the American society with their previous and current struggle for equality with whites in rights assumed the historical emergence of suchlike music with texts full of points of social injustice in the US with glimpses on the police, governments, racial discrimination, etc. While C&W singers are unique for their southern origin and motivation to work and use of such term as “redneck” greatly characterizes the historical outlining of this certain group of the American society.
A racial peculiarity of singers in both genres is an issue of great discussion due to the relevance toward history and evaluation of southern states as the most inpatient toward black people, so “white” predominance is peculiar to C&W. On the other hand, rap music is full of black representatives who fight for their acknowledgment within “white” masses in their songs. The racial question is of great importance for singers in both styles of music.
To sum up, it is needful to work out that both genres are depicted in their opposite and similar characteristics as of Denise Noe’s publication, but in the very changeable American society with its truth of reality C&W describes it in the “laid-back anti-materialistic” intentions while suchlike truth is depicted by rap singers by “holding a mirror up to unpleasant truths” (Noe, p. 25). Moreover, the hints of both styles are felt in the society, and one can surely insist on the influential character of music for delivering messages to the population and creating a sort of peculiar things within public opinion as well.
Noe, Denise. “Parallel Worlds: The Surprising Similarities (and Differences) of Country-and-Western and Rap.” The Humanist 1995: 20-25.