Fifth Column (re Ali and rap)

Herbert Stahlke hstahlke at WORLDNET.ATT.NET
Wed Oct 30 21:45:33 UTC 2002

I used the wrong term.  Rap, particularly as a commercial art form, started
up well after Ali developed his reputation for extemporaneous verse.
However, Ali's poetry and rap have common roots in folk poetry that Ali's
may actually have been closer to.  As a verb, "rap" certainly goes back
farther than the art form.  I remember it from civil rights marches in the
'60s, and Thomas Kochman edited a collection in 1972 titled Rappin' and
Stylin' Out.


> > Anyway, Ali's doggerel pre-dates rap by quite a few years.
> > In fact, I do not recall hearing at any time that Ali was
> > ever associated with rap.  By the time rap made it onto
> > the American scene (early 80s or so), Ali was actually
> > already losing his ability to speak.
> Actually, rap has its origins in the mid-to-late 70s. Rap DJs began
> dance parties around 1974-75 and started gaining local notoriety. The
> big commercial rap success was the 1979 album "Rapper's Delight" by the
> Sugar Hill Gang. But I don't think this changes the basic point; I've
> heard anyone associate Ali with rap either.

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