America's First Rap Song

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed May 17 03:14:11 UTC 2006


How rare it is to find so perfect and proficient an example of the rapper's art !  Novices could do far worse than to adopt the following adept effusion as their model, taking pains to observe the length of line, the forward-driving power of the measure, the delightful surprise of the judiciously selected feminine rimes, strewn as tastefully as are the gay flowers in the wild vales of Nature.  Observe, too, the appearance--sternly required by the _genre_--of the so-called "N-word" (for once spelled correctly, may it be noted ! ).  The dramatic role of the "Cove" (who in actuality one of the rapper's own "pals," suitably costumed) is an exceptionally artistic touch, as is the appearance of fully-uniformed Lincoln soldiers on stage.  A scintillating syncopation wonderfully designed to maintain our closest attention is also in great evidence.

  So finely realized is this piece, that one may dispense entirely with explication of the topical allusions, and plunge in directly.

  _Vanity Fair_ (N.Y.C.), Nov. 9, 1861, p. 216:

  I see a crib that no one South can crack,
  We lost our "JIMMY," would we had him back !--
  Old ABE's a prig that all my coves do fear,
  And with McCLELLAN, keeps me quiet here.
  Else quick I'd cross and bienly dub the jigger,
  Pinch all the swag and put the darbies on each nigger;
  Then nap the regulars and go a hazard,
  Cramp BILLY SEWARD, stave in CHASE'S mazzard.
  Show all the North the Constitution's played out,
  And lay out mudsills until all are laid out.
  At WILLARD'S afterwards we'll call the roll,
  Order up booze and never post the cole.
  Mounting my prad, I'd go then to the forts,
  Take all my bob culls and my bene' morts.
  I'd hold high revel, sluice my gob alway,
  Ne'er fash myself, nor think of cramping-day,
  But Bingavast's the word !  I must namaze,
  McCLELLAN'S cutty eyed and knows my lays;
  _He's_ fly enough to shut up every boozing ken;
  If _I_ did that each day I would be losing men.
  Kinchins and cullies, all must have their bingo,
  Keep the lush from them and they'll lope, by jingo !
  Our game is dusty but we cannot stop ;
  It's either fight or take the morning drop.
       [_Enter one of Beauregard's coves, hurriedly._]
  COVE.--The cops are coming !
  BEAUREGARD.-------------------------Then I'll stow my wid,
  Button my bone-box and do as FLOYD did.
      [_Runs off (R.) as Federal skirmishers enter (L.)_]


  JL



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