America's First Rap Song

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed May 17 16:49:02 UTC 2006

Word to your mother!

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 10:14 PM
> Subject: America's First Rap Song
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      America's First Rap Song
> --------------------------------------------------------------
> -----------------
> 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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