Chuck D: “Muhammad Ali Was the Original Rapper!”

Did Muhammad Ali invent rap? You can make a pretty solid argument that he did. Here’s what Public Enemy’s Chuck D has to say at The Undefeated.

“Muhammad Ali appears frequently along the timeline of my life. I was born in 1960 — the year he went to Rome in the Olympics. Of course, growing up and seeing a black man on TV, not only boxing, but being able to win, grab the mic, snatch it back (thank God) and sound like he’s in a rhythmic flow, with a good tone of voice, doing some rappin’. It was just astounding. As kids, we couldn’t help but be amazed.

“Hip-hop originated pretty much in Africa. Hip-hop is the creativity of black folks, or black folks being judicious with our voice to express ourselves. If you’re not allowed to tell somebody to take their foot off your shoulder, their feet off your face, their foot off your existence — ‘they’ being the powers that be — that expression will come out through a whole lot of different portals. It just happened to be that the elements of hip-hop were pretty much the expression of creativity in art and culture. You can say turntables, dance, microphones and graffiti, but really it’s musicianship, vocalization, dance culture, and also art culture. Those are the elements of what is called hip-hop, but this is the essentially the element of cultural creativity.

Read the whole article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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