Rap music originated in Scotland, not Afro-American streets, claims expert

December 29th, 2008 - 2:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 29 (ANI): Contrary to the age-old belief that rap music has its roots in the streets of Bronx and Brooklyn dominated by African-Americans, an American academic claims that the popular genre actually owes its origin to Scotland.

Professor Ferenc Szasz insists that the popular rap battles, in which two or more performers exchange elaborate insults, has come from the ancient Caledonian art of “flyting”.

Szasz, an academic who specialises in American and Scottish culture at the University of New Mexico, argues that Scottish slave owners took the tradition with them to the United States.

According to him, in the US that it was adopted and developed by slaves, and after many years it emerged as rap.

Szasz firmly believes that there exists a clear link between this tradition for settling scores in Scotland and rap battles.

“The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting - intense verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the dozens that one finds among contemporary inner-city African-American youth, the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

He added: “Both cultures accord high marks to satire. The skilled use of satire takes this verbal jousting to its ultimate level - one step short of a fist fight.”

Szasz made the link in a new study examining the historical context of Robert Burn’’s work.

One of the most famous surviving examples of flyting dates back to a 16th-century piece, where two rival poets throw highly obscene rhyming insults at one another before the Court of King James IV.

Titled the Flyting Of Dunbar And Kennedy, the work has been described by academics as “just over 500 lines of filth”.

Szasz also cited an American civil war poem as the first recorded example of the battles being used in the United States.

The poem was printed in the New York Vanity Fair magazine on November 9, 1861. (ANI)

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