The History of Horrible Rap Music in Popular Culture, Part I
Once upon a time, rap music was all about legitimacy, beginning with the poet activists of the ’60s and the inner-city residents rhyming about life on the streets of the Bronx in the ’70s and ’80s. Then something happened. Something horrible.
The mainstream media began using rap to push everything on consumers, from rapping Chicken Nuggets to video games. Even white-bread celebs like David Faustino and “Rappin'” Rodney Dangerfield tried their hands at the musical genre. Join us as we take you on a detailed, blow-by-blow journey through Where It All Went Wrong. As with so many things that went wrong, it all ends with Miley Cyrus.
Keep reading to travel through time to see the worst raps in history, covering movies, television, commercials and more.
Our journey begins in 1981. Until that point, rap music had safely been kept in the hands of urban toughs who knew how to keep it cool. White suburban rich kids had never even heard of the style. It would have stayed that way, too, if not for the one location where the dregs of urbania mingle with snotty rich kids: the punk clubs. Enter Blondie.
With herDebbie Harry put rap on the radar of those who would eventually kill it. However, horrible rap music still hovered below the mainstream bubble. So society turned to its number one ambassador for bringing things from the ‘hood to the picket fence: Mr. T.
Mr. T makes it seem OK, even cool to rap like about how to “treat your mother right.” Soon, every celebrity with a big ego and a dearth of performing talent tried to cold shock the mic, ala Rappin’ Rodney:
Despite all this, shoddily constructed raps were still seen as an art form only good for appealing to children. Awful rap would not take the next step until it appeared on the one medium which interests children and low-functioning adults: football. It’s the 1985 Chicago Bears with the “Superbowl Shuffle!”
Now, all of middle America was exposed to music’s latest art-form-turned-marketing-gimmick. And what a played-out gimmick it became. Nerdy kids bought into it, as evidenced by this “Legend of Zelda” rap.
The Lakers did it, proving they’re the richer, slower guy’s equivalent of the Chicago Bears.
British people who worked on Wall Street bought into it:
This was right about the point where the fad reached its peak of ridiculousness, then began to collapse upon itself like a dying star. This phenomenon was documented in the following video. (The rap starts at 2:20, but the whole thing is hilariously horrible.)