Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Williams, Justin A. “The Construction of Jazz Rap as High Art in Hip-Hop Music.” The Journal of Musicology 27 (Fall 2010): 435-59.

Due to the elevation of jazz to a “high art” in the mainstream media during the 1980s, members of the hip-hop community interested in projecting such high-art ideologies began to associate themselves with jazz music. “Jazz rap,” which sampled jazz and used “conscious” lyrics in the spirit of bebop’s perceived highbrow nature, was seen as a form of high art within the hip-hop community starting in the early 1990s, and those who wished to justify its high art status argued that it was more authentic than the “lower,” more popular subgenres of rap music. Groups such as De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, and Gang Starr utilize “jazz codes”—sounds, lyrical references, and imagery identified by audiences with jazz—to associate themselves with jazz music.

Works: A Tribe Called Quest: Verses from the Abstract (445), Check the Rhime (445), Jazz (We’ve Got) (445-46); Digable Planets: It’s Good to Be Here (449), Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) (450-52).

Sources: Bronislaw Kaper (composer) and Lucky Thompson (performer): On Green Dolphin Street (446); Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: A Chant for Bu (446); The Honeydrippers: Impeach the President (451-52).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Nathan Landes

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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