Is Bob Dylan Hip-Hop’s Godfather? His Ties to Beasties, Roots, More

March 30th, 2010 by Christopher R. Weingarten Leave a reply »

Photo: Michael Ochs Archive/Getty
Recently, a YouTube made the rounds of Bob Dylan raspily rapping his way through a solid chunk of LL Cool J’s classic “Mama Said Knock You Out.” The Internet had good time with “LOL” and “WTF” responses, but Dylan’s symbiotic relationship with hip-hop actually runs fairly deep. Hip-hop and Dylan were both gestated in New York, distrust the government, aren’t fond of using their birth names, and have a pretty evocative way with words. And although Dylan recently told Street Newspaper that he doesn’t really listen to rap all that much, he did admit, “I love rhyming for rhyming sake. I think that’s an incredible art form.”

Let’s take a look back at the many times their paths have crossed:

1965: Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”

Is this the very first rap song ever? Dylan’s rollicking “Subterranean Homesick Blues” predates hip-hop’s labyrinthine rhyme schemes, anti-authority philosophy, pop-culture obsessions and street-level turns-of-slang; distilling bohemian counterculture, war paranoia and the ongoing civil rights struggle into a two-minute barrage of fascinating wordplay. At once political and pop, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” was Dylan’s first Top 40 single.

1986: Kurtis Blow featuring Bob Dylan, “Street Rock”

After Dylan borrowed a couple of Blow’s backup singers for a mid-’80s record, he returned the favor by donating an intro to the rapper’s headbanging “Street Rock,” the opening track to the 1986 album Kingdom Blow. Blow and his bodyguard showed up at Dylan’s Malibu home, and Bob dropped science in one take. In Chronicles, Volume 1, Dylan admits it was in fact Blow who turned him on to rap music, a...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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