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Haggis Rules Everything Around Me

Trainspotting

Any American music historian will tell you that hip hop originated in New York City in the 1970s by Kool Herc. But University of New Mexico professor Ferenc Szasz thinks that the genre's roots can be traced back even further, to ancient Scotland where people would engage in something called "flyting."

Flyting is basically what Szasz calls "verbal jousting," satiric and vulgar trading of insults usually used to settle disagreements without physical fighting. Scots who moved to America and spent time around African American slaves passed on the tradition. It was absorbed into black culture and later reemerged as rapping. Add some funky beats and you've got hip hop.

It's an interesting theory, though I'm sure you could find a tradition of colorful arguing in any culture. And the article doesn't go into detail about what the new version of flyting did in the meantime, between it's presence among Scottish slave owners and African American slaves and it's rebirth as rap in New York. Regardless of its roots, I think it's safe to say that what we know as rapping is a truly American art form.

But I must thank Szasz for reminding me of this video:

Telegraph







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Comments

Barbara

Show me a culture that doesn't enjoy a good amount of insult-trading and I'll show you a culture that is not drinking enough.

jennifer

LOL - good one, barbara!

Smee

Branding early Scots in America as slave owners is probably pretty erroneous. Scots were fleeing Scotland due to subjugation and had/have strong feelings about personal and political freedom. I'm just sayin'.




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