The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

Rap should be considered music.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/17/2016 Category: Music
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 860 times Debate No: 98184
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Rap should not be considered music since it has no tune or melody; it is simply words spoken in a rhythmic pattern. The definition of music is a group of sounds that have rhythm and harmony (1). Music is supposed to be beautiful, and it is meant have a harmony and a melody. If music has lyrics, the lyrics should be meaningful, and the song should not just be about lyrics. Rap in general is only lyrics, with maybe some rhythmic qualities thrown in. Usually the lyrics have little significant meaning, although there are some exceptions.



I'm down. I'll be defending rap as something that can be considered music.

My opponent defines music as something that has rhythm and harmony, but then fails to define what both of those things actually are. So from the same dictionary that he is using, let's look at those two words.

Rhythm can be defined as "an ordered recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in speech"[1].

Harmony can be defined as "a : the combination of simultaneous musical notes in a chordb : the structure of music with respect to the composition and progression of chords"[2].

If I show that rap meets these two qualifications, then rap by definition is music per his definition of music.

Rap has rhythm by having ordered, recurrent alternations of sound and silence in both strong and weak elements. The different changes in beat and the very structure of the rap necessarily has these elements.

Rap also has harmony by having combinations of musical notes and a structure to the composition and progression of the cords of music. This is literally the same thing as the beat that accompanies the spoken lyrics of the rap.

That's enough to affirm right there because by his own definition, rap is definitionally considered music. But for the rest of his arguments.


His whole point as for music having beauty has no impact since the entire concept of what is beautiful is subjective, meaning that there is no objective standard we can use to measure what music is "beautiful". Moreover, there's no explanation as to why music necessarily must be considered "beautiful". I wouldn't necessarily describe death metal music to be "beautiful", but I certainly would still categorize it as music.


I'm not entirely sure what he means by music shouldn't be "just about lyrics". The only genres of music that don't have lyrics are instrumental music, which is literally just instruments and no vocals, and classical music, which is generally made via symphonic music that lacks vocals. Every other genre has vocal elements to the music. I'm pretty sure my opponent isn't arguing that the only two genres of music are those two genres, but his claim suggests that.

Moreover, music isn't "just about lyrics" in the first place. If you listen to a rap song, regardless of who you listen to, there's an accompanying beat to the lyrics that provides structure and meter to the lyrics, meaning that there's more to rap music than "just lyrics". If anything I would argue that the beat is more important to a rap song than the music because the beat provides the meter that controls the rhyme of the rap. Without it, rap would have no structure.

And, don't let him say that having a beat accompanying the lyrics doesn't count because saying that would literally destroy the modern conception of music. If sound that accompanies vocals doesn't count as making a song "not just about lyrics" then literally every genre that has sound to accompany lyrics (a.k.a. virtually every genre of music) would be "just about lyrics" by the way he defines it.

Furthermore, having lyrics that are 'meaningful' is an entirely sujective concept. I can garner substantive meaning from a song or from a set of lyrics that someone else might not, and vice versa, which makes this argument have no impact.

But, even if you don't buy that argument, there's nothing unique about this argument against rap music. There's plenty of rap artists (Eminem, Watsky, Spose, Lil Dicky sometimes, etc.) that make rap lyrics that tell stories and convey very strong and impactful messages. Moreover, there's plenty of artists in other genres that make lyrics that have nothing that's meaningful about them, which makes this criticism of rap to be really pointless.


To conclude, I've shown that rap meets his definition of music, as well as shown that either his arguments against rap aren't actually true or other genres of music that are socially accepted to be "music" wouldn't be considered music were his arguments actually true.

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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 46571 1 year ago
Oh, and not all music is meant to be sophisticated.

Not all music is meant to make you think.

Nothing wrong with dancing and jamming out to fun/upbeat/partying type of music.

You're missing out on the fun. Lighten up a notch, buddy.
Posted by 46571 1 year ago
What are you, crazy? Rap is music.

Stop saying it isn't music.

Would you like it if someone were to tell you your music taste isn't considered "music"?

Think about it.
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