Mark Mangold - Innovator of rap?
The Other Joe
Date: December 06, 2000 01:00PM
A few weeks back on this board, I made reference to Mark Mangold's primordial excursions into rap, available only as bonus tracks on the Japanese pressing of American Tears' Tear Gas CD. The origins of these 2 songs pre-dated Sugarhill Gang by more than a decade, but the fact that innovation needs to be validated by popularity will simply mean who did it first will never be as important as who sold it first.
When you mentioned this a couple of weeks ago I wanted to ask you - Are you serious? Are you actually implying that Mark Mangold & American Tears invented Rap? This is kind of absurd, really. I think it is equally absurd for people to claim that the Sugarhill Gang invented rap. They might have been the first artist officially labeled, marketed, and sold as "rap" music, but they sure as heck didn't invent it. Neither did Mark Mangold. In fact, I'd bet if you spoke with him (or whoever it was who added those stylings to the American Tears recordings) he could probably tell you the exact source from which he borrowed the idea. I would bet a large amount of money that he got the idea from some cat in a mostly African American club who was playing some mix of soul, jazz, and swing or something like that.
The concept of rapping is not really unique to African culture. The idea of speaking rhythmically in a sing-song kind of way to a steady beat is fairly common among Carribean, Native American, Asian Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and many other cultures. It is really a simple, basic human instinct. Without denigrating it as an art form too much, it is probably the most common type of music prior to "western enlightenment". I'll bet that there were once troubadours who went around and rapped stuff like Beowulf.
Still, I'm curious. Did Mangold utilize drum loops or record scratching on his rap tracks?