The beat is better than the lyrics

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I wrote in a recent blog that the state of rap music’s beats are much better than lyrics (ORIGINAL POST JAN – 2013). I joked that since this isn’t the new age of the instrumental, rap lyrics still mean something. However, it could be the new age of the instrumental if that angle was promoted more. Beat competitions and production apparatus in general have gained popularity amongst many Hiphoppas. Whether digital or analog, there are various formats which serve the listener with audio treats.


Beat making, though an integral part of the rap music art form, has consistently taken a back seat to the star of the show, the rapper. Despite seeing one or two highly paid beat producers, like Swizz Beats flourish, hit songs have downplayed their true reliance on the hottest beat. For so many songs on the music charts, people will claim to not support or understand the content of the lyrics, yet like the song “…because of the beat.” If the real thing drawing the person to the music, is the beat, then shouldn’t there be more instrumental hours on the radio? Couldn’t there be more shows that just play beats, and not subject the audience to the mind-numbing ignorance some rappers spit forth every time they speak? I would definitely like to see that.


We could even begin to explore the characteristics of beat-making and the techniques used to create good music. We could talk about tempo and mood and how audio vibrations re-align molecules. We could also just admire the physical dexterity and creativity it takes to perform a beat live, without conventional musical instruments. Indeed the beat-maker is a virtuoso of production technology at his best. Take the following examples and compare. Which do you like best?

Kurt Nice

Kurt Nice aka Kurtiss Jackson is a behind the scenes pioneer in the Hip Hop Kulture, creating the first nationally distributed video mix tape series, Shades of Hip Hop, in the late 1990s. Since touring the country with the Stop the Violence Movement and the Temple of Hip Hop as KRS-ONE’s National Marketing Director, Kurt Nice has been a constant commentator on conscious Hip Hop and its relevance to the new rap music of today, through radio and cable appearances. contact Kurt at

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