December 29, 2008

Researcher: Rap’s roots in Scotland

A New Mexico researcher says the rap music that emerged from New York in the 1970s had its roots in a medieval Scottish tradition.

Professor Ferenc Szasz of the University of New Mexico said modern rap, which was developed by African-American youths in New York's Bronx borough, descended from the Scottish practice of flyting, which involved the trading of elaborate rhyming insults, The Sun reported Monday.

Szasz said his research found Scottish colonialists in the United States taught flyting to slaves on plantations in the South.

The Scots have a lengthy tradition of intense verbal jousting that is often laced with vulgarity. It's similar to music found among inner-city African-American youth, Szasz said. Both cultures accord high marks to satire.