Rap's Roots Found in, Uh, Scotland?

Scots' obscene verbal tradition gave birth to musical 'dueling': prof
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2008 8:02 PM CST
Kanye West performs at Z100 Jingle Ball 2008 at Madison Square Garden on Friday, Dec. 12, 2008 in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
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(Newser) – While most don't associate rap with a bunch of white guys in skirts, a University of New Mexico professor traces the music’s roots back to the barrooms of medieval Scotland, the London Telegraph reports. “The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting—intense verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the dozens that one finds among contemporary inner-city African-American youth,” Professor Ferenc Szasz argues.

As the logic goes, Scottish settlers in America brought flyting with them, passing the notoriously obscene custom on to their slaves; later, flyting turned into rap battles, and a genre was born. "Two people engage in ritual verbal dueling and the winner has the last word in the argument, with the loser falling conspicuously silent,” another professor says, comparing the two contests.
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