Music Analysis in Hip Hop

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Is it Live or Memorex? Contrast and Comparison of Selected Hip Hop Songs John W. Means, Jr. Portland State University BST 411/511 006 SEMINAR: HISTORY OF HIP HOP CRN14923 FALL 2012 October 17, 2012 Abstract In 1982, Memorex, an Imation brand for consumer electronics and accessories, had a marketing advertisement campaign that claimed the viewer or listener could not tell the difference between a live production and one recorded on their product. Their strategy was to play the two (live and recorded) and ask the viewer or listener: “Is it live or is it Memorex?” This became a catchphrase in some urban areas during that era when one asked if something were real or fake. This paper addresses that very question as it relates to several Hip-Hop songs. Are certain songs real representations of a lifestyle or of a culture? Or are certain songs studio generated fallacies to generate record sales? Of course this can be said in general terms about many songs, but this paper examines specific songs that were selected to compare and contrast all the time asking metaphorically, “Is it live or is it Memorex?” Is it Live or Memorex? Contrast and Comparison of Selected Hip Hop Songs On Jan. 20, 1981, Iran released 52 Americans who had been held hostage for 444 days. Also in that month, a music band whose genre previously was labeled as ‘American New Wave’ by the name of ‘Blondie’ (, released the first ‘Hip-Hop’ record to top the ‘Pop’ charts. This classic tune was named ‘Rapture’. When lead vocalist Deborah Harry rips a verse rapping, “Go out to the parking lot, and you get in your car, and you drive real far…” ( the message was not a public service announcement informing the ‘Boogie down Bronx’ that the

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