Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

The Streets: The British Can't Rap, Haven't You Heard?

Simon Reynolds, The New York Times, 20 October 2002

THE BRITISH have always had a flair for taking black American music, giving it a twist and then exporting it back, stylishly repackaged. Blues, R&B, soul, funk, disco, house — each in turn has been the source music for a series of British invasions of the American pop mainstream. Yet, despite years of trying, this native genius for appropriation has spectacularly failed in one area: hip-hop. From late-80's contenders like Ruthless Rap Assassins to 90's groups like the Brotherhood, British rappers have not made much impression in hip-hop's homeland.

Total word count of piece: 1349


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.