Lemmy: 'Hip Hop Is Not Music'

Never one to mince his words, Motorhead front man Lemmy Kilmister recently shared his views on the state of modern music with Atlantic City Weekly.

Lemmy: 'Hip Hop Is Not Music'
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Never one to mince his words, Motrhead front man Lemmy Kilmister recently shared his views on the state of modern music with Atlantic City Weekly. When asked to express his thoughts on hip hop, the metal legend had the following to say: "Why should I do that when it's not music... There's nothing creative about doing that [rapping] over music someone else created. They go out and take John Bonham's drumming. I don't call that music. You think they [rappers] could come up with sounds of their own, even some basic sounds and they can't do it. Sad." In the interview, Lemmy also expresses his grievance with the boring, clean living attitude of some of today's pop stalwarts: "It kills me how bland this period is... You go backstage these days and you see 20 bottles of Perrier and a bag of nuts. What's wrong with this fucking picture? Everything is so healthy today and it's terrible. I don't get it... What the fuck is it about John Mayer?... Someone should explain him to me. And the same goes for Justin Bieber. They're all such boring people. They're so fucking serious. I'm not interested in people as boring as that. It's a shame these people are popular entertainers." Motrhead's twentieth studio album The Wrld Is Yours was released on CD and LP on January 17th. The band has recently completed a US tour in support of the disc. The Rockumentary Lemmy, a retrospective on the front man's career, was released on DVD on January 25th, and features interviews with artists including Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl and Metallica.

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    soapalot
    I think Lemmy's making generalisations about hip hop music. Not all artists are as low as Black Eyed Peas and steal their music from others. A great deal create their own beats and samples for the MC to rap over. I do like his assessment of the pop stars of today though.
    barn.leecounty
    wrong. The beats are created electronically. A machine creates them, there's no musical talent involved which was his point. A music playing a beat and someone talking over it isn't music.
    gapazian
    mckenna64 wrote: gapazian wrote: damn, no html code it appears. anyway,
    i'm sure that guy is good, but what did that show exactly? listen to the original track by pat benetar (love is a battlefield) and it sounds exactly the same, only they used guitar, bass, drums and keyboard.
    you don't get sampling, do you?
    Clayden82
    Well said Mr Lemmy!!!! Hip Hop is talentless garbage. Anyone can just stand there, press a button and then talk over an electronic and very dull drum beat. Playing guitar, drums, bass and professional vocals takes skill, talent, and years and years of practise and dedication. What other style of music gives you legendary vocalists like Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinson Robert Plant and Rob Halford. That is true talent and musicianship. Rock and Roll is the only true music!!
    ChucklesMginty
    He didn't say hip hop is not music, he said rapping over a beat someone else made is not music. As opposed to rappers who write there own stuff.
    Duality Ninja
    I half agree with Lemmy. I mean, there ARE hip hop artists that produce and write their own music, but John Mayer is the shit.
    SlashFan810
    Saying Hip Hop isn't a creative musical endeavor simply because of what he's likely only heard on the radio is like saying Metal/Rock isn't real music because of the rehashed chord progressions and gimmicky aggression of bad nu metal bands and groups like nickelback. The musical origins of the culture are very involved in lyrical and melodic creativity and have been relevant to some of the most important protest music in the world. Lemmy is the man, but his perspective is clearly lacking.
    minusxero
    flyneye wrote: He is ABSOLUTELY right. By definition western music is harmony. Rap is atonal,percussive and lacks musicians. It does however have technicians pushing buttons to activate bits of recorded music by actual musicians along with random sounds of no particular key to emphasize the percussion. Lately, they like to dress rap up with some singing and harmonys in the background, usually prerecorded. It's true rappers equate talent with whatever clever rhyme they can think of. Compared to actually making music this is a tiny underachievement, but they have been told by parents, teachers and random peers what clever rare talent they posess. Jeeze.
    I advise you and Lemmy to check out The Roots.
    David34343
    Lemmy please listen to this before you generalize hip hop like that.
    Respect lost for you dude
    MusicVSgenres
    What Lemmy is claiming about hiphop or rapping is equivalent to someone judging the talent in punk-rock by Fall out Boy or judging metal by Evanescence, or judging hollywood's acting caliber by Julia Roberts. Rage Against the Machine is rapping, and thats some powerful shit, no1 can deny that. Hardcore punk, stuff like Black Flag, Cro Mags etc, had a fair bit of rapping style of singing. Lemmy obviously has not dug deep into the genre, which is why hes basing his opinion on hiphop through a myopic glance at the mainstream stuff like 50 Cent and Kanye west. Secondly, yeah what Lemmys trying to say with the Perrier and nuts is that, the spirit of rocknroll isnt that dangerous as it used to be, with the hard partying and drugs and booze. But u know what? Thats fine Lemmy, cause its all about the music. Every era has had its good and bad music, and this one is no different. Lemmy is just getting nostalgic, but theres enough garbage music from his time as well, maybe not as much as now, as there was no internet to distribute and no ability to record at home for any amateurs back then.
    IMABBALLPLAYER
    i_am_metalhead wrote: No it doesn't. With a guitar you are actually PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT AND WRITING MUSIC. Using a computer to put together prerecorded stuff is not writing music.
    Who's to say that a computer can't be considered an instrument?
    me_llamo_juan
    TheHardYard wrote: Hip hop has ZERO staying power. Hip hop fans are the most fickle of all fans. Flavor of the month stuff. I prefer BANDS that play INSTRUMENTS . Hip hop is not music, it is entertainment...and bad entertainment at that. Lemmy Rules.
    The Roots. Common. Helly, Jay-Z has a live band too. And there's plenty more that do. So please, be more informed next time.
    Gord@k
    Lemmy hasn't heard of people like Aesop Rock,Sage Francis or even Kany West, who are very proficient musicians. And calling guys like Dj Shadow not a musician just because he uses samples is silly, that guy takes fractions of thousands of songs and makes something new from it. I agree to some extent with Lemmy but he needs to broaden his mind a bit. On the part about modern performers lacking balls, i agree to 100%, Well spoken.
    fitterhappier34
    This has probably been said multiple times throughout this thread, but I think this ugly old troll should listen to The Roots.
    soadlp02
    Lemmy is right. Jurassic 5 and The Roots never played any instruments and were just biting other musicians styles. He's just mad because Motorhead is no longer relevant.
    beineken
    Wow. Sad to see Lemmy is one of the most ignorant professional musicians around today. The potential for hip-hop's influence on rock music is massive-just look at Rage Against the Machine. Tom Morello always talks about how he ended up studying DJs over the guitar greats to get his sound, and I'll take RAtM over Motorhead any day. Also, if Lemmy is actually capable of generalizing to say hip-hop artists are not musicians, then he clearly has yet to check out artists like Madlib (not that I would expect ANY near 70 year old to have heard of him). Rumor has it Madlib makes 6 hours of music a day. Last year he put out 12 albums, all of them brilliant, all of them hip-hop based, except he played many of the live instruments on all of them. Somebody like Madlib is, arguably, a better musician than Lemmy, who is very good at creating a fairly repetitive sound and screaming into a microphone. Also, if he finds John Mayer to be bland and boring, he knows nothing of John Mayer, another fantastic (and hilarious, to boot) musician. Just the fact that Lemmy can even put John Mayer and Justin Bieber in the same sentence is a testament to his ignorance. One writes all of his own music and is a brilliant, Berklee trained guitarist, the other is, well, Justin Bieber. Ugh. This is disappointing to hear from someone like Lemmy who I have to put on a pedestal because I'm a huge metal fan. Always lame to find out your gods don't know what they're talking about. I felt a similar feeling a few weeks ago when Mustaine was equating Socialism to Communism.
    Gunpowder
    I completely disagree with Lemmy on all points. As has been mentioned, plenty of hip hop artists and rappers come up with their own beats, but the whole point of the hip hop scene, how it started, was for people to engage music who didn't have the funds to afford instruments in the first place. That's how the whole scene started. The creative use of language and rhythm is also a huge factor in the creation of hip hop music. As for modern musicians being "bland" and "boring people": being healthy and taking care of yourself does not equate to being boring. Some of the most interesting people I've met have never touched a drop of alcohol or done any sort of drug. Calling them boring for not engaging in it is incredibly foolish and irresponsible, in my opinion; he sounds like one of those immature high schoolers who thinks of nothing but "getting ****ed up." Besides, it was that very thing that led to Bonham's untimely death...It is very foolish for him to criticize others for not engaging in a self-destructive behavior simply because they are musicians. After all, different strokes, and all that. Also, I find Motorhead's music to be bland and boring. Sorry for the novel, guys, just had to add my two cents :p
    HavokStrife
    That's pretty awesome someone with as much prestige as Lemmy isn't scared to tell it like it is!
    JDizzle787
    Well, the funny thing is he's wrong. I'd like to see him try to write the "beats" to a song like an actual good DJ can. Take The Roots for example, which clearly negate his perspective. I only agree with his point that there is a fairly low point of contemporary pop/ mainstream music right now. Then again, he's Lemmy.
    mysticguitar77
    minusxero wrote: flyneye wrote: He is ABSOLUTELY right. By definition western music is harmony. Rap is atonal,percussive and lacks musicians. It does however have technicians pushing buttons to activate bits of recorded music by actual musicians along with random sounds of no particular key to emphasize the percussion. Lately, they like to dress rap up with some singing and harmonys in the background, usually prerecorded. It's true rappers equate talent with whatever clever rhyme they can think of. Compared to actually making music this is a tiny underachievement, but they have been told by parents, teachers and random peers what clever rare talent they posess. Jeeze. I advise you and Lemmy to check out The Roots.
    100% agree along with Immortal Technique and Wu Tang Clan if you want to hear good rap/hip hop. And I love how so many people here are stereotyping rap/hip hop from what you hear of it everyday. You're just as ignorant as Lemmy is.
    not_dead_enough
    Agreed - hip hop is poetry, not music (if you'd even call it that). People who like it like it for the lyrics... the music just gives it something to groove to. There's no creativity in song construction or anything.
    RiffYourFaceOff
    Rap and hip hop certainly are legitimate music genres and believe it or not, there is good stuff out there. Like many genres, you sometimes have to dig a little to find it, but it's there (this coming from someone who wouldn't say they are a big rap/hip hop fan). So basically what \m/-Metallica said. I still like Lemmy though.
    gapazian
    you really gonna tell me this doesn't require a shitload of talent? please, don't embarrass yourselves.
    Jesus_Dean
    GOD has spoken!! ...so spin those caps back around to the front, pull your pants up, tie your shoes and head out to your nearest record store and buy a Motrhead CD.
    TheHardYard
    Hip hop has ZERO staying power. Hip hop fans are the most fickle of all fans. Flavor of the month stuff. I prefer BANDS that play INSTRUMENTS. Hip hop is not music, it is entertainment...and bad entertainment at that. Lemmy Rules.
    Second Rate
    Have to agree with Lemmy. There is nothing even the slightest bit creative about swiping another person's music and replacing the drum track with a drum machine. The fact that such a thing is considered artistic these days is a true sign of just how much art has devolved in the past 30 years alone. I realize some of the bands I listen to have written some pretty pedestrian music.... but at the end of the day, at least it was an original composition and not something blatantly lifted from a recording another artist did 20 years before. To assert that a sampled track is something new or interesting because some producer re-recorded the bass line using a synth or some other such nonsense is outright ridiculous. If you want to listen to it, go ahead.. but don't pretend like there is anything visionary or creative about it.
    ekofuX.2112 wrote: When's the last time you saw Lemmy bumrush an awards ceremony acceptance speech like a sore loser? Or make an incredibly insensitive statement during a natural disaster relief fund insulting the president?
    Ahh yes, how could anyone forget the outburst during the Katrina relief telethon. Don't forget that he has also asserted that the U.S. government (which i'm assuming means Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater, as they seem to be the two common bogeymen for these "the government created X" types) created AIDS in an effort to destroy blacks and gays. Of course, Kanye is not the only one of these "socially conscious" rappers that spouts this kind of business. one can't forget Chuck D and Professor Griff of public enemy, KRS-One, Mos Def, and Immortal Technique. I guess "socially conscious" or "socially aware" in the hip hop world means "paranoid race pimp." Some of these guys really should seek some psychotherapy. People like these fellows are actually reason number two why i don't listen to hip hop. While i firmly support their right to spew their ignorant bile, I'm not going to listen to music that asserts that I'm a bad guy just because of my skin color.
    mnf50
    Okay he's spot on about rap/hip-hop but don't say a f*cking word against John Mayer. One of the best blues guitarists at the moment. If you don't believe me watch his Trio sets.
    1800tool
    good on you lemmy, you are absalutely right hip hop is NOT music, there is nothing musical about it, and to the **** head who said that it has beat and rythm and that makes it music, melody and harmony make it music you idiot. Drone metal has more ****ing harmony than rap or hip hop. Another thing is the earliest types of wirttem music was classical, which has NO singing in it. That was th blue print for music, since thn singing has been added to the instruments, but now they've just gotten rid of the most important part of music and added stupid and annoying noises, also they dont even sing anymore, they just talk to lyrics and use autp tune to do ther rest, its almost as bad as techno. Hip hop is NOT music!
    krakkrox
    "...for bling,etc,...DOPE!-ANDDDDD DRUGSS"!!! ****ing lol XD +10000pts for last two posts(+420 bonus pts), and -100000 for mr DOPE! and DRUGS!! I pretty much agree with Lemmy/God, but the more reasonable/ side of me has to note that no form of music, however much I or anyone else hates it(And hate them I do), should be judged as 'not art', thats bullshit, we Fans/makers of true music should just prove how bullshit everything else is by keepin rockin, rockin harder, and if we truly cant, **** there lost causes well keep the good music(and good weed) to ourselves!!
    Kenneth19
    I mean, if hip-hop wasn't music, then why is not making as much money as them? Exactly. When I say "hip-hop," I'm not talking about all that "soulja boy" bullshit. I'm talking about poetry and the real emcees like Mos Def and Sage Francis. Spoken word shit, not that pop shit play nowadays. Listen to Rewrite or better yet, "Best of Times" by Sage Francis and tell me that isn't true music. Definitely more emotional with better technique and writing than what this douchebag has ever written.
    OdderOne
    [quote]Smillzer wrote: He's also almost 70 years old. Some overgeneralizing occurs.[/quote This. I kinda agree with him, though I do know plenty of hip-hop artists that manage to use original beats and actual music. Either way, agree with him on the pop artist front lol
    Dakkstar
    sandyman323 wrote: john mayer's not a musician? Lemmy is blind.
    I think Lemmy was more going on about the health thing and the boring person kind of thing, not that he's not a musician. John Mayer bores him as he doesn't have a big personality, he has skill.
    mysticguitar77
    gapazian wrote: Primus2112 wrote: I like some hip-hop, and rap what's the difference? last time i checked it's the same.
    No... Rap and hip hop is like rock and metal. Two different animals that just share some qualities. They are fused together a lot, especially in today's music with all the collaborations that go on, but they are not the same thing.
    Zyko_Demon
    Now here is a guy who sounds like he lives in god damned LA and does yoga on the weekends and truly doesn't have the fire of Heavy Metal burning within.
    Gunpowder wrote: I completely disagree with Lemmy on all points. As has been mentioned, plenty of hip hop artists and rappers come up with their own beats, but the whole point of the hip hop scene, how it started, was for people to engage music who didn't have the funds to afford instruments in the first place. That's how the whole scene started. The creative use of language and rhythm is also a huge factor in the creation of hip hop music. As for modern musicians being "bland" and "boring people": being healthy and taking care of yourself does not equate to being boring. Some of the most interesting people I've met have never touched a drop of alcohol or done any sort of drug. Calling them boring for not engaging in it is incredibly foolish and irresponsible, in my opinion; he sounds like one of those immature high schoolers who thinks of nothing but "getting ****ed up." Besides, it was that very thing that led to Bonham's untimely death...It is very foolish for him to criticize others for not engaging in a self-destructive behavior simply because they are musicians. After all, different strokes, and all that. Also, I find Motorhead's music to be bland and boring. Sorry for the novel, guys, just had to add my two cents :p
    kiranb13
    soapalot wrote: I think Lemmy's making generalisations about hip hop music. Not all artists are as low as Black Eyed Peas and steal their music from others. A great deal create their own beats and samples for the MC to rap over. I do like his assessment of the pop stars of today though.
    They don't even write their own lyrics
    jamsking
    his album ain't selling so well i guess if he needs this kinda promotion
    morgy159
    Well let's just consider for a moment that Lemmy can't say anything for the music industry, because he made like 2 good songs. And besides, rapping is modern poetry. It's not cliche to say that. Look at any poet in the past and they use slang terms. And to be perfectly honest, most rappers don't rap about bitches and money, its very passionate. Usually, if not, more emotional than even blues. Musicians are about the music. Lemmy, he's about filling his pint with as much drugs as he can fit in the glass. Rock n roll Lemmy, great image that promotes.
    john-54eva
    This is funny. Everyone thinks lemmy is god. Firstly, nearly every Motorhead song has the same riff, chord progression and same structure. O sorry if im being ignorant but I dont give a shit. And Secondly to be a true musician you should respect all kinds of music even if you dont like it. I can think of ten hip hop artists who are more talented then motorhead. Lastly, John Mayer is way more of a god then Lemmy will ever be and a miles better musician. So much respect lost mate, your one of the people not keeping music alive.
    Cobalt Blue
    chhang wrote: and lemmy aint metal, he rock an ****in roll
    Clearly somebody has to to tell me the very specific definition of 'metal' if Lemmy cannot be considered metal... Lemmy is awesome that's all I have to say "PUT THE BASS UP WILL YA!"