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.

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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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
    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.
    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.
    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.
    fitterhappier34
    This has probably been said multiple times throughout this thread, but I think this ugly old troll should listen to The Roots.
    HavokStrife
    That's pretty awesome someone with as much prestige as Lemmy isn't scared to tell it like it is!
    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.
    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.
    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?
    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.
    David34343
    Lemmy please listen to this before you generalize hip hop like that.
    Respect lost for you dude
    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!!
    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.
    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.
    gapazian
    you really gonna tell me this doesn't require a shitload of talent? please, don't embarrass yourselves.
    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?
    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.
    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.
    Jphthe1
    I glad this was widely discussed. But for possibly new information: Lemmy still smokes meth. This is true.
    Reptilianriff
    sunburst steve wrote: i feel as if rock is against rap. i only hear rock musicians talking bad about rappers/ or rap music. i never hear rap talking about rock. just stating not saying anything.
    True, but of course there are some dumbasses like "lil wayne" who calls himself"heavy metal" and then refers to himself as being inspired by led zepplin, I love LZ but Last time I checked i'd say their more "classic rock" than metal.
    mynameisharp
    Smillzer wrote: Sorry. My bad, he's 65. Either way, he's still bound to be set in his views and opinions.
    and you say he generalizes?
    Kroach
    Lemmy sounds like a 12 year old: "hip hop isn't music l0l0lz!" "drugz and alcohol are the br00talz!!!"
    Ali-b912
    I'd say the article takes it out of context. Those [] bits are usually used to show what he's implying, which might not actually be true to what he meant. I'm sure he's referring only to groups that do just use samples of classic rock bands for most/all melodies, and the editor is either taking his statement out of context, or misunderstands what he was saying. You'll make more money saying "Lemmy hates Rap" than you would saying "Lemmy hates rap groups who rip off led zeppelin and queen all the time"
    Reptilianriff
    beineken wrote: 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.
    But rage against the machine can eat ass? :/
    StratoSlayer
    Fuck you ****s. I'm going to get curbstomped out here, but I don't even care. Listen to Kanye West's new album, actually give it a genuine try. Every sample was carefully selected, meticulously arranged, every collaboration was hand picked and shaped by one man, one mainstream rap star. Tell me that shit was atonal, tell me that shit was unoriginal, tell me he did not come up with sounds of his own, tell me that didn't take talent. Go on, tell me and back it up. The rhymes were clever, the artistry was thorough and his personality and the work of art he managed to create has so much more depth, excitement and value than getting drunk, going nuts and yelling repeatedly. I know you all revere Lenny as a god because he's a hard ass mother****er who's been around since the beginning, but seriously, open up your minds, because I am seeing a lot of closed minded ignorance here. And don't be so quick to follow what a man says simply because he's popular here. Pure hypocrisy, so much hypocrisy...
    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.
    guitar_fingers
    Can't really say anything since practically every angle has been covered in the ~550 comments. I do think people are generalizing far too much in these comments though.
    whatadrag
    Not that my opinion will be seen out of the ocean of comments above me, but: I like John Mayer, I think he's a great guitarist. One of the best of our era. I think Justin Bieber deserves a little more respect from "hard-core musicians". Just because he's a cute 16 year old pop-star, doesn't mean he's not a musician. Oh, but **** Katy Perry and her lot.
    FootSwitch
    slashrock94 wrote: And maybe he should also ask some respected critics whether they prefer Motorhead or Kanye West, he would be very disappointed by the results.
    Just because one is more popular then other doesn't make it better. You really think Beiber is better then Ozzy just because a bunch of idiots follow him?
    gapazian
    still, i rather listen to
    than motrhead, which have been anything but creative for most of their career. not saying they're bad, i like my occasional motrhead. and that track is better than to whatever you're listening now.
    Reptilianriff
    djmarklaw123 wrote: Wait lemmy has worked with ice cube? Ice cubes a rapper? what the heck?
    Yes, But "Born to raise Hell" Isn't a rap song is it? that and Ice cube is like a million years old so he and lemmy could go well together don't you think? xD