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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752 comments sorted by best / new / date

    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.
    Jøhnny
    jetfuel495 wrote: aerosteel666 wrote: I agree lemmy youre the man its boring to hear hip hop makes me wanna fall to sleep. No emotion and very boring. Its much funner to go to a rock concert. Kids today are closed minded thanks to the media(MTV). im 14 and i agree with you. long live Lemmy. There are so many things wrong with this post that I don't even know where to start.
    Opinions are wrong? Nice job on being objective
    Reagar
    I do agree with his thing about backing tracks ripped off other songs to some extent, but I mean, I'd consider Eminem to be far more talented than Lemmy. I'm currently listening to their second most popular song on Spotify and it's horrendously average. Found the comment about people not being boozy or druggy enough to be pretty pathetic. A true musician would know that music shouldn't be about personality or ridiculous controversial antics. Although it is more interesting when people are controversial, if they don't want to why should they be so.
    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? :/
    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
    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"
    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...
    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!"
    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.
    jamsking
    his album ain't selling so well i guess if he needs this kinda promotion
    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.
    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.
    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
    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.
    tricksy16
    and this is news because? Seriously will somebody put out some news that isn't just a list of bullshit opinions from people who obviously think they know what they are talking about
    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.
    james975
    lol this guy is entitled to his opinion but would he like 16 or 17 year old Justin Beiber to have booze, drugs and hookers backstage at all his shows? i'm not a fan of the kids music but having anything other than Perrier kinda goes against the image he is trying to portray. this guy seems a tad better. But **** John Mayer. 100%
    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!!
    RC52190
    Lemmy telling us what is and isn't music? What a joke. Lemmy couldn't sing to save his own mother from a fiery pit. I'm not a rap/hip hop fan but there's more enjoyable rap/hip hop than in all of Motorhead's 20 albums. Which is genuinely sad because I like one, maybe two rap/hip hop songs.
    boris6491
    Although I am definitely not a fan of that sort of music, I think Lemmy is too biased with his views. Many could easily generalise his music (and often do) into the category of 'noise' (a generalisation often made by non-metal listeners). I do agree with a lot of things he says but there could easily be the exact opposite opinion on an ultimatehiphop.com or something. Honestly, what he said about the perrier bottles or whatever is such crap. Though what he said about Justin Bieber, the most overrated and overhyped person on this planet, cannot be disputed
    RC52190
    RefreshTheDemon wrote: 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 Don't give me that bullshit that they didn't have the funds for instruments!? But they had money for turn tables, designer clothing, designer everything, bling,GUNS! and most obviously DOPE! and DRUGS! Basically it comes down to a couple a things, where are your priorities and do you have integrity. Here we go, here's a good one. It's known to be fact that WEED especially, kills motivation along with many other things like mood swings(rapperskillingeachother) and drug induced psychosis(irrationalbehavior) so already there priorities are ****ed so you think they were going to take the $ that they would have to sacrifice so they could buy an instrument and then be motivated to actually put the time in, to excel at an instrument? Remember The "GUITAR" was a "SLAVE INSTRUMENT". Those ppl had even less $ than the first rappers in the 80's.Now for that being said rap groups like Public Enemy,runDMC and cypress hill to just name a few are what i think was raps better days but now you have a ****ing guy like 50 cent which now couldn't care less about his craft and made his $ and fame and now he's trying to be a big shot business man.He doesn't give a shit about his fans anymore!
    It's been a while since someone posted something so ignorant that it actually pissed me off. You're completely talking out of your ass through this entire post. I believe what Gunpowder was saying in the first place was that when rap -first- got started (which he actually stated), those rappers didn't have funds for the equipment needed to make most music. Yeah they had money to buy shit, but that was after they got famous from making their music in the first place. Bringing modern rappers into the equation is foolish because that's not what he was talking about at all. Rappers nowadays typically (not always) do it because it's so glorified. And also, this is not a drug debate but you're literally making things up when you say shit like "it is actually a known fact that weed kills motivation" There are no reliable studies that actually show that, so I'd like to see your proof of that because off the top of my head I can name at least three major examples in the music industry alone of marijuana users that impacted the world and clearly were very motivated people: Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and most importantly, The Beatles. To further prove my point, nearly all of our presidents have admitted to smoking marijuana at least once or regularly. George Washington actually had a marijuana farm. Enough motivation for you? Because if anything I'd say weed is actually a -motivator.- It inspires all forms of art. You clearly also have never smoked weed before or done any real research on it either because it does not give you any types of "mood swings" or "psychosis." As a frequent smoker, I would know. The rest of your argument is null out of sheer stupidity.
    Dynamo11
    I think Lemmy means current day hip-hop which is more R'n'B. However 90s hip-hop like Grandmaster Flash was the bizness
    InfernalFender
    This is Lemmy's character. Just roll with it people, stop being so damn serious. I listen to a lot of Hip-hop, but I still find his comments to be a good laugh.
    jambi_mantra
    Oh look the elitists are here. Motorhead sucks. Most hip hop is awesome, some sucks, just like every other genre.
    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.
    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!
    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
    slayer_rule_\m/
    1800tool wrote: 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!
    This probably wins the award for THE most moronic/ignorant/possibly even the most trollish post. The '****head' is right, that does make it music. Rythm in drone metal? That's not the point of drone metal at all. Classical was not the earliest type of music written. The classical period was around between roughly 1750 and 1830 and there were lots of pieces with vocals in. It most certainly is not the 'blue print' for most of todays music (see blues for that). Yeah I hate auto tune too, which is why I listen to hip hop artists who dont use it. Plenty of them, don't let t pain represent all of 'hip hop'. This article was a huge troll! So much arguing mainly people posting dumn ignorant opinions and getting a mouthful from people who actually know what they're talking about.
    davecooper
    By definition, RAP is not music, it's Radical American Poetry. Put a backing beat to it, in fact put what you like to it but don't call it music. If you accompanied a piece of spoken Shelley or Wordsworth with a guitar, would it be music? No it would still be poetry. Now, if those words are sung, that becomes music. Thats my view anyway.
    Lord Waltaa
    Oh wow this is so awesome. At least someone who dares say in public Good one Lemmy, may warts come away of your face
    chhang
    music is organized sound. yet music is more than organized sound. hip hop is good but just like rock music (or music of today) its completely saturated with crap and people like it. so he is right in a way. i dont think he was calling beiber boring cus he doesnt drink, he was just calling him and meyer a boring artist period. music and things are crap nowdays cus people like crap and they suck. and lemmy aint metal, he rock an ****in roll
    espChris93
    Wow, That a sting to my heart making me lose a whole lot of respect for Lemmy. Do some research bud, not everything on radio stations or in clubs is rap music. I hardly think he, or any of you metalheads defending him would have the same views if you sat down and had a chat with Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common or MF DOOM.
    lowtek
    by the way, clearly lemmy is being ignorant on purpose.. it's his image! i'm not saying he is full of shit.. in fact, is it really that unusual for a guy his age to feel that way about a relatively new form of entertainment? particularly one from an entirely different culture than his own?
    gapazian
    mysticguitar77 wrote: 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.
    hip hop is synonymously for rap and vice versa. the only real difference would be that you could call hip hop the entire culture, with rap being one of the most important things in that culture. but it's really the same. rapping is just the act of delivering and rhyming, whereas hip hop includes rapping, sampling, creating a beat etc.