Calypso and Hip Hop Connections
I had a great class yesterday talking about Calypso and soca music. One of the videos I featured was a video with Lord Kitchener and Lord Pretender. They were talking about the difference between soca and Calypso. It reminded me of the lamentations of old school hip hop aficionados and their beef with today's hip hop. The criticism is that soca is focused mainly on the beat and less on the lyrics whereas Calypso is a lyrical art form that requires focus and training. Calypso like social conscious hip hop, is designed to educate as well as entertain. Much like the blues as well, Calypso interjects humor and sexual innuendo to engage the audience.
As is the case in many Afro-diasporic musics, battle culture is a key part of Calypso. The term "extempo" refers to the moment when a Calypsonian improvises lyrically and melodically. This is similar to when a hip hop artist freestyles. The most creative metaphors and anecdotes win the day and as Lord Pretender says, "separate the goat from the sheep and you will know that I'm a true, true Calypsonian."
Here's the video that I showed in class and also another clip from one of the early Calypsonians Lord Invader . I've also included a link to one of my favorite Calypso songs "Never Worry" by Lord Pretender.
Lord Invader - "Rum and Coca Cola"
Lord Pretender - "Never Ever Worry"