Musical pidgeonholes?

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by Nick Lang

It’s funny when people talk about certain types of music being music for certain types of people; like rap being black working class music, rock being white middle class music, or classical being posh music. It’s ridiculous to think that a creative person would simply reach out to those like them without making a deeper point that others could hear and attempt to learn from. Many white middle class people are criticised for liking music that they ‘don’t understand’, because they don’t know where the artist is coming from, and the same goes for people who perhaps aren’t deemed intelligent enough to understand the intricacy of classical pieces; yet this sells both the audience and the artist short. The words of a true artist can transcend any social, racial or cultural barrier, and can therefore be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to listen. The intended audience of a voice can become almost incidental, as the words bring meaning to many different people.

When Zack De La Rocha first roared forth the words “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!” it became the voice of the people, not a people. People from anywhere in the world, from any social background felt the power of these words in many different ways: from the intended war cry of those under political and racial oppression, to those who were feeling the constraint of educational and cultural pressure, it seemed that many different people felt united under this simple motto. Simple words such as these can empower people from all walks of life, because standing in defiance can be anything from getting a tattoo, to quitting your job, to peaceful protest, to anarchic violence.