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- (uncountable) Performance art forms that served as precursors to rap, especially those that feature rhythmic spoken and/or half-sung lyrics.
- 1995, Russell A. Potter, Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism, →ISBN:
- They make much ado over Bob Dylan as a proto-rap pioneer, and taunt Public Enemy for being "unable to locate even one pure black source" (begging Chuck D's own question in "Fear of a Black Planet": "Who is Pure? What is pure?").
- 2014, Tom Zoellner, Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World, →ISBN:
- It opens with a W.H. Auden poem that is read with the urgency and the rhythm of the piston on a steam engine. It sounds like proto-rap.
- 2015, Kevin J. Donnelly, Magical Musical Tour: Rock and Pop in Film Soundtracks, →ISBN:
- Some of this soul and funk music that fed into Blaxploitation films conveyed a serious political message, which was evident in some of the films' music, while there was also a connection to proto-rap culture.
- 2016, Marc Myers, Anatomy of a Song: The Inside Stories Behind 45 Iconic Hits, →ISBN:
- Rick said our original version from '75 was “proto-rap”—since Steven's lyrics were halfspoken, halfsung, and we had this solid beat
- (countable) A specific piece or performance delivered in such an art form.
- 2008, Michael Campbell, Popular Music in America: And The Beat Goes On, →ISBN, page 286:
- Another source of rap, this one closer to home, was George Clinton's funk; we heard a proto-rap at the beginning of “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk).
- 2012, Charles Shaar Murray, Crosstown Traffic: Jimi Hendrix and Post-war Pop, →ISBN:
- From 1965's triumphal 'Papa's Got a Brand New Bag' onwards, Brown's music discarded more and more of the conventional devices of Western song structures and concentrated ever more strongly on the holy science of THE FUNK and THE GROOVE: propulsion created by the meshing of seemingly independent instrumental scraps which were juxtaposed to form a tensile, interactive pulse over which Brown would deliver his trademarked grunts, screams and exhortatory proto-raps.
- 2014, Bill Reynolds, Life Real Loud, →ISBN:
- During the presidential forum, instead of our candidate delivering a speech, the collective performed a song, a proto-rap actually, written by the fiery New York ghetto trio the Last Poets.