Angakut Battle Rap

Angakut Battle Rap - Ryan Devine MC Angakkoq Or: "How...

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Ryan Devine MC Angakkoq Or: “How I learned to stop worrying and love Dueling Shamans” A hip-hop fan reading anything from our course syllabus regarding shamans cannot help but notice certain similarities between shamanic figures in arctic folklore and modern American rappers. While the two may not initially seem to have anything in common, further reflection reveals a cornucopia of elements connecting the two figures’ lifestyles, techniques, hopes, and dreams. East Greenland is the home of several tribes of people who call themselves “Inuit” or “people.” The people, in this case, practice a religion which is best described as shamanic, though the term “shaman” comes from Siberia and the Inuit use the word Angakkoq. A shaman takes advantage of words’ universal power to allow him to command the spirits (there are female shamans, but I will use the male pronoun henceforth) that underlie the mundane world. This requires great knowledge, obtained through difficult solitary quests to meet other spirits willing to teach the aspiring shaman. Once a shaman has made peaceful contact with one or more spirits, they agree to help him, with the understanding that he will help them one day if they need him. His life will never be the same. Now his words will have special significance, since he may now command his helper spirits to heal the sick or steal the souls of his enemies. The new Angakkoq has a sort of celebrity status, and he may claim any woman he wishes as his own. Housing projects across America are home to lots of people who, I’m sure, would consider themselves just as human as anyone else. Many children in these areas hold the artists who perform the music of their culture – usually hip-hop, in great reverence. These 1
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rappers take advantage of words’ universal power to allow them to command the respect of listeners by showing off their wit and lyrical style. This requires great skill, obtained through perseverance and introspection. Once a rapper has successfully attracted the attention of a record company, they agree to publish his music, with the understanding that he will continue to record music on their label, and make them rich. His life (there are female hip-hop artists, but I will use the male pronoun because it is primarily male rappers who engage in rap battles, which are discussed later) will never be the same. Now his words have special significance, since he may now sell millions of albums based on his choice of lyrics. He has celebrity status, and attracts the adoration of future generations of people from his hometown. A common motif in Arctic folklore is “dueling shamans.” It is not at all
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Angakut Battle Rap - Ryan Devine MC Angakkoq Or: "How...

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