Richard Eyer Smith's Excellent Adventures in Paradise

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here's an El D'Rage "Minute Rap" that looks at aging in America. What are you doing to look out for your old age?


It's been fifty years since El D'Rage first picked up a guitar and began strummin' and hummin'. In 1955, his musical tastes ran from "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" to Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons". A lot has changed since back then.

The musical background of El D'Rage is the musical background of many a "Baby Boomer". Caught up in the folk revolution of the late 50s, then Elvis, Motown and the Beatles, he is a product of America's most tumultuous - and exciting - musical era. And "El" has been in the thick of music all his life.

Now, he's done something exciting; something totally different. El D'Rage has created Elder Rap: a new form of music combining the over-the-top rhythms of Hip-Hop with lyrics fun enough to get seniors jumping (carefully) out of their chairs - and sensitive enough to bring tears to the eyes of strong men.

Elder Rap is about three things:

First, it's a celebration of two proud generations: The aptly named "Greatest Generation" and their notoriously funky kids, the "Baby Boomers". These two generations have experienced it all - the Great Depression, wars, peace, poverty and riches - and El D'Rage's rap puts lyrics to their lives.

Second, Elder Rap is all about "unwrapping the rappers." Rap, which originated as a serious attempt to express feelings about life in America's urban ghettoes, has degenerated into a foul-mouthed expression of all that is wrong with America. Much of it is racist, sexist, obscene, hateful and just plain wrong for our kids. Today's rap messages are: crime pays; being disrespectful pays: being offensive pays; do your worst and reap the rewards of a nation growing too fat, dumb and lazy to give a hoot. El D'Rage says, "Enough! Parents, WAKE UP! DO YOUR JOB!"

Third, Elder Rap is about teaching the "Three T's" - teens, twenties and thirties - about the values and experiences of their parents' and grandparents' generations. We've learned a lot of lessons over the past sixty or seventy years. Listen to us. Pick up a few pointers about how to keep America a great place to live.

El D'Rage and his Elder Rap are moving front-and-center on the American stage. People over forty-five are getting their musical voice back. Give a listen, think about what you're hearing . . . and spread the word!

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