Hip Hop Origins: Medieval Scotland?!?!?!?!?

- By Bossip Staff

Posted by Bossip Staff

Here’s another classic case of good old fashion culture-jacking:

Professor Ferenc Szasz argued that so-called rap battles, where two or more performers trade elaborate insults, derive from the ancient Caledonian art of “flyting”. According to the theory, Scottish slave owners took the tradition with them to the United States, where it was adopted and developed by slaves, emerging many years later as rap.

Professor Szasz is convinced there is a clear link between this tradition for settling scores in Scotland and rap battles, which were famously portrayed in Eminem’s 2002 movie 8 Mile. He said: “The Scots have a lengthy tradition of flyting – intense verbal jousting, often laced with vulgarity, that is similar to the dozens that one finds among contemporary inner-city African-American youth.

“Both cultures accord high marks to satire. The skilled use of satire takes this verbal jousting to its ultimate level – one step short of a fist fight.” The academic, who specialises in American and Scottish culture at the University of New Mexico, made the link in a new study examining the historical context of Robert Burn’s work.

The most famous surviving example of flyting comes from a 16th-century piece in which two rival poets hurl increasingly obscene rhyming insults at one another before the Court of King James IV. Titled the Flyting Of Dunbar And Kennedy, it has been described by academics as “just over 500 lines of filth”.

Professor Szasz cites an American civil war poem, printed in the New York Vanity Fair magazine on November 9, 1861, as the first recorded example of the battles being used in the United States. Professor Willie Ruff, of Yale University, agreed that Scottish slave owners had a profound impact on the development of African American music traditions.

Comparing flyting and rap battles, he said: “Two people engage in ritual verbal duelling and the winner has the last word in the argument, with the loser falling conspicuously silent.”

Wow. First Rock & Roll, now Hip Hop. This sh*t is comical. The lengths some white folks will go to claim they’re omnipotent. We’re waiting for the sequel: Harvard professor states Breakdancing and Crumping originated with the Vikings. SMH.


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  • grillfixer

    1st biootch

  • http://www.yahoo.com Man, I just don't care

    damn them hoes fine

  • BlackLADYDoctor

    Who stole the cats azz? 🙂

    Snoop is a true blue character. I think he’ll sell his damn soul if he already hasn’t.

  • http://www.meteorhouse.com GODWELL

    Anything Blacks people create, a crazy white man (not all) has to place himself at the root of its existence. Afrikans have been singing to rhythm long before we came into contact (and damnation) with Europeans, who were severely underdeveloped when we first began an attempt to help them evolve as humans.

    And believe me, we explored Europe long before Hannibal.

  • dubya

    Funny, a topic about culture jacking and the photo shows snoop wearing a kilt!

  • grendel

    dont be mad.
    Be thankful to the man for making jobs available.

  • chaka1

    this story is true. many cultures trade insults for entertainment. it’s not worth a race war on this site…

  • African

    that is a lie, whites steal everything from africa or africans then they say it is theirs. i know they stole people, YOU, African Americans, when u r successful they say u have a white blood drop in you.

  • http://youreadthatopinion.blogspot.com Cannon

    I’m convienced Raxco is the worst writer on the staff and that’s terrible.

    Have YOU done any research on the subject? Are YOU a historian with complete facts to back up your argument or is your side just “No you’re wrong”?

    Yes as far as we know rapping is a by product of reggae BUT where did reggae come from? The islands. Who where put on the islands? Slaves. The Prof is claiming the slaves pick it up from Scottish masters. IT’S PLAUSIBLE.

    Sheesh, the ignorance on this blog is astounding.

  • Redd Tony

    I always thought rap had links that originated in Jamaica through raggae…I wont completely dispell this Scottish theory though, Ill just further research myself….(shruggin shoulders)

  • b'more

    white people swear they are the beginning and end of everything. sorry but being that the first Man and Woman were BLACK, that’s not the case. white people are the originators of swagger jacking, that’s about it.

    would they be trying to claim this if hip hop wasn’t a billion dollar business? something tells me that they wouldn’t. why wasn’t this article presented 20 years ago when rap was in it’s beginning stages? because it wasn’t a billion dollar business yet, that’s why. back then, they were trying to shut it down. now all of a sudden, they’re the originators of rap battles.

    this professor gets the “HO SIT DOWN” award of the century. and so does anyone ignorant enough to agree with him.

  • TJ

    if this is true, then why aren’t white rappers more dominant in hip hop?

  • Roe ski Love

    RAP wars started in the Bible. When ever the Israelites and Philastines met at the river banks they would throw insults at each other instead of doing physical battle (They did fight at times)The proof is when David (not yet King David) went down to the river and started a verbal contest with Goliath, Others were scarred of Goliath) which ended with David chopping off Goliaths head.

  • jafama

    if black people started eating thick, stinky boo-boo sandwiches, some white person, somewhere would steal that trend and swear they created that trend too. Get over it white folks. get over yourself! And i ain’t a hater cause i’ve dated white guys too and some were very nice and GENEROUS to me. but still…just saying…

  • kai

    whites folks are always trying to take credit for something…damn! can black ppl create anything without YT tryin to take credit for it?

  • Encyclopedia Brown

    According to my encyclopedia, Scottish people invented cross dressing.


  • Just Sayin'

    According to my encyclopedia, Scottish people invented cross dressing.


    I concur…ol’ skirt wearing looking ass…

  • Dizzy McElroy


  • Christmas Jones

    Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

  • brightseat_bully

    Can’t y’all see? White people invented water, breathable air, AND ice cream. We should all just give the next white person we see a big, fat “Thank ya, suh.” Then crank that souljaboy.

  • ww

    i aint mad at em. niccas dont ordinarily claim sh*t, but SSI, food stamps, sect 8 and welfare checks.

  • http://www.HardLifeStyle.com Jimmy Jam

    Snoop and the Chrome Footballs!

    All the kids got their own little Lombadi trophies.

    Check it out here

  • Creole Baby isa Cash Money Stunna on his 14th Summa

    hip hop is dead yo

  • Beanpie St. Ides

    Ritual insult actually began in Africa amongst Muslims and got exported to Europe

  • Tayna


    A DJ called U-Roy in Jamaica started talking over the B-side of records and it caught on. Look it up. The jamaicans took it to New York and that’s when talking over the beat started.

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