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Straight Outta Glasgow

“Straight Outta Compton” (N.W.A) This amuses me, probably for the mental image (rappers in kilts, haggis studded with bling, yadda yadda) A professor has theorized that rap music, by way of the dozens, originated in medieval Scottish pubs… 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”.

…Bot wondir laith wer I to be ane baird, Flyting to use richt gritly I eschame; For it is nowthir wynning nor rewaird, Bot tinsale baith of honour and of fame, Incres of sorrow, sklander, and evill name; Yit mycht thay be sa bald, in thair bakbytting, To gar me ryme and rais the feynd with flytting, And throw all cuntreis and kinrikis thame proclame.


“Straight Outta Compton” (N.W.A)

This amuses me, probably for the mental image (rappers in kilts, haggis studded with bling, yadda yadda)

A professor has theorized that rap music, by way of the dozens, originated in medieval Scottish pubs…

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.”

[Click to read more Rap music originated in medieval Scottish pubs, claims American professor – Telegraph]

and to fulfill any lingering grad student impulses:

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”.

Right? So just imagine lines like these being recited over a phat beat of knives clanging on a bottle of single malt whisky:


Into the Katryne thou maid a foule cahute, For thow bedrate hir doune fra starn to stere; Apon hir sydis was sene thou coud schute, Thy dirt clevis till hir towis this twenty yere: The firmament na firth was nevir cler, Quhill thou, Deulbere, devillis birth, was on the see, The saulis had sonkin throu the syn of the, War not the peple maid sa grete prayere.



Quhen that the schip was saynit, and undir saile,
Foul brow in holl thow preposit for to pas,
Thou schot, and was not sekir of thy tayle,
Beschate the stere, the compas, and the glas;
The skippar bad ger land the at the Bas:
Thow spewit, and kest out mony a lathly lomp,
Fastar than all the marynaris coud pomp;
And now thy wame is wers than evir it was.

Hmmm. Maybe not.

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