Thursday, October 27, 2005

The lost art of acid rapping

I submit that there was a moment in time—the Sixties—when a confluence of a certain mode of questing consciousness together with chemical enhancement produced an ecstatic state of elocution called the acid rap, which in its most advanced form yielded miracles of verbiage the likes of which have not been seen in these benighted realms before or since. (Apparently there is a latter-day phenomenon called acid rap, which is an underground subgenre of rap music devoted to evoking the horrific; please, let us not confuse that with the original term.)

There seem to be few recorded examples of the classical acid rap, even those fabled rants of Neil Cassady at Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, although here's an annotated one (you need the annotations, like when he says "I got the penguin right here in my pocket," he's referring to the Penguin edition of Kerouac's On the Road). We can only rue that there was usually no one around functionally capable of recording many such events when they occurred throughout freakdom in that epoch; although surely the most famous example of one that was recorded was The End by The Doors, improvised during the recording session by a subjectively altered Jim Morrison. (How prescient was his "The killer awoke before dawn/He put his boots on/He took a face from the ancient gallery and/He walked on down the hall..." For we are now in the throes of an administration presided over by just such an Oedipal lunatic.)

Some of the most inspired examples of this genre, however, were evidently uttered by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose reputation as a conversationalist at the time (early 19th century) exceeded his considerable fame as a poet. So one can only imagine what kind of magnificent albatross-fixated, Khan-crazed, mariner-opiated torrents of words must have exploded from his bardic lips in those palpitating midnight hours of shared communion with the animating soul of the universe.

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