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The Late Movies: White People Rapping Poorly

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The Tumblr White People Rapping Poorly is devoted to cataloging, you guessed it: bad raps by white people. It's off the hook...um...y'all. Their mission statement: "Science has show that for every Eminem, there are approximately 598,467 white people that try to rap but can't. This is devoted to bringing you the best of the worst."

Blazin Hazen

A classic. Sort of.

Denny Blaze writes: "I'm just a middle class guy who's trying to express myself through my rap music. Once you watch my video, you'll just be BLAZED! This is THE ORIGINAL FULL LENGTH VIDEO including an MTV message!!!!"

Cookin' With Gas

The video's poster writes: "An educational rap video on the natural gas cooking safety that I performed in. What a crazy awful mullet!" Note: contains at least one non-white person rapping. The quality of said rapping is unaffected.

Liberal Democrats Rap

Actual lyrics: "Get the Lib Dems / in the house by the Thames / and the country'll be all right / so you can sleep tight." The video's posters do include this note: "DISCLAIMER: This video should be taken with a tongue in cheek approach."

BioRap (DNA Replication and Protein Synthesis with a Beat)

The site's author writes:

This, without exaggeration, is the worst thing I have ever posted here. It is everything that this site is based on rolled into one. Terrible topic, awful rapping, [expletive] video, and the cherry on top: Splicing in random clips of black guys rapping to give it some semblance of street cred. I normally don't explicitly ask people to reblog things, but if you haven't, this is the one. The world needs to know about this so that it never happens again.

Twilight Rap

Spoiler alert: this video kinda ruins the plot of Twilight. And these girls' street cred.

Math Teacher Raps Run This Town (Jay-Z) - Quadratic Equation / Formula

Points for effort, I guess. The site's author writes:

There's a bunch of videos of math teachers taking equations and problems and making them into raps. They're all terrible, and I suggest if you have some time look at the related videos if you want to cry about the current state of humanity....

Tufts Rap (Featuring Harry Potter References)

Laura Potel wanted to go to Tufts. Let's hope this rap helped.

MC Frontalot: A White Person Rapping Properly

My favorite nerdcore rapper shows us how it's done. (Warning: contains some NSFW language.)

Lots More

Check out White People Rapping Poorly or their Twitter feed for all the bad rap you can handle.

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between an Opera and a Musical?
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They both have narrative arcs set to song, so how are musicals different from operas?

For non-theater types, the word “musical” conjures up images of stylized Broadway performances—replete with high-kicks and punchy songs interspersed with dialogue—while operas are viewed as a musical's more melodramatic, highbrow cousin. That said, The New York Times chief classical music critic Anthony Tommasini argues that these loose categorizations don't get to the heart of the matter. For example, for every Kinky Boots, there’s a work like Les Misérables—a somber, sung-through show that elicits more audience tears than laughs. Meanwhile, operas can contain dancing and/or conversation, too, and they range in quality from lowbrow to highbrow to straight-up middlebrow.

According to Tommasini, the real distinguishing detail between a musical and an opera is that “in opera, music is the driving force; in musical theater, words come first.” While listening to an opera, it typically doesn’t matter what language it’s sung in, so long as you know the basic plot—but in musical theater, the nuance comes from the lyrics.

When it comes down to it, Tommasini’s explanation clarifies why opera stars often sing in a different style than Broadway performers do, why operas and musicals tend to have their trademark subject matters, and why musical composition and orchestration differ between the two disciplines.

That said, we live in a hybrid-crazy world in which we can order Chinese-Indian food, purchase combination jeans/leggings, and, yes, watch a Broadway musical—like 2010's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark—that’s billed as “rock opera.” At the end of the day, the lack of hard, fast lines between opera and musical theater can lead composers from both camps to borrow from the other, thus blurring the line even further.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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History
Lost Gustav Holst Music Found in a New Zealand Symphony Archive
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English composer Gustav Holst became famous for his epic seven-piece suite "The Planets," but not all of his works were larger-than-life. Take "Folk Songs from Somerset," a collection of folk tunes composed by Holst in 1906 and largely forgotten in the decades since. Now, more than a century later, the music is finally attracting attention. As Atlas Obscura reports, manuscripts of the songs were rediscovered among a lost collection of sheet music handwritten by the musician.

The Holst originals were uncovered from the archives of a New Zealand symphony during a routine cleaning a few years ago. While throwing away old photocopies and other junk, the music director and the librarian of the Bay of Plenty (BOP) Symphonia came across two pieces of music by Holst. The scores were penned in the composer’s handwriting and labeled with his former address. Realizing the potential importance of their discovery, they stored the documents in a safe place, but it wasn't until recently that they were able to verify that the manuscripts were authentic.

For more than a century, the Holst works were thought to be lost for good. "These manuscripts are a remarkable find, particularly the ‘Folk Songs from Somerset’ which don’t exist elsewhere in this form," Colin Matthews of London's Holst Foundation said in a statement from the symphony.

How, exactly, the documents ended up in New Zealand remains a mystery. The BOP Symphonia suspects that the sheets were brought there by Stanley Farnsworth, a flutist who performed with an early version of the symphony in the 1960s. “We have clues that suggest the scores were used by Farnsworth,” orchestra member Bronya Dean said, “but we have no idea how Farnsworth came to have them, or what his connection was with Holst.”

The symphony plans to mark the discovery with a live show, including what will likely be the first performance of "Folk Songs from Somerset" in 100 years. Beyond that, BOP is considering finding a place for the artifacts in Holst’s home in England.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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