Welcome to Big J's enthmusicology page!


What we have to do for this project is find explanation on how 3 songs have influenced (or have been influenced by) African American history. For example, you may want to talk about the categories of rhythm, call & response, gospel, blues, jazz improvisation, or what the lyrics mean. You could ask "What is the individual/common/political background for the story within the music?" Here are some links of where you can find the lyrics to the song hope you enjoy!

Song #1: Song from anytime-anywhere
Song Name & Date: World's Greatest (2001)
Musician: R-Kelly
Summary: The background of "I am the World’s Greatest" is talking about a lot of obstacles that a human is trying to overcome. When the song mentions "I am lion, eagle, a mountain, tall tree, swift wind," the song is referring to a human not giving up. This also means that you should always keep trying until you succeed, and you should never give up on hopes and dreams. When it talks about "You're that star up in the sky," this means you can do what you want to do --- just don’t give up on yourself and always believe you can do it. The words to the lyrics is referring to the struggle towards success. The song reminds me how a lot of the African American were slaves that were being held captive. They needed encouragement to free them. The slaves faced a lot of obstacles and kept on trying and trying for freedom. At he end, the slaves had got what they had wanted. This song relates to African American music because it compares challenges that slaves had and the struggles that humans have gone through in life.
Song #2: Song from 1974 or earlier:Song Name & Date: Shop Around (1960)
Musician:Smokey Robison/ Berry Gordy
Genre: Soul
Summery: Shop Around is a 1960 single by The Miracles. It is the #1 hit on the Billboards and #2 on the hot 100. This historic-making song is known for being the first million-selling record. Shop around was in the Hall of Fame in 2006. The song, written by Robinson and Berry Gordy , talks about a mother giving her now-grown son advice about how to look for a woman deserving of being a girlfriend or wife. The original recording of the song had a powerful blues influence. For example, Shop Around has an A A A A B structure in the lyrics throughout the song:
Verse 1:
A - Just because you've become a young woman, now
A - There's still some things that you don't understand now
A - Before you ask some guy for his hand now
A- Keep your freedom for as long as you can now
B - My mama told me, You better shop around
Verse 2:
A - There's some things that I want you to know now
A - Just as sure as the wind's gonna blow now
A - The men'll come and the men are gonna go now
A - Before you tell 'em that you love 'em so Now
B- My mama told me, You better shop around

This music produced by Smokey Robinson Shop Around is influenced by African American music because some of the common categories focused are rhythm and blues, and soul in this time period.

Song #3: Song from any non-English speaking countrySong Name & Date: Zombie (1977)

Musician:Fela Kuti
summery:Zombie was first played by Fela Kuti and Africa 70 at a (Festival for Black Arts and Culture in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. The song’s direct hotness satirised the military government and soldiers destroyed Kuti’s home.He went to Ghana and went to perform Zombie there. At That point there was a huge commotion there causing the whole band to get kicked out of the country. Zombie has a call and response this is what mainly influenced African American songs.
genre: World