Why rappers imitate orang-utans.

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Why rappers imitate orang-utans.

So those hand gesturers that the rappers love so much are actually part of their attraction to teenagers. Also they are just as coreographed as as other performances.

Some cynical and yet interesting information from the link below.


Very rarely will you find a rap star with his or her hands simply hanging limp, like the rest of us, even when they are walking. Rather, their hands and fingers are usually in a rigid, seemingly uncomfortable position, contorted and aimed towards the camera or person(s) in front of them. Their hand gestures are in-your-face, and are rapidly becoming recognized as a skill that can make, or break, a rap artist.

Besides being able to rhyme words and wear expensive clothing, a rap artist today must be able to consistently produce hand gestures that get the attention of record buyers”, says Saturn record executive Paul Bonadio.

“When I see a kid trying to emulate the hand gesture of one of our artists, I know we have a hit on our hands”.

And what happens if the hand gestures do not work?

“It can get ugly”, says Bonadio. “If an artist’s hand gestures seem forced, or do not inspire imitation on the streets, we can usually count on the record sales dropping.”

So how can a rapper ensure that their hand gestures will excite today’s youth?

Like any other big business, rap in enlisting the help of high-priced consultants. One such consultant, Lisa Jewell, is currently on the payroll at four different record companies.

Jewell began her career in software sales, but moved to hand gesture consulting after discovering her talent.

“I was in my boss’s office, and I had just closed a big deal”, recalls Jewell. “He (Jewell’s boss) was sitting behind his desk, and I said ‘Boss, we got the Harley account!’ He looked up from his computer screen and smiled at me, offered me some kind of automatic congratulation, then looked back down. So, I said it again; ‘Boss, we got the Harley account!’, only this time I had crossed my arms over my chest and spread all ten of my fingers as wide as I could. He looked up at me, and this time, when he saw my (hand) gesture, he jumped out of his chair, came around his desk and gave me a hug. He was ecstatic, and offered me a raise on the spot.

That’s when I knew that a good hand gesture can make all the difference in the world.” Jewell smiles as she recalls the story from her expansive downtown office.

She quit her sales job a month later, and opened Jewell Consulting, where she and a staff of five work almost exclusively with rap artists and record labels.

“The corporate world has not realized the power of street hand gestures. Not yet, anyway”, she says with a wink.

So what is it about a rapper’s contorted hands that draw us to them?

Psychologist Timothy Ovitz has been studying the phenomenon. “The only thing that I can come up with to account for the power of these ridiculous gestures and posing is the astronomical drop in the intelligence of our youth”, offers Ovitz.

His studies involve playing rap songs of very poor quality to a group of teenagers, and having them write down their opinion of the song. Then, the same song is played, but the image of a rapper displaying various hand gestures is shown during the song. Again, the teen’ opinions are documented.

The results are staggering, says Ovitz. “First, the subjects hate the song. Then, after seeing a rapper doing something as inane as curling their fingers, as if they were tightly gripping a grapefruit, and moving their hands and arms up and down, they suddenly love the song.

Jewell smiles when she reads Ovitz’s findings. She says his findings about hand gestures confirm what she already knows.

“The hand gesture is perhaps the most powerful form of communication, influence, and image making that we have seen since the cellular phone”, she says.

Opponents of hand gestures include leading osteopathic doctors who claim that the contortion of one’s hand will inevitably lead to arthritis.

Bonadio, for one, shrugs off the controversy. “Most of these rappers aren’t concerned with arthritis. If they live long enough to get it, that is”, he adds with a laugh.

Jewell also isn’t worried about her opponents. “The power of a good hand gesture is certainly stronger than those wackos.”, she says. “They’re not in the rap industry’s demographic, anyway, so I really don’t care what they think.”

[Edited on 14-2-2004 by netchicken]
By netchicken: posted on 15-2-2004

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