Nowadays, soaring symphonies and jaw-dropping guitar solos are out; having a stupid name and rhyming idiotically about your bank balance is in. It's not what they taught us in music class, but Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson isn't complaining - the former drug dealer now has $75 million to rap about. Rap never used to bring in the dough, or as they say on the street, the 'dead presidents'. It first emerged in the block parties of the Bronx in the 1970s. Even then rappers liked to boast about their cash, women and cars, but the naff tracksuits and haemorrhoidal scowls suggested that many were broke, alone and getting around on a push-bike. When Run DMC released My Adidas in 1986, the sports giant tried to distance itself from the free promotion. But now that rap is a £2.35 billion global market, McDonald's is offering rappers $5 a play for any song that mentions the Big Mac. The famously materialistic rappers are probably lapping it up. Amazingly, so are the fans. The lingo has become a common tongue for anyone under 25. Don't be surprised if you hear your son spouting phrases like 'fo shizzle' (Snoop Dogg slang for 'for sure') when you pick him up from prep school. We recommend sticking on Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner as you pull away - that should quieten him down.
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