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While blues music can never be separated from and will always be integral to African-American history and struggles, the themes the blues sang about has a universal appeal which speaks directly to all of those who has had to endure a life of struggle against social inequality, personal trials, and injustices.
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But like any form of popular culture that gets assimilated in the mainstream blues music today has lost its socio-political power and is now viewed more of a musical genre and is celebrated more for its contributions to the world of music.
Today most people with equate blues music with such bands as the Rolling Stones and other white musicians who were influenced by such blues legends such as Muddy Waters and BB King.
Blues music at its inception is the music of the downtrodden and poor.
Having its roots in the plantations of the South, blues music gave expression to the trials and sufferings of African-Americans who had suffered slavery, injustice, and poverty.Rap music can also be seen as the direct descendant of blues music.Like the blues, rap music is a vocal expression of the African-American youth of today to illustrate the problems that he is facing in a society that has constantly denied him redemption and has marginalized him.Blues themes also found expression in the late 80’s in the musical rebellion called punk music.Like the blues punk music was born out of the suffering and despair of a marginalized social stratum – this time instead of black plantation workers you have the disillusioned working class youth singing about their plight.But if you define blues broadly as the music of the downtrodden and the dispossessed then one can say that the blues music has influenced every form of music that has embraced the themes and issues that blues musicians sang about.During the 1950’s blues music gave birth to rock and roll a musical style that took blues guitar chords and riffs and brought about a whole new form of expression that went against conservative values.(2) There are two physical elements in the song that is consistent to the tradition of blues music.The first is the prison and the other is the train.The social condition that has spawned blues music is still in existence today in the black ghettoes of America and is seen in the “implied” racism that most of the poor working class African-Americans are still suffering from.It is for this reason that blues music and the themes that it deals with are still relevant today as it was then.