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Effects of Rap Music on the Youth
Transcript of Effects of Rap Music on the Youth
Is rap music a negative influence on the youth? The influence that rap has all depends on the listener. The style of rap the child or teenager decides to listen to, whether it be meaningful and inspirational or exclusively about drugs and money, determines how the music will impact them.
These are two rappers that have polar opposite styles of lyrics, Common (left) and Lil Wayne (right)
These two rappers, Common and Lil Wayne, rap about subject matter that is completely opposite one another. Common raps insightful lyrics about his life experiences. He also brings attention to societal problems such as racism in many of his songs, but unlike many other rappers, he does so by using educated lyrics that do not attack and belittle other races. "Freedom is like religion to us, justice is juxtaposition in us, justice for all just ain't specific enough" (Common). Lil Wayne raps lyrics that are substantially less insightful, and focus on mainly drugs and money. It is extremely difficult to find a song by Lil Wayne in which he does not mention at least one of the many types of drugs he has experimented with. The youth has a choice when it comes to rap music: they can choose to listen to insightful lyrics that will positively influence them, or music solely about drugs and money that will resonate with them in a deeply negative manner.
Glory (From the Motion Picture "Selma")
Giovacchini, Anthony M. "The Negative Influence of Gangster Rap And What Can Be Done
Jam Records, 2014. CD.
About It." EDGE. Stanford, 4 June 1999. Web. 24 Mar. 2015.
Rapper Ice Cube's album titled "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It."
"Gangsta rap" is a style of rap music in which images of gangs, guns, violence, and sexism (Giovacchini) are portrayed. The rappers that used this style showcased underlying messages of violence, discrimination, and sex in a manner that made them acceptable to society. The people who listen to this style of rap often use the phrase "gangsta rap made me do it" to defend the horrid acts they carry out. These horrid acts are picked up from the lyrics of the "gangsta rap." This is an instance in which a particular style of rap negatively influences the youth.
"The Beatles of hip hop", a group shot of the notorious rap group called N.W.A"
The rap group N.W.A is considered "the Beatles of hip hop" because they were the most influential rap artists to ever grace the earth. This group of rappers popularized "gansta rap" and had the genre at the top of the charts in the early 1990's (Giovacchini). Like many of the group's songs, their most popular hit, titled "F**k The Police", glorified violence and hatred toward law enforcements. Their aggressive, misogynist, and hateful attitude, made obvious by what their name stood for: N***az Wit Attitude, soon made it's way into the personalities of the youth that listened to the harsh lyrics. Studies show that teens who listened to the violent lyrics were more likely to become violent themselves than teens who did not listen to the violent lyrics (Thao).
"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum." N.W.A. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
Thao, Phil. "The Impact of Rap." Teen Ink. Teen Ink, n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
Female rapper Nicki Minaj performing for the SA festival.
Kanye West performing on his "Yeezus" tour.
Ali, Brother. "The Intersection of Homophobia and Hip Hop: Where Tyler Met Frank."
The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 07 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
"The Rap God", Eminem.
Female rapper who goes by the name M.I.A
Immensely controversial rapper Tyler, The Creator.
Tyler, The Creator is one of the most controversial rappers of today. His fan base started out small on the social media site Tumblr, until he manged to make his own record label which allowed for the popularity of his music to grow. Most of the lyrics earlier works contain explicit violence and homophobic slurs (Ali), but he has lyrically matured and so has his audience. Tyler now raps about his hardships and his most delicate subject matter treads around his father, who left his family before Tyler was born. He tells the story of his rags-to-riches lifestyle, and that is something that many young teens can connect with. He started out with only a few people listening to his raps on Tumblr, as mentioned above, and now Tyler has his own record label, a clothing line and his own store, a TV show, he hosts an annual carnival for all of fans to meet and interact at, and he is now very good friends with many of his idols from when he was a young teen. Tyler's fans aspire to be like him, so they push themselves to be the very best that they can be, ad to only live for themselves and no one else. Tyler continuously reaches out to his fans and pushes them to do just that. I myself am an adamant supporter of Tyler. The Creator, and without his music I would definitely not be the person I am today. He has driven me to do things I actually want to do for myself instead of pleasing everyone else. I will always be grateful for that.
In conclusion, the influence that rap music has on the youth all depends on the listener. There are endless varieties of styles just within this single genre. If a teenager listens to rap that is full of violence, misogyny, drugs and money-hungry lyrics, they will take on those traits themselves. Coincidentally, if a teenager listen to positive rappers that have lyrics about being happy, education the youth on serous issues, or even religion, those teens will thrive, and feed off of the positive energy the lyrics convey.
Nicki Minaj is an example of a positive rap influence. She spreads the idea of feminism with her lyrics, and empowers young girls. Her music teaches girls that they should be proud of who they are, and to "love the skin they're in." Nicki is featured in a song by Beyonce titled "Flawless" and the song is all about empowering young women to feel good about themselves in everything that they do despite objections from detesters. Nicki also being one of the few female rappers in today's rap industry motives girls who also rap, showing them that a girl can make it in a male-dominant career.
Eminem is a rapper who has one of the most negative impacts on the youth ever. The majority of his lyrics are about domestic violence and sexual abuse, and degradation of women. Teenagers who listen to his immensely violent, misogynistic lyrics are going to retain that information and act out on it due to the fact that they believe that the behavior is acceptable because their idol preaches it in just about every song he puts out (Thao). Eminem has a reputation as a rebel, and his association with violence and danger has built up an aura that young people find appealing, wanting to add "a thrill into their routine lives (Damaris)."
"Damaris Film & Bible Blog." Damaris Film & Bible Blog. N.p., 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2015.
Kanye West is one of the most influential rapers of all time. Much like the rapper, Common, Kanye raps about racism, terrorism, other social issues, and religion; all of these elements are present in his song "Jesus Walks" which is the most important song Kanye has ever written because it tackles so many issues and breaks them down so even the youth can understand what is occuring in the world. His song titled "Spaceship" takes the negativity of a hard day and gives it new meaning; he makes it known that everyone is going through difficult times, and makes people aware that we are more connected than we even care to realize. Kanye West is a positive influence on the youth because his music gives listeners a sense of security and belonging. He relates to the youth in the majority of his songs, and focuses on real issues rather than making a song only for it to sound good but have so real substance to it.
M.I.A is the biggest feminist rapper of today. She is a substanical postitive influence on the youth much like Nicki Minaj. Her songs are greatly influenced by women's rights. This is demonstrated in her song and music video "Bad Girls." M.I.A wrote this song and made the video as a protest against the law in Saudi Arabia which prohibits women from driving cars (Baker). Some choice lyrics from the song are "shift gear, automatic, damned if I do, who is gonna stop me?"
Baker, Carleigh. "Bad Girls: M.I.A., Modern Feminism and the Saudi Women to Drive Movement."
Spunklemons. N.p., 24 Sept. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2015.
M.I.A. "Bad Girls." (Matangi). Hit Factory Criteria, 2012. CD.
"M.I.A" Photo. www.ztopics.com 26 March 2015
"The Rap God" Photo. www.reckontalk.com 07 Aug 2014. 26 March 2015
"Yeezus" Photo. www.anchorshoppresents.com 1 April 2014. 26 March 2015
"Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It." Album cover. Wikipedia.com 12 Feb. 2015. 24 March 2015.
Winer, Kevin. "Lil Wayne at bamboozle music festival." Photo. http://www.nj.com 27 April 2011. 24 May 2015
"Nicki Minaj" Photo. www.gistking. com 5 Aug, 2014. 26 March 2015
"N.W.A" Photo. www.rockhall.com 25 March 2015
Vitikainen, Tuomas. "The rapper Common." Photo. greatergood.berkeley.edu 31 May 2011. 24 March 2015
"Tyler" Photo. WWW.SPORTS.YAHOO.COM 20 MAY 2014. 26 MARCH 2015.