Gangster rap has negative impact on society
Published: Friday, November 8, 2002
Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 17:01
People listen to music for a variety of reasons. While one person might listen to a song to forget what they are dealing with in life, another person may look for guidance from their favorite musician's words. For every one person listening to music for the harmony of sounds in a song there is another person listening to the same song for the message of the lyrics.
Similarly, every musician writes music for different reasons. Some write songs that reflect what they see in their society, city or home. Others write about what they desire to see in their society. Still, others write words that are utter nonsense, Phish, Primus but contribute to the sound of the music. For example, thinking about these different reasons for writing songs, I tried to understand where "gangster rap" fit in to this spectrum.
To the minority of hip-hop fans who like all rap music, not just gangster rap, I can fully understand why. There are many rap musicians who are quite poetic and even politically and socially active in their lives as well asin their messages. Friends of mine, who listen to gangster rap, assure me that what appears to me to be the glorification of rape, drug dealing, murder and just about any other violent or criminal acts that could occur in our society is really just rappers reflecting what they see around them. While I have let this justification suffice for many years, I actually started to think about what that means. Every criminal in our prison system was only reflecting on what he or she saw in his or her society; maybe they should be set free.
Of course they should not be, but many of them were influenced as teenagers by gangster rap. Perhaps I should start using words like, niggers, hoes and slut-bitches since I would only be reflecting my society's music. While I am not doubting that these are accurate reflections of what can be seen in our society, especially growing up in a poor section of any American city, I have to question whether it a good to perpetuate these observations. For instance, you might be able to look at the words in a rap song as an exciting fictional story that is well written and put to an innovative beat. You never once thinking of acting out what you have heard. Your younger siblings, who are high influenceable most likely look up to you and want to be like you and could take the message too literally.
Children may respond to the message a little differently than a college student would. Less educated people might be more likely to take the message more seriously. Also I do agree that rappers, as well as all people, should be able to say what ever they want to and that people should be able to listen to what ever the want, but I wonder why anyone but an aspiring criminal would want to listen to or create, "gangster rap." One can only imagine the effect that a Jay-Z or an Eminem could have in our society if the listening public decided that unity, peace or acceptance were the messages they think are cool. I also agree that many of these "gangster" rappers are extremely talented.
Similarly, I know that Hitler was a talented leader. It is time for people who say "As long as there is violence and drugs in our society there will be gangster rap" to consider that as long as we have gangster rap promoting these behaviors, the reverse might be true as well. I am not saying "gangster rap" fans should be forced to stop listening to this music, but I am instead hoping they will stop lying to themselves about its effects on our society as a whole.