Imagine an inner city kid having grown u in an environment where real life street violence is a way of life. His body, having survived personal experiences of violence, endured barely life sustained conditions, and many sleepless nights caused by the constant yet unpredictable call of death. His mind doubtful over where his next meal will come from, lost in search of some higher guidance, struggling through a world, not of innocent childish fantasies, but trapped in a forced reality. His only outlet is the loud blaring music coddling his already pent-up rage, an escape from these harsh realities, seducing him to a life of violence. In him is created a me against the world mentality that is manifested in the rap and hip-hop music that dominates his culture.
Among the most common subjects of rap and hip-hop is violence and misogyny. They emphasize these two as inevitable regularities of the life lived in the streets. Their music reflects this fact by promoting violence and misogyny, which poses adverse influences on not only children and teenagers in the ghettos and urban cities but also other people affected by them.
Violence and misogyny is a very serious problem that the American people have to face in todays society. It is rapidly growing and is more frequent in major cities and suburbs. Most random acts of violence are surprisingly committed in the streets by young teenagers and even young children, most of which are influenced by their favorite rap or hip-hop artists. The subject of violence and misogyny found in rap and hip-hop music promotes violent crimes in city streets as well as influencing our innocent youth to commit random acts of violence.
The most common acts of violence committed are armed shootings and rape, many of which are commonly committed by teens and young children from urban cities living with poor family values. According o Senator Dole, The loss of family values is caused by the moral corruption of popular culture, and therefore we should hold rap artists, Hollywood moguls, and record executives responsible for our moral chaos. (Maker) Poor family values and influences from rap and hip-hop music may also tend to lead the young teen or child to commit acts of violence such as armed shooting and rape. Our kids have adapted the gangsta culture as a direct result of this music. We have kids killing kids, little boys raping little girls memorizing every word of these violent and pornographic songs (Maker). Sadly to say, the innocence of children across America will be lost because of the negative influences of sex and murder that is brought from gangsta rap.
Violence has spread rapidly and has affected many innocent civilians in various urban cities and towns across America. According to a 1992 poll by Newsweek out of 1,000 people surveyed, 50.4% backs and 29,9% whites fell victims of violent crimes. (Graham) More and more people are becoming victims of such crimes that can easily affect a mass amount of people, fortunately, there is a less amount of innocent civilians of homicide and 52 white males out of 100,000 were victims of homicide (Graham). Soon, kids will kill each other and society in the future will be completely washed out.
Most rap songs that contain violence reflects incidents that occur in todays society such as the Rodney King incident. Rap music brings together a tangle of some of the most complex social, cultural, and political issues in contemporary American society. Rap and hip-hop artists write songs that promote the killing of enemies as well as targeting institutions such as the church, government, and justice system (Ro 145) Most artists relive their own painful experiences over and over again though their music, delaying their own societys process of recovery . for example, in 1989 two years before the Rodney King incident, a rap group called N.W.A wrote a song that targeted blacks and police officers. The song was called Fuck the Police and some of the lyrics included Some people think they have the authority to kill the minority taking out a police will make my day (Ro 146) this type of hatred is what artists of rap and hip-hop music greatly glamorizes- killing people, especially enemies, for leisurely fun.
Another form of violence that rap and hip-hop artists promote is rape. Rappers present sexist material in their lyrics that demean women by using them as objects of transient sexual gratification. For example, one rap song entitled Night Trolling consists of graphic content against women. Evil E was out cooling with a freak one night, Fucked the bitch with a flashlight. Pulled it out and left the batteries in so he could get a chance when he begun (Teachout 61) According to Teachout, in the world of rap it is the destiny of women to be picked u , casually fornicated with, and left behind by their men (61) Truly sexist and demeaning against women, rap and hip-hop music is still sadly encouraged and glamorized by fans around the country simply because of the artist and the beats, not the song lyrics.
The youths are easily influenced by rap and hip-hop artists. Average middle-class listeners usually teenagers, are among those who listen to these artists. Those who listen to this kind of genre become quite aggressive. whether black or white, rap music is a landscape too alien for anything but discomfort, that rap is loud, aggressive and often obscene (Teachout 60) Most teenagers and children involve themselves in random acts of violent acts so they can follow the footsteps of their favorite rap or hip-hop artist. The reason why teens and children are more liable to commit crimes is because of the lyrics that is accompanied by the cool beats that rap and hip-hop music entails, which tends to be motivational . This motivational effect is attractive to the teenagers whose minds are easily swayed by propaganda and fleeting appeals of immediate gratification. Teenagers are often those whose sense of morality is ambiguous; thus, they commit cries without the accompanying sense of guilt. Many teens and children dont even know that the music itself is affecting their lives, for example, their was of thinking and their actions.
Every New Yorker who reads the papers knows that the teenagers who allegedly raped and brutalized a woman jogger in Central Park last year entertained themselves after their arrest by collectively chanting the lyrics to Wild Thing, a popular record by long time Los Angeles rapper Tone-Loc (Teachout 60)
According to Aldrige, the second justification for rhetorical study is that there are signs that rap moves audiences to action. Critics of the music argue that rap lyrics in which advocate actually produce violence by members of the audience. Violence promotes the importance of lyrics in a rap song. Regardless of whether or not the rappers actually prompt others to do violence, the perceptions that the words have the power to motivate action justifies further study (Aldrige et al. 105-6). Teens and children posses the idea of Monkey see, monkey do because they believe that if their favorite artist is doing something, whether violent or not, they will do the act regardless.
As said in the earlier paragraph, children adorn their favorite rap or hip-hop artists as their idols and follow along in their footsteps. Teenagers and children become heavily attached to the artists beliefs pressed in their minds apply it to their own lives and may end up doing or copying the same the same violent act mentioned or influenced by the artist. Some examples of cultural aspects that rappers have influenced upon children is the rap and hip-hop clothing fashion. The rap and hip-hop culture is superficially categorized by performers with droopy pants, hats to the back, lacesless sneakers, hoods, and loud radios (Krohn and Suazo 139) This is how teens and children are exposing themselves in society today to express their own individual culture.
Misogyny. A strong and negative word meaning hatred toward women, especially by a man. Misogyny is a serious problem in todays society because of all the negative influence it has generated among our youth. Misogyny is another form of violence. It is the most common and very well known and included in almost every rap and hip-hop artists lyrics.
Rap and hip-hop artists often create lyrics that degrade women by using sexual remarks such as offending name-calling and derogatory sexual innuendoes, which promote women as sex objects. By using misogynistic lyrics, rappers convey women as their bitch or whore meaning that the women is their toy and that the artist has power over his possessions. According to Ronin Ro. Often these artists refer their partners as bitches and whores and they appear to take pride in describing their abuse of power in sexual situations (142-3). By this example, it is clearly shown that rappers extremely desire the need for power. And the only way they can get that power is by the way they choose to express their sexual desires through their lyrics. Rappers basically use women for sex. Through the rappers eye, women are nothing but helpless human beings with no brains and just a body.
Gang violence is a most common problem in urban city streets across the nation. It is a known fact that a large portion of gang violence is rape among women. These lyrics are derogatory sexual innuendoes viewed by many as promoting gang rape. (Ro 143) Gang rape is a serious problem today and is vastly growing. The reason why gangs are motivated to do these actions is because they want a sense of power, much like rappers. Their goal is to get as much pleasure out of women to earn and feel that sense of power. By calling women derogatory names, rappers and gangsters can feel the power over the women because they believe that calling women derogatory names brings the a sense of domination and more manlyhood. A former gangster rap group called N.W.A (Niggaz with Attitude) express extreme gang violence in their lyrics regarding rape This is the bitch that did the whole crew, She did it so much we made bets on who the ho would love to go throughAnd she lets you videotape her, and if you got a gang of niggers the bitchll let you rape her.
(qtd in Ro 143) Women are not only raped violently by men, but are also physically abused. As quoted in on of Dr. Dres lyrics If your bitches talks s***, I have to put the smack down (qtd in Holmes 63) there have been countless reports of abuse to women in hotels, homes, and even in public places.
Most often, rappers take pride in describing their abuse of power in sexual situations in their rap and hip-hop songs. As for women, they have no truly significant roles in the lyrics. They are simply used and abused such as describing in Dr. Dres popular song Nuttin but a G Thang in which he raps before you hit on the bitch you have to find a contraceptive, you never know she could be learning her manand at the same time burning her man (qtd in Sexton 62). This is a clear example of how men treat women as sex objects and they try to bring forth an image that all women are just looking for sex.
If you though that song lyrics are bad, the song titles are just as worse. Most song titles are very extreme and have deeper meanings to it. For example Dr.Dres hit son Let Me Ride,: has two connotations: the first refers to sexual encounter and the second refers to the sexual act of intercourse. Snoop Doggy Dogs album Doggystyle refers to the sexual act of having sex through the rear entry position. Finally, K7s Come Baby Come, incorporates a catchy chorus line saying I come baby come, baby baby, come come if ya gotta give me loving then youve gottta give me some (qtd in Sexton 64) which basically refers to the sexual act.
It is surprising that music can have such an impact on American society today. The truth is that rap and hip-hop music not only affects teenagers and children that commit violence, but also affects those victims who suffer from the violent acts, Violence and Misogyny is a very serious problem that Americans face today and in order to create peace in our city streets, we must set guidelines to what our children should or should not hear.
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