Since its creation (in the 1970s in New York), hip hop has been accused of many things. One of the accusations was that it instigates at violence, promiscuity, misogyny and alcohol and drug use. Are the accusers right? It is true that many of the hip hop and rap artists promote an unreal image of successful male, desired by all women, who drives an expensive car, dresses in extravagant clothes and wears gold and platinum jewelry. Naked women and alcohol are a must in the hip hop videos. Or maybe it’s the other way around: the hip hopers talk in their songs about poverty and living on streets, but they are in fact very rich, which may seem like hypocrisy. What we must not forget, however, is that hip hop and rap music was created in ghettos by poor Afro-Americans. It is normal that the songs talked about ghetto life and poverty. Even if today’s hip hopers have changed, the message of the music has remained the same.

About the other accusations, it is true that hip hop and rap music is not very educational. The rappers talk about weapons, alcohol and drugs in a positive way. Teenagers could be influenced by such words. But that leads to another question: should hip-hop music, and music in general, be moralizing? The artists are free to express their message to the public, but the public is also free to listen to their music or not. It would not be fair to prohibit a genre of music because the lyrics can be promiscuous. After all, the teenagers can hear the same words and expressions at school or at the corner of the street.

Hip-hop and rap fans argue that that hip hop is the expression of a world which may seem tough, but is nevertheless real. To change the lyrics of the songs in order to eliminate the accusations of immorality would mean to fake the reality that you are trying to show. Therefore, people who don’t like hip hop music should simply not listen to it. Similarly, if they don’t want their children to be negatively influenced by rap music, they should forbid them to buy the records. Most hip-hop CDs include a warning about the content of the lyrics.

But do all hip hop songs talk about drug and violence? An example of rappers who don’t promote violence in their songs would be the French band Manau, who talk in their songs about old Breton habits (“Le tribu de Dana”). Another would be Mook E., from Israel, who preaches peace and tolerance in his songs. Famous rappers such as Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five or Public Enemy used hip hop and rap for social purposes, to protest against certain social realities.

In the end, it is always a question of perspective. Hip hop and rap has its admirers and its despisers, like any other kind of music. What makes hip-hop different from other genres of music is the culture that has evolved around it, including breakdancing and graffiti. The conclusion is that we should all try to be more tolerant. If you don’t like rap, it’s OK, but don’t believe that all the persons who like it are would-be gangsters and uneducated persons. You might be surprised to learn the truth.

By: Ken Wilson

About the Author:

Perhaps no other genre of music (except rock) has risen as many controversies as hip hop music. Although there are people who say rap promotes violence and promiscuity, hip hop and rap remain popular music genres, not only in the USA, but also in the whole world.

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Posted in Hip Hop by: Hip Hop Diva

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