RAP- A MISUNDERSTOOD ART FORM
The reality is that rap music is greatly misunderstood. The media often portrays rap music as negative and focuses on rap music more when it is related to something undesirable. Many media stories identify rap music as a catalyst in problems such as teen pregnancy, crime or some other negative social issue that existed long before rap music became prevalent. The truth of the matter is that there is rap music that is positive and can serve the purpose of improving social consciousness by increasing awareness of some of the issues that many residents of our nation’s inner cities face. Just because a rap artist speaks of less than desirable subjects in his or her music does not mean that they intend to corrupt the minds of the audience. Rap music is entertainment and should not be treated any differently than any other form of entertainment out there. The bottom line is that all rap music is not degenerate and consideration should be taken when analyzing the message that the music is presenting.
One of these positive effects is that it has been used as a great unifier of diverse populations around the world. It started as a subculture among African American communities in America but it is now a phenomenon of global culture. As a matter of fact, it isn't only restricted to African American communities, as non black communities comprise seventy five percent of the global hip hop audience. The fact that hip hop has crossed the cultural divide demonstrates its ability to unify millions of youth worldwide. This is reminiscent of a time when rock music was on everyone’s lips globally. The growth of the hip hop culture is prominent in the urban street style of dressing copied from hip hop artistes. The characteristic features of this style are baggy pants, caps worn backwards as well as expensive sneakers, which gives teenagers a sense of identity.
Hip hop has been vital in promoting social and political awareness among the youth of today. Rap music educates people from several different perspectives and raises many social issues. Rap is channel for people to speak freely about their view on political or social issues and by doing so, it engages teenagers to become concerned and aware of these issues. This is important in making the youth aware of the world around them and the conditions they face in society, enabling individuals to discuss ways in which they can make a positive change within society. A few of the issues that hip hop has created awareness in are racial discrimination, individuality and the importance of education and believing in your dreams. Hip hop also is a reflection of the soul and mind, and is a solace for both the artists and listeners who may be struggling with the same issues. Music in general brings people together, but the youth of today can relate to the struggle and difficulties that most rappers talk about. Since the release of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" in 1982, rap music has adopted a more political tone. Rap music, more than any other genre, has alerted both private and public citizens of the plight of the lower classes in urban areas among other issues. Some rappers are known for their controversial lyrics can often bring attention to greater issues.
Through education and understanding, rap music has spurred social awareness in communities around the country. Rap music has served as a tool to speak out against negative aspects of life such as violence and guns. Many artists use their musical talents to promote peace and anti-violent acts. By communicating messages about violence and discrimination, and relating to youth people, it provides an opportunity for them to make positive changes in their own life. Rappers such as the late Tupac Shakur were often criticized for their lyrics, which painted a bleak picture of urban America. While such lyrics were perhaps partially intended to shock consumers, they also brought awareness to the country's social problems, particularly those in the inner city. Issues such as violence, drug addiction and poverty are all common themes in rap music. When someone listens to the genre, he may be doing so for entertainment, but he won't be able to avoid hearing about these issues and giving thought to them.
There is some rap music that is created with the intention of sending a positive message to its audience. There are songs that denounce violence and call for more peace and togetherness in the inner city in an attempt to improve the quality of life. One great example of a rap song that sends this message is entitled “Self Destruction” and performed by the East Coast All Stars. Now for you Hip-Hop historians, I know that this goes back quite some time, but it is one of the best examples of the positive influence of rap music. A group of independent rap artists got together to make this song because they were aware of the great power and influence that they have with their music and were attempting to use that influence to make a positive change. This project served two very important purposes because it did not only create awareness of the inner city’s problems with violence, but it also showed that rappers could be socially conscious and make music that was positive.
About the author
I am a writer. I love fiction but also I'm a watcher of the world. I like to put things in perspective not only for myself but for other people. It's the best outlet to express myself. I am an advocate for individualism and Free Speech.