Contemporary Music and the Effects It Has on Youth
In a book written on Abraham Lincoln, the author states, "Who writes the Nation’s songs shapes the nation’s souls." (1) This statement is true. A quick look back at the music of the 1960's and 70's and the effects it had on society proves the statement. The question then arises, how does contemporary music effect modern society? More importantly how does it effect the most easily influenced group, the youth?
There is no doubt that much of the popular music in 90’s culture has a negative message. The rise of rap, especially gangster rap and the continual popularity of heavy metal are major contributors to the negative message. The message in turn has a very negative effect on children. The language and actions described in this music gives kids a false perception of what the world is truly like. It also portrays to them that the actions are socially acceptable or good.
Youths of the present have a much more difficult path to adulthood then the youth of the past. On a regular basis they are subjected to violence, drugs, and sex. Often times they are faced with making a decision for or against one of these vices. The majority of children will do what they think people they look up to will do. Often times the people they look up to are celebrities in music who send out a negative message. These celebrities often glorify sexism, violence, and drug use.
2-Live Crew was one of the first controversial rap groups to integrate itself into the public eye. Their lyrics, which are tame by today’sstandards, are sexually explicit and objectify women. "Their lyrics not only fail to satirize the myth of the hypersexual black, they also commit the moral blunder of sexualizing the victimization of women." (2) 2-Live Crew was not, however the sole purveyor of this message. Other widely popular groups such as NWA and Guns n’ Rosesinclude similar sexually explicit lyrics in their albums. These lyrics are not only held within male music either. Many female rappers, like B.W.P., and hard rock groups, like Hole, only reiterate the sexual message that the male groups sing about. They too have objectified women as only being good for one thing, sex. Millions and millions of copies of their albums are bought by American youth. There is no doubt that kids are hearing what the artists are saying.
Another major issue that has been brought about by popular music is the issue of violence. Especially in the rap industry, violence is a major topic in lyrics. With the rise of gangster rap, violence in music has become a mainstay. One of the first gangster rap groups was NWA. They were one of the first to explore the integration of violence into the music. Their lyrics talk about killing people from other gangs, disregarding police authority and raping women. Their message is one of extreme violence. Songs such as "F*** The Police" and "Straight out of Compton" have been the subject of much controversy. "F*** the...