According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 2004, rap music is defined as a type of popular music in which the words of a song are not sung, but spoken in time to music with a steady beat. Rap music, like other genres, is a “localized form of cultural expression” (Bennett 1999aa, 77; 1999b). It also indicates that rap music is one of many genre of subcultures that expresses its view of the main culture through songs; In the United States, rap music is developed based on the real life experiences of dysfunctional youths, the African-American neighbourhoods and was “incubated in the black community’s house parties, public parks, housing projects, and local jams” (Powell (1991, 245; Rose 1994a).
Rap music is notoriously known for bringing negative influences on society because they promote insults, misogyny and violence, due to the popularity of gangster rap and political rap. The statement is supported by the extract below:
“At its best rap is a powerful indictment of racism, oppression, and violence that calls our attention to the crises of the inner cities and vividly describes the plight of Africans…At its worst, G-Rap is itself racist, sexist and glorifies violence, being little but a money vehicle that is part of the problem rather than the solution.”
(A Contested Terrain section, para. 8 &9)
The extract stated that rap music is the best way to indicate there are problems occurring in the inner cities, which are racism, oppression, and violence. Rap music also describes clearly the serious condition in the African-American society. On the other hand, rap music, especially gangsta rap ironically racist, despite its purpose of condemning racism. Rap music, the author argues, is gender biased and promoting violence, a music that brings lack of benefits other than being a money-making machine that is a piece of the problem rather than the countermeasure. The extract states that rap brings more harm than good, but before one could condemn rap music, one has to know the origin of the music itself.
It is a popular belief that rap originates from America by the African-Americans. The real origin, however, began in ancestral times in Africa by the “griots” The “griots” are a group of travellers who is specialised in poetry, music, and story-telling. The “griots” tells their stories orally, accompanied by simple musical instruments. Even today in parts of Africa, the “griots” play a major role in communication. The “talking” in the company of music is the elementary form of rap.
In addition, rap began in America with the slavery of African-Americans. The African-Americans would sing during their labour, with parts of the song were “call and answer” selections. “Call and answer” selections was led by a leader, with their subordinate replied the subsequent line. Rap music was later developed rapidly in the year 1978 by DJ Hollywood and DJ Kool Herc, when the duo felt the disco era was fading. It was then rap music began to spread...