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The Negative Portrayal Of Women In Hip Hop And Rap Music

1645 words - 7 pages

Doug E. Fresh, a popular beat-boxer in rap music today, has been quoted saying, “Hip-hop is supposed to uplift and create, to educate people on a larger level and to make a change.” Although this is the original intention of hip-hop music, public opinion currently holds the opposite view. Since the 1970’s musical artists have changed the face of hip-hop and rap and worldwide, people – mostly teens—have been striving to emulate certain artists and their lyrics, which has created negative stereotypes for hip-hop music and also for those who choose to listen to it. With vulgar lyrics referencing drugs, alcohol, sex, and aggression, it’s no wonder these stereotypes exist. However, is music really the direct cause of how teens act, or could their behavior possibly be the result of music that taps into the emotional feelings of those who listen to it? Could it be peer pressure and the fact that with technology today it has become harder to regulate what teens listen to? When analyzing these questions, it has become apparent, not only why people listen to music, but how it affects each and every person, possibly resulting in inappropriate lifestyle choices.
Hip-hop music hasn’t always had a bad reputation attached to it; it actually had positive beginnings. DJ Kool Herc was the first to lay the building blocks of hip hop in 1973 in the South Bronx (Swanson). Unlike the situation in today’s society, hip-hop music was a cry against oppression and a way to let out built up anger while trying to move away from gang violence in inner-city neighborhoods. Once hip-hop began to gain popularity, break dancing competitions replaced violent gang fights. Even then, this genre of music seemed to influence those who heard it, but in a different way from its influence today. Now, unfortunately, hip-hop musicians do not care if their songs give a positive message or not, just as long as their songs become popular and sell (Tanner). Musicians may feel that the only way to increase sales is to make their lyrics as graphic as possible. It seems as though the lyrics to songs are giving permission to listeners to do wrong and immoral things (Tanner). As stated in the article “How Much Are Violent Lyrics to Blame?” by Emily Tanner, “Music is important in today’s society and when music becomes corrupt in its meaning then society may in turn become corrupt and immoral.”
The corruptness of music today seems to be linked to the crude language and aggression found particularly in hip-hop and rap music. Some rap artists use vulgar language in their lyrics that are easily adoptable by teens (Holden). Not only have certain lyrics influenced the way teens speak but also their actions. An article on Headliners.org stated that “lyrics in the music are too violent and are to blame for many problems.” The problems range anywhere from suicide and aggression towards women to underage drinking and drug use. Lyrics are not only to blame, but...

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