I disagree with the notion that all rap music is bad and promotes negative things. I have personally benefitted from the healing effects that rap bars have on people and I can attest to the fact that all rap music is not about sex, drugs, crime, and violence. If a rapper’s lyrics are about any of those topics without offering any degree of substance, they are classified as a subpar rapper, or what I like to call a bad rapper. Their names will not be mentioned. They do not need the free publicity.
The rap industry has a name for these rappers, too. Many impolite names in fact, but “hype beast” is one of them. These rappers are “flavor of the month” variety of losers who throw out whatever junk that will make them a quick buck. Real rappers with high merits clown on them in their songs all the time.
For the uninitiated, rap music is a medium for freedom of expression that is very relatable at times. Lyrics are often controversial in nature, such as violence, but are used often to drive the point home. A lot of the time, rappers speak of violence in their songs to reflect on the struggles that they have endured. This in turn brings light to the horrible situations that go on around us. It is a medium of activism rather than a medium of gratuitous violence when used right.
Rap has always been a subculture, so it is not expected to accommodate everyone. It serves its purpose for those who define themselves differently than the kids who listen to Taylor Swift all day and go to private school with a privileged background.
One thing to keep in mind rap perspective is that if they lived the same white picket-fence life as other people, perhaps their lyrics wouldn’t come off as harsh to those that do.
Rap is a much needed spice of life when it comes to adding variety to the music industry. The world needs more Chance the Rappers and less Miley Cyrus clones.
Watch Chance The Rapper kill it with “Blessings” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:
For anyone who can’t handle rap’s contents, there are warning labels:
“The PAL Mark is used to help parents recognize when inappropriate content may be present, and is applied when an artist and record company agree that there is musical and artistic credibility in a piece of recorded work even if the lyrics may be too explicit for mainstream distribution.” (RIAA, 2016)
We are all aware of the labels on most albums known as Parental advisory. This is a very necessary label which warns the consumer of explicit lyrics. Where most songs promote peace, love, happiness, and tranquility, and sunshine, rap music depicts stories of struggle, hardships, chaos, and unfair circumstances. That alone should be toxic enough for kids to stay away from in my opinion. Not everything is made for kids and parents should really take this label into serious consideration before they blame rap music for ruining their children’s innocence.
Although we shouldn’t hold rap accountable for the way the express their lyricism, we should be more adequate about how we want people to perceive rap culture:
“One reason it is particularly important to study media representations of numerical minorities is that White people often live in rather segregated neighborhoods and don’t always have much racially diverse contact. If you don’t have many face-to-face interactions with people who are different from you, you may rely more heavily on stories that mass media tell you about who members of other groups are. “ (Dill, 2009, p.182)
It is true. Anyone who does not share a rap culture background or is not African-America descent might take the lyricism that rappers dish out as the only objective way that people pertaining to that culture behave.
“The results of one survey of 2760 14- to 16-year-olds in 10 different southeastern cities showed that that they listened to music an average of 40 hours per week.” (Klein , Brown , Childers , Olivera, Porter, Dykers, 1993 p.1) That shows potential for a large child demographic which will be greatly affected by rap artists who refuse to change their ways.
To all rappers: It is your job to depict yourselves in a more positive way so you are not put in that category. The people outside of our subculture have no other point of reference most of the time. That is why in 2016, it is a rapper’s job to change such a negative image. Those are the ones that go remembered.
Rappers who sing about little else besides drugs, sex, and violence do not share the spotlight for long with rappers like:
Chance The Rapper
or other well-known artists who have gone against the grain. These rappers drive a more positive narrative and do not spout off unintelligible lyrics for a quick buck.
Isaiah Rashad explains to his fans how you don’t need money to feel happiness and sunshine with his lyrics :
What can you take away from such revered positive rappers?
Respect in the hip-hop industry is defined by a lot more than making it big. You also have to have every sensibility that the world needs and not come off too much as a blatant run-of-the-mill thug. Good rappers are distinguished as heroes, game changers, and life savers. Bad rappers are only distinct because they only have a few hits before being quickly forgotten.
I plead to the rap community to push for a better agenda. The same overplayed, strictly drugs, sex, and violence content is what is killing the rap industry as we speak. Don’t be a bad rapper. You’ll end up a has-been before you know it.
1.The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) (2016) Web. Resources and Learning. “How it works” from http://www.riaa.com/resources-learning/parental-advisory-label/
2.Klein JD, Brown JD, Childers KW, Olivera J, Porter C, Dykers, C.(1993;92)American Academy of Pediatrics. Impact of Music Lyrics and Music Videos on Children and Youth Adolescents’ risky behavior and mass media use. p.1. Pediatrics. Web. from
3. Dill, Karen E. (2009). When Fantasy Becomes Reality.p.182. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.