Rap And Violence

Since the late 1980’s rap music has been called the Anti Christ
in our culture, because of it’s so-called influence in people’s life. People
swear up and down that the music is why people, specially the youth resort to
violent crimes. I think by saying this they are trying to cover up the real
truth by giving simple answers. Rap is defined as a style of popular music
consisting of improvised rhymes performed to a rhythmic accompaniment. The first
rap song was made in the late 70’s, the songs were seven to eight minutes long
and was mostly used in small clubs to dance to. It didn’t really become popular
until the early 80’s. Over the years it has become mainstream music, everyone is
listening to it. In the last four years rap made up 60% of music bought in
stores in the United States. In 1989 a local group called N.W.A.(Niggaz Wit
Attitudes) came from out of L.A. and changed rap, which was the start of Gangsta
Rap. In their lyrics they talked about crime, street violence and killing. Once
they were a huge hit, it caught on, and really that’s when all this madness
started. Everyone started rapping Gangsta style. More and more people started
rapping about police brutality and killing people and with that crime rose to
high levels. In my opinion it’s not the artists or the record company’s fault
that crime rose. It’s not their responsibility to look after every person who
listens to their music. In all these years of rap though there are three people
who took the most criticism from the public. Dr. Dre was one, after N.W.A. broke
up he went on to do his own thing, and after he released “The Chronic”
he became a star. He took rap to a higher level where it never been before and I
think that scared a lot of people. He was rapping about drive by’s, having sex
with hundreds of women, drinking alcohol all day and so on. By this time the
crime rate was sky high and a lot of people where looking for easy answers. It
was mostly those few who just didn’t like rap from the start that spoke out and
tried to ban it. Most rappers loved the style Dr. Dre created, and so they tried
to take the style and create something of their own. Along with Dr. Dre he
helped a rising star Snoop Doggy Dog to become a big star by guest staring on
his “The Chronic” album. Snoop released “Doggy Style” and it
was a hit. His style similar to Dr. Dre made it a hit. It was his best-selling
album to date. Congress tried every way they could to keep youth from listening
to this music because they felt it was making them commit crimes. Snoop was
charged not to long after his release for murder which he soon was found not
guilty. They made a label for CD’s and tapes that said “Parental Advisory
Explicit Lyrics” which actually in my opinion didn’t do too much. This way
parents could be aware of the type of music their kids listen to and could
choose if they would like to allow them to listen to it. If you sit down and
think about it, when you buy a CD you by it because you want to listen to it,
you don’t really pay attention to that little label. Besides you see little kids
no older then 11 walking around listening to Lil’ Kim, Tupac, and all other rap
artists cussing up a storm . . . what’s with that? Why didn’t the parents say
anything about that, they have control over their children, yet critics and
congress blame the rappers. The third man to take the most heat and who still
continues to is Tupac Shakur. They say he was the best rapper alive and the most
successful which I also believe is true. He has been in trouble with the law and
public since his first album to even now after his death. He was arrested for
numerous charges such as battery, attempted murder, and rape. In 1994 two
17-year-olds shot some police officers and said they did because they heard it
in Tupac’s music. Critics blamed him from the start with his to raunchy lyrics.

Why blame him he didn’t tell them to go shoot police officers? For the past
three years, C. Delores Tucker has been talking and protesting rap lyrics saying
that they are harmful to the spirit of black youth. She also filed a $10 million
dollar lawsuit against the estate of Tupac Shakur claiming that his songs
surrounding her in two songs on the 1996 album “All Eyez On Me” make
slander remarks. She went into a court and said that the pain she suffered from
those songs has affected her sex life with her husband. What kind of since does
that make? Just another person trying to bad mouth rap music for they’re own
personal gain. Congress says they are “concerned about children’s exposure
to music with adult content,” but really can’t do too much because they
have to respect the first amendment which says we have “Freedom of
Speech.” In two states they have announced plans to possibly ban minors
from attending concerts or buy things that could contain
“objectionable” materials. I’m not going to say that some youth won’t
listen to some rap music and get the wrong idea, but that also can happen with
other types of music such as Alternative music which artists like Hole, Marilyn
Manson, and the group Korn are big stars. If you notice Korn is the group that
the “Trench Coat Mafia” listened to before they decided to go shoot up
a school. In the beginning the president, and all other high profile people said
they should put a stop to all this music referring to Korn and Marilyn Manson.

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This was last year how many times have you heard about that now. Sen. Joe
Liebermann, and Raymond Kuntz, a Burlington, N.D., man said his 15-year-old son
killed himself after listening to the controversial rock group Marilyn Manson.

Bands like that are noted for explicit lyrics and concerts, how many times have
you heard about stopping them. They don’t put that much power in trying to ban
Rock or Alternative music, but will use all their energy to stop a form of music
that sells more then half of the United States music. John Woods, co-founder of
a grassroots anti-censorship organization said in a statement that most attacks
on the music industry are fueled by politicians and groups such as the Christian
Coalition and the American Family Association. Later he also said “Quite
simply, the federal government, state governments and local governments are very
skillfully using the controversy created by religious organizations in an effort
to completely render the First Amendment of the United States Constitution to be
a relic from the past in the interest of gaining greater control over society as
a whole.” I for one agree with that statement. Dave Marvin, a spokesman for
state Sen. Dale Shugars, said the Michigan Republican is working on a bill to be
sent to the state Legislature in July. The bill would fine site owners who
permit minors unless accompanied by an adult to attend concerts or buy music
that has offensive acts or speech. The manager of Pearl Jam, L-7, Rage Against
the Machine, and rappers like JayZ, Ice Cube, Master P, and Russell Simons
recently said that they will boycott any state that passes a law such as that.

“It’s up to the artists to provide a much-needed spine for the industry by
using their celebrities’ status to effectively draw the line in the sand to tell
the would-be censors to stuff it if they are offended because we have a First
Amendment guaranteeing our freedom of expression,” Woods said. One man they
asked off the street said “Why do I hate rap? Well I guess the number 1
reason I hate rap is the lack of talent that a rapper needs. All the music is
synthetic, made on machines. Another thing I don’t get about rap is that many
rappers use the “Gangsta rap” theme. Then when a rapper gets killed,
it’s a shock! They only rap about what they know! Yes, have someone murdered is
horrible, but if they rap about it and they say how they were brought up in it,
is it really a shock?” Lately a lot of questions have been asked to anyone
trying to take up for rap music. Does rap music promote violence? The most
common answer was yes, and the murder of Tupac Shakur and Notoruis B.I.G. proves
it. Those were some sad deaths but you can’t blame just rap alone for that
happening. Tupac didn’t kill Biggie, and Biggie didn’t kill Tupac some dumb
people who had nothing else to do did. When you think about it, doesn’t radio,
movies, and television promote violence also, so you can’t try to ban one thing
of violence and not another. There was another question that was Should rap
music be censored? Some answers were yes, but most were no. They couldn’t do it
anyway it would be against the first amendment. Another was Does rap music make
a positive contribution to society? No one answered that question but I think I
will. Yes it does, rap isn’t just a money making thing to me it not only helps
us relate to people who have gone through things we have, but it shows people
who don’t know the things that really goes on. Also rap artists don’t just make
albums and stay in there own worlds they also give lots of money to charities
and sponsor programs that help inner city youth so violence can stop between
young people. Does rap promote violence, gangs and drug use? Yes it does, but
there was violence, gangs, and drug use before rap even came along, so you can’t
pin that on rap, it’s something that has always been around and don’t see it
going anywhere. Is rap music degrading to women? In a way yes it is, I don’t
think any rapper would call there own mothers “bitches,” and
“hoes” but out of know where women rappers are coming out of their
shell and they are doing the same thing, So really everyone is degrading each
other so it balances out. You can’t blame rap for everything that goes on, I’m
thinking if they could find a way to blame rap for every death they would. Even
though they swear up and down that rap is like the worst thing, it has done a
lot for the music industry and youth in general. Before rap all kids knew was
that you had to know how to sing to become a big music star, but now for those
who actually have talent for rapping they can dream of becoming a rapper. You
would be surprised at how much more violence would be going on if rap wasn’t
here. Youth would be out in the street selling drugs and killing people all the
time, now half of them are working on demo tapes and their talent so they can
have a career of there own. Also rap helps out inner city youth so they can get
off the street and play sports and go to camp, it’s like for every bad thing you
say about how rap is bad and how it should be banned, there is another positive
thing that can get thrown right back into your face that would blow your mind
and actually make you want to say “hey rap is doing more for us then what
the public really tells us.” It would be the truth. You don’t ever hear
about how LL COOL J started a camp for youth in Brooklyn, or how Puff Daddy
donated 10 million dollars to Biggie’s children. No you hear about how someone
got shot and the killer was listening to Tupac right before he did it. People
it’s time to wake up, even though I can’t force you to change your mind on any
subject I’m hoping I gave you some type of information that will make you just
think before you speak about rap music.


Bibliography
Opposing Viewpoints: Culture Wars p. 143-154 Opposing Viewpoints: Censorship
p. 33-35 The Web Courier: Rap ; Hip Hop Comment: http://www.cs.fsu.edu:/80/projects/sp95sug/group1.4/russ.html
Censorship of Music by Politicians: http://sac.uky.edu/~ywkho0/politics.html
Music and Musicians