Hip Hop and Gangsta Rap Negatively Affects Today's Youth

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Is Hip Hop and Gangsta Rap Negatively Affecting Today’s Youth? Rap music has been around since the 1970’s. People have questioned why it has only recently gotten such bad publicity. Denise Herd did a study on rap and hip hop music to determine if the lyrics in rap music have increasingly gotten worse in promoting sexism and violence. In her study she “examined 130 platinum (rap) albums with 430 songs released from 1992 to 2002 using Anderson’s conceptualization of ‘the street code’ and found that violence was the central theme of the lyrics along with wealth, violent retaliation, nihilism, and objectification of women.” (Herd p395) She also took songs from the 1970’s and discovered “that despite the stereotypes, violence is not the central focus of rap” (Herd p396). Between 1979 and 1984 only 24 per cent of rap songs mentioned violence, between 1985 and 1989 it rose to 32 per cent and between 1994 and 1997 it rose to 60 per cent. Herd’s studies made it evident that rap music has increasingly gotten worse. Nathan McCall who served nearly three years in jail for armed Robbery and now works for The Washington Post stated “We're going to take away the market value of these attacks on our person. Anyone black or white who makes money calling our women bitches or our people niggers will have to face our indignation” (Suggs p3). It’s an indignity that people are making money for putting such negative media out by which today’s youth is being influenced. One could argue that other genres of music also have songs that could be considered degrading towards women and have hints of sexism. However, these genres of music aren’t so hateful and foul that radio stations ban them from their play lists. In this day and age music in general is becoming more and more promiscuous. However, it seems that hip-hop and gangster rap has gotten so offensive in its hatred, violence, and objectification towards women that it’s

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become harmful for both young men and women to listen to. It is apparent that this type of music has become the most worrisome to parents and society alike. It could be considered common knowledge that music of the younger generations has always been scrutinized by older generations. In the 1950’s and 60’s it was Elvis Presley and his gyrating pelvis that was a concern for parents. Today it’s the young singers wearing next to nothing and dancing around in such a provocative manner that make Presley’s gyrating hips seem like no big deal at all. Parents, whether from the 50’s or 2000’s have never been thrilled about the music that their children have chosen to listen to. That doesn’t make songs by artists such as Eminem or Ludicrous any less offensive. Not to say that all hip hop and rap negatively affects its listeners. There are plenty of hip hop and rap artists around that are still trying to send a positive message to their followers. TLC is a good example. They record songs encouraging women to be strong and independent. However, as Donald Suggs states, “There are plenty of rap lyrics that, while hardly my cup of tea, deal with things that are important to young people. Even songs about violence and sexuality are not necessarily offensive. But the direction is wrong. The songs that glorify violence and loveless sex -- and that quite consciously degrade women -- seem to be driving the less offensive material out of circulation" (Suggs p3). It seems as though gangsta rap, with its sexist and violent lyrics, is becoming the “cooler” thing to listen to, and the more respectable stuff is considered “lame.” It’s disturbing to think that the music that kids in the up and coming generations may be listening to could be even worse than it is today. Rap and hip-hop music have been blamed by many for encouraging early sexual behavior, leading to teen pregnancies, and the spread of venereal diseases, because of their particular emphasis on sex and demeaning depictions of women. Dr. Steven Martino, who led the...
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