The Negative Effects of Hip-Hop
English 101April 8, 2013Professor Stayton MWF 9:00 am
From the beats to the lyrics, the current generation of youth is engrossed in hip-hop culture, tending to idolize the artist behind the songs. Since the 1970s, hip-hop has influenced American culture tremendously. In the past, hip-hop held a central focus around inequality, empowerment and overcoming hardships. Today, hip-hop talks more about sex, money, a male dominant social standing, and drugs. Hip-hop, from then to now, has drifted to the darker side of the social spectrum. The majority of today’s youth were subconsciously thrust into a time when the darkness of hip-hop was nearing its climax. Young African American males in today’s generation are the primary recipients of and most attentive audience to the negativity hip-hop portrays. Hip-hop’s inflammatory and controversial lyrics are a major influence in the general behavior of young black men. The lyrics spoken and images shown highlight negative stereotypes that are now commonly associated with black men. The young black men who grew up without a positive male influence often tend to look to the males in hip-hop as primary role models. Hip-hop today says that males have to flaunt their masculinity, do drugs, get women, or be in a gang in order to be a man. Today’s idea of hip-hop negatively affects young black men in the way they dress, communicate, and act toward others. In the hip-hop industry, Americans generally see the common stereotype of rap artists wearing baggy pants, durags, oversized shirts, and having a materialistic mentality. The main reason youth imitate the attire of these rappers is because they see the artists surrounded by money and women. The naiveté of young black men allows them to have the mentality that copying this style of dress will reward them in money and women; but, that is a misconception. As an effect, society looks down upon males who dress in hip-hop attire because it is considered unprofessional dress. A recognized characteristic of hip-hop attire is sagging; the wearing pants below the waist, revealing much of the underwear. When a person of color chooses to sag his pants, he inadvertently represents all people of color; emphasizing the stereotype. Taj Madhoo is a 21-year-old college student who has been affected by the negative connotations associated with sagging pants. Madhoo said, “I remember going to a post office and the associate behind the window telling me I wouldn’t walk like that if I pulled my pants up. But in reality, I had on sweatpants that were tied very tight and were on my waist(Miller).” The situation Madhoo describes shows that some people assume that just because one is a young man of color, he must be sagging his pants. Madhoo continued by saying, “I don’t sag my pants because I don’t think it looks good and when I see people doing it, I feel they don’t care about their appearance and what they represent(Miller).” Sagging pants does not portray a positive look, but what they represent to different people is the biggest factor. When asked about what she thinks of when seeing sagging pants, Lorna Neil said, “When I see people sagging their pants, they honestly look like criminals to me, like they are up to no good(Miller).” Neil did not say why she holds such a mentality, but perhaps it has some relation to the prison origin of sagging pants. Hip-hop is one of the main reasons that sagging pants have not yet gone out of style. It is unfortunately a style celebrated by several artists, some of whom been in prison, and is a statement of rebellion that is proudly championed in their music. Kanye West, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Lil Wayne are all important figures in hip-hop culture and, at some point, having all sagged their pants. When impressionable young men see these images of the men they idolize, they think it is acceptable to do, and overlook the negative reactions associated with it. The view...
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