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Rap/Hip-Hop: The Effects on Today’s Youth
Brenda L. Williams-Capers
Columbia Southern University
English Composition II
Professor Dana Taylor
December 11, 2011

Abstract
Rap/Hip-Hop first became popular among African American and Latinos among youth in the streets of New York during the 1970’s. It was their way of expressing themselves in a friendly manner in the form of speech, fashion, and personal style. Rap/Hip-Hop music was a way for them to get their message out, by telling stories of their lifestyles. However, over the years Rap/Hip-Hop music has become much more popular for its explicit lyrics, reference of drugs, alcohol and sexual explicit videos. Many may ask “Could Rap/Hip-Hop music have a negative influence on today’s youth, because of its unhealthy messages”? This research paper will examine the effects of rap/hip-hop music on today’s youth and whether or not it has a negative influence.

Brenda L. Williams-Capers
Professor Dana Taylor
English Composition II
December 11, 2011

Over the year’s many researchers have conducted studies on the effects of rap/hip-hop on today’s youth. The results have been mixed; however there are indications that some forms of Rap/Hip-Hop music could have negative influence on today’s youth. This is due to the fact that youth start to adapt the negative aspects of the gangster rap, by displaying aggressive behaviors and committing crimes of violence. Rap gets a bad rap because some songs contain explicit lyrics, drugs, alcohol and sex. A study conducted by Ralph J. DiClemente (2003) indicated that teen girls who spend more than 14 hours per week watching the sex and violence depicted in the “reel” life of “gangster” rap music videos are more likely to practice these behaviors in real life. Also, this study suggested that those teens were also three times more likely to hit a teacher, over 2.5 times more likely to get arrested, twice as likely to have multiple sexual partners, and 1.5 times more likely to get a sexually transmitted disease, use drugs, or drink alcohol. This is an indication that today’s youth that listen to these songs over and over again for long period of times could have behavior and aggressive issues.

Tanner (2009) indicated that there is a sense of injustice that rap is often said to involve young people with the police and courts. The study also indicates that youth who listen to rap music have a stronger connection to property crimes than the crimes of violence, and the likelihood of committing those crimes are probably increased by poverty rather than listening to rap/hip-hop music.

In a radio broadcast, Ed. Gordon (2006) mentioned two studies which addressed the effect that rap music has on today’s youth. The first study conducted by The Prevention Research Center of the Pacific instituted for Research and Evaluation in Berkeley, Calif., indicated that rap songs were linked to alcohol addictions, drug use, and violence among youth. Also, a study conducted by The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, Georgetown University, also suggested that youths are exposure to alcohol thought targeted marketing advertising for beer and ale by 66 percent for youth between the age of 12-20 and 81 percent market exposure to distilled spirits. Nearly two-thirds of rap songs mentioned illicit drugs and nearly half of rap songs mentioned alcohol compared to other types of music. The overexposure to alcohol was connected to cognacs and brandies, both which are linked lyrics in hip-hop and rap music, which rappers glorify and advertise in their songs. Rap music is also used to advertise clothing, sneakers, and cars. Rappers are walking billboards and today’s youth want that same swagger.

Cited in The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter (2003), a study was conducted by a group of researchers from Iowa State University and The Texas Department of Human Services who examined over 500 students who had listened to...
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