The United Lake of America: Did We Make the Splash or Did Rap Make the Ripple?

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The United Lake of America: Did We Make the Splash or Did Rap Make the Ripple?

Though many have protested that “gangsta rap” is to blame for its influence in the violence, female discrimination and violent behavior that take place throughout America, others argue that it is simply the other way around, implying that the artist is influenced by his own personal experience of being a part of and/or bearing witness to violence, drugs and crime that have taken place around him thus influencing him to express himself through lyric and rhyme becoming “gangsta rap”. This leaves us to question does gangsta rap music encourage violence or does violence influence what the artist raps about? One author argues that “gangsta rap” is at fault. In her essay “Thug Culture Is a Cancer Destroying Black America”, Cynthia Tucker claims that “This ‘so-called’ music and the lifestyle it glorifies is a malignancy destroying black America”(327). Tucker makes a reference to rapper Clifford Harris Jr. (aka T.I.) in her essay, high-lighting his arrests for his continued involvement in illegal activities after having already been given a second chance from the criminal justice system (326-327). Tucker continues to reveal that even after launching a highly successful career, Harris still continued to possess illegal firearms and was also involved in a gun battle following an argument between T.I.’s entourage and unknown locals— which ended in tragedy with the death of his best friend who was shot and killed— making the implication that entertainers, like T.I., depict their success through the glorification of violence and crime in their lives and their music, thus encouraging the idea that this kind of life style is approved (327). So, if a rapper’s lifestyle and experience is depicted through his music, then wouldn’t that mean that it is life and his own choices that influence what he chooses to rap about? This creates the counter claim that life in America or life in general, is what...
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