A Q-Methodological Study of Attitudes towards Rap Music
The aim of this research is to investigate attitudes towards rap music using Q-Methodology. Previous research shows varied findings, some suggesting that rap music can cause deviant behaviour and some suggesting that rap music can be beneficial. The method to investigate attitudes in this research involved asking participants to mark their level of agreement on different statements about rap music on a scale from -4 to 4. The data was then interpreted using a Q-Methodology computer program. The findings suggest that although there is no evidence to claim that rap music causes deviant behaviour, attitudes are greatly varied on how rap music affects society and youths, whether it be beneficial or not. Introduction
Rap music originated in the 1970s in the South Bronx area of New York City as a sub-genre of Hip Hop, eventually becoming one of the most popular music genres of our modern time. In general terms, rap music articulates personal and common experience in black urban America, usually how to gain local social respect and using catchy and memorable phrases. Rap music is thought to be essentially listened to by black and white youths. Media attention on rap music has claimed that this genre and culture of music promotes disrespect for authority, encourages disrespectful attitudes and violent behaviours towards women, promotes aggressive, violent and promiscuous behaviours and glorifies the usage of weapons such as guns and knives. The debate of whether this is true or not is ongoing, resulting in the conduction of worldwide research investigating the effects that listening to rap music has on individuals, groups and cultures as a whole, focusing largely on youths, considering how rap forms and holds specific attitudes. Does listening to rap music encourage aggressive and deviant behaviour? Or is the debate simply an exaggerated image of the media that has become out of hand? Research has found that young adults who watched violent rap music videos were more accepting of violence, especially against women, although contradicting research claimed that only rap music with misogynistic themes created negative and violent attitudes towards women. It has also been claimed that listening to rap music on its own does not cause accepting attitudes of crime and violence, rather viewing violent and sexist rap videos. Research on students has shown that listening to rap music did not increase suicidal thoughts or behaviours but did appear to indicate violent attitudes more than those who listened to heavy metal music regularly. It has been suggested that students who listen to rap music correlates with lower grades in education, although a study found that academic abilities and progressive attitudes were improved after watching rap videos in white students. A Journal of Research on African American Men examined the effects of rap music on attitudes and behaviour of black students. 38 females were interviewed and results suggested that the students believed explicit lyrics are inappropriate and harmful to society but also accurately represents relations between black males and females. Research has also been conducted in the University of Maryland School of Medicine investigating attitudes towards male-female relationships of those who are exposed to rap music videos. Participants viewed rap videos and completed surveys. It was found that it is largely believed that exposure to rap music videos is associated with negative attitudes towards women. The negative attitudes decreased when participants reported that they only watched the rap videos because their peers did, not because they personally enjoyed them. A study was carried out involving participants who were young males who had little previous exposure to rap music. Participants were split into two groups and were exposed to listening to rap music and reading rap lyrics. Neither group were found to hold...
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