Rap Is Crap
"She ain't nuttin but a hoochie mama Smackin' on your lips, put your hands on your hips She ain't nuttin but a hoochie mama Oh I love those big brown eyes and the way you shake your thighs, acting like you're so damn cute..." Rap music with lyrics like this play on the radio and in home stereos every day. Rap music pounds messages of sex and violence into the minds of young adults leaving behind their sexist and repetitive influential messages. Music has a very powerful influence on our emotions, moods, and behavior. Rap music influences teenagers negatively by increasing violent attitudes and promoting sexual aggression against women.
Very few people would argue the power of music. Mothers use it to rock their babies to sleep. Patriotic hymns can be used at rallies to evoke strong emotions of nationalism. Ballads have been used to incite rebellion. Some governments have viewed music so powerful that they ban it. In white dominated South Africa, centers of African music were destroyed and western music was declared forbidden in China during the Cultural Revolution.
Is music powerful enough to incite antisocial and violent behavior? According Johnson, Jackson and Gatto's study on the deleterious effects of exposure to rap music, subjects in the violent exposure conditions (rap music) expressed greater acceptance of violence. Subjects in the violent exposure condition also reported a higher probability that they would engage in violence (Johnson). Music plays an important role in teenagers' lies and listening to violent rap music promotes violent behavior. According to Gardstrom, rap music is the predominant music choice amongst male felony offenders ages 12 to 17 (Gardstrom). If rap music doesn't directly cause violent behavior, it certainly is the music of choice for those who engage in it.
As well as violent behavior in general, misogynous rap music, with inappropriate slang terms, promotes sexual aggression against women. Barongan and Hall's study suggests that music that promotes hatred towards women facilitates sexually aggressive behavior (Barongan). In several rap songs, the artists promote the use of alcohol and drugs to sexually assault women, viewing them as "walking sex." The songs focus on the sexual attributes of women, stereotyping them as objects instead of individuals.
"Fear of rap and its messages may relate more to fears of the black community than the actual nature of the lyrics or music."(Power of Music). It is hypothesized that rap lyrics, such as Ice T's "Cop Killer," receive more negative criticism than other white lyrics, such as Eric Clapton's "I Shot the Sheriff," because of their association with the black culture. This argument of racism is ridiculous. Clapton's song is about a gun that discharges in a case of self-defense, while Ice-T's song relates to the deliberate killing of cops at random. Which one advertises indiscriminate violence? When teenagers are listening to rap music on the radio, they don't see black or white. Not all rappers are black. Eminem, Beastie Boys, and Vanilla Ice are recognized white rappers. Racism is a convenient excuse to ignore the destructive nature of rap music.
Rap music is a causative agent in violent behavior and sexual aggression against women. Music is a powerful tool and music plays an important part in a teenager's life. The rapper's music becomes a tool that promotes violence and sexual stereotyping amongst its teenage audience. It's easy to say that fear of rap music is racially motivated, but it is clearly not the case. Rap is crap. It adds fuel to violent tendencies and has the power to increase sexually aggressive behavior.