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The Negative Impact of Rap Music on Today's Youth

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The Negative Impact of Rap Music on Today's Youth

Today's rap music has changed dramatically since the 1970's. Rap music has become the most popular type of music in the U.S. Rap music can give people entertainment and can also tell a story in someone's life. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, rap music is defined as, "a style of music associated with urban street gangs and characterized by violent, tough talking, often misogynistic lyrics" (Miffin, 2000). Rap music was formed in the mid-1970 among the youth in South Bronx and rap artists like, "Afrika Bambata, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash. Do to the enormous popularity of Run DMC; rap had crossed over on the music charts and radio stations all over the world" (Toms, 2006, p1). Rap music was about having fun, being able to express what youth were feeling and a way to keep youth out of trouble. There are many youth that find rap music an exceptional source of entertainment. According to McGarrell, "the lyrics in rap music can leave one relaxed or with vibrant beats." However, rap music has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Some would say that rap music is the common entertainment to blame for violence in today's youth, because of the contents in its lyrics; degrading videos to women; and the over exposed feuding between rap artists.

"The glorification of living a thug life, and all it is encompassed, became the means by which all rap artists were judged. By the 1990's rap artists like, DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Curtis Blow and Biz Markie were no longer accepted in the rap music" (Toms, 2006, p1). Those rap artists were considered as roll models, because those rap artists relayed positive messages to their listeners (Toms, 2006, p1). "The majority of today's rap culture involves a lot of explicit material and negativities" (McGarrell). According to McGarrell, This new form of rap music glorifies big money, degrading of women, drugs, alcohol, and guns. Many rap artist lyrics are explicit and degrading to women, while rap artist might be expressing what they have seen or the everyday struggles in life. In regard, rap artists are sending out a negative message to youth.

Among the many youth and negative lyrics in rap music, rap artists remain an influence on youth education. Many youth are starting to come up without a decent education, because youth are dropping out of school to pursue a rap careers (Toms, 2006, p2). Youth want to become rap artist, so they can live a thug lifestyle, in order to have the lavish women, expensive cars, and money. Communities, generation and legacies are suffering because of the negative visualizations that producers and record companies are promoting to rap artist, along with BET and MTV broadcasting their videos (Toms, 2006, p2).

"With the exceptions, there are extremely a good number of children that value, the importance of a good education. Multiple Grammy award winner, Lauren Hill of "The Fugees" was an "A" student during her high school tenure. Roxanne Shante, a rap artist from the 80's, went on to become a doctor, and RaeKwon, of the Wu-Tang Clan, became a master chef! However, that stats on children who drop out, sell drugs or end up in prison, is grossly disproportionate to the number of success stories out there (Toms, 2006, p2).

There is a dire need of more rap artist like Lauren Hill, Roxanne Shante, and RaeKwon that are supporters of education. If more rap artists would stress the importance of a good education, fewer children would drop out of school, leaving them with the pressures of society. According to Toms, "the record company executives aren't interested in educating children. They are interested in sales and profit," (2006). Most importantly rap music, should be serve as an educational tool for youth in America. Kirchheimer stated that, "this is not the first time that rebellious music has been blamed for society's ills. From Elvis to Columbine, the songs of music obsessed youth have often been clamed for anti-social behavior," (2003). With the negativity of music, music have played a roll in two separate incidents that have involved youth acting out, because of the explicit lyrics they are hearing. "The first incident was a 16 year old junior high school student in Moses Lake, who shot his algebra teacher, after watching a video of a rock band. The second incident involved two teenage Columbine students, that went on a shooting spree after listening to Marylin Mason's music, that left twelve teachers and students dead and twenty one others injured in the attack" (McGarrell).

The lyrics and video's in rap music focus on sexism, money, and drugs. A concern many have is the way rap artist express themselves about women and the glorification they have in women. "What people should take into account is the fact that we now live in a visual era and kids are affected by visual images more than anything else" (Toms, 2006, p2). In videos, rap artist parade half naked women around wearing barley anything, fabulous cars, and expensive jewelry. However, many young female youth want to be like the women in the videos.

According to a study that was done by researcher Ralph J DiClemente, PhD, of Emory University's Rollins Schools of Public Health, On 522 black teens between the ages of 14 to 18 that are exposed to rap videos at least 14 hours a week were far more likely to practice destructive behaviors. Over the course of one year, the teens were three times more likely to hit a teacher, over 2.5 times more likely to get arrested, twice as likely have multiple sexual partners, and 1.5 times to contact a sexually transmitted disease, use drugs, or drink alcohol (Kirchheimer, 2003). Susan Buttross who was not involved in DiClemente study, states that her committee, AAP's on public education, "is currently updating its 2001 policy statement that found 75% of music videos involved sexual imagery, and more than half involved violence, usually against women" (Kirchheimer, 2003).

With the overwhelming movement of rap music there are many youth looking up to rap artist as Role models. Youth are even starting to have the gangster look, like baggy pants, backward hats, chains and jewelry. It appears anyone can make plenty of money in the rap industry, as so often projected, they are going to take a shot at it. Moreover, if their attempts to get a record deal never materialize, they may decide to take it to the next level by becoming a drug dealer or by getting into the drug game in order to live the lavish life style that is so often projected in music videos. What they do not realize is that today's rap stars might be tomorrow's



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