Rap: More Than Words

December 9, 2011
By SwagMasta BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
SwagMasta BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

From Andre 3000 to Yelawolf, there is no scarcity of rappers in the music industry. Each of them has their own unique style, each of them trying to send a different message to their avid listeners. However, a few of the messages these artists send to the public are interpreted by some to be vulgar, and by others to be powerful and informative. Both sides do agree on one thing however. Each group accepts that the music, and lyrics of rappers such as Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, and Lil’ Wayne have a huge impact on our youth. But is this impact positive or negative?

The History of Rap

Rap can be traced all the way back to Africa, where griots, or West African storytellers, delivered stories rhythmically, over drums. However, rap did not become popular in mainstream media until the early 80’s. This period from 1979-1984 is known for its relatively simple lyrics and beats. At this point rap had not exploded, and the emphasis was not placed on lyrical technique, but simply on good times.

From the late 80’s to the mid 90’s rappers lyricism went through dramatic transformation. Emcee’s started connecting personal experiences and feelings to their
lyrics, making it true poetry. All of this developed the rap we know today.

The Pro’s of Rap

Rap is a great form of expression. Through their lyrics, rappers express their emotions and thoughts on a subject. In fact, the definition of lyric is: a song like outpouring of the poet’s emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

Quite a few rap lyrics inform audiences of circumstances the rapper has undergone, and how to prevent them.

Several rappers use their fame to give back to the communities that raised them. For example, New Orleans native Dwayne Carter, A.K.A Lil’ Wayne, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his hometown after the city was struck by Hurricane Katrina. Many other rappers have also used their wealth to start charities. In 2003, rapper/producer Kanye West founded the Kanye West Foundation, an organization focused on helping Latino and African American children stay in school and get a proper education through grade school, high school, and college.

The Con’s of Rap

Despite being informative and expressive, rap lyrics can also be extremely vulgar. This may make the listener feel uncomfortable, and restricts the potential audience.

Instead of rappers trying to alert their listener about potentially dangerous situations, the rapper’s lyrics often times endorse dangerous situations. Such as, murder, domestic violence, and gang affiliation.

Rap is certainly not for everyone, but at the same time it is not a genre that should be frowned upon or shunned. There are many positives and negatives of rap music. However, I believe nobody should control, or censor, the music we listen to, or anything else for that matter! The public cannot force anyone to stop listening to rap. Just like other rap enthusiasts and I can’t force the public to listen to rap. It is a form of expression similar to any form of music. No matter how many people disagree with the content one thing remains the same:


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