Rap is often copycatted by young people in today’s society. The artist, songs, and videos are viewed as a means of success in our culture among teens/young adults.
In the current generation, there are a lot of kids that aspire to be rappers, mostly because they think that is the easiest way to escape their environment. They believe that going to school, getting an education, and then obtaining a job or career is not as glamorous as the hip hop lifestyle. For youth in poor communities, the lyrics speak to their current reality and dreams of escape. They are attracted to what they hear on the radio or see on social media.
The imitators of rap/hip hop cause some people to feel afraid of the hip hop generation due to the lyrics and what they represent. Because of the media stereotype and what they have heard about many rappers and the rap game, certain Americans fear they are potentially harmful to society. The U.S. media wants people to be inspired by a right-wing Donald Trump with his millions from real estate, rather than a rapper with millions from their music, who they would consider left wing.
Rap music is on the rise, and it seems to be a creative outlet for teens/young adults to express themselves or fit in with their peers. The positive side is the millions that are generated by the distribution of the music, but the flipside would be the drugs, violence, and lifestyle. In reality, this music can be very destructive to young people. In many rap songs and videos, rappers flaunt their money. When teens/young adults see all the money that rappers are showcasing and talking about in their music, they flock to them and are eager to become just like them.
The rap/hip-hop culture is boldly inclusive because it reaches across racial lines attracting blacks and whites, whether they are rich or poor. Rappers use a lot of profanity and slang in their songs, which teens pick up quickly. The use of poor language skills is hurting many in today’s society because they use slang during job interviews and formal settings. Inadequate communication skills can hurt their chances of gaining employment because they are unable to communicate effectively with the person interviewing them. Furthermore, many of the songs contain sexual connotations, abusive, and inappropriate lyrics that can have an adverse impact on the attitudes and behaviors of teens/young adults.
The question becomes, is this the fault of youth or is it the content that the music contains that causes problems? According to the media, it is both. Teens/young adults have a choice to mimic the rappers, and the rappers have a choice of which style of music they want to produce. Musicians can sell music that contains violence, or they can choose to promote nonviolence.
Not all rap music is bad; some rap can encourage positive behavior in teens. However, the negative effects seem to outweigh the positive effects. We can see some of the undesirable effects, by the way, youth behave, dress, and live. This lifestyle can destroy young people very quickly, and we as a society must come up with positive outlets and solutions to help save the teens and steer them in the right direction.
By Jarvis Phillips
Edited by Cathy Milne
LIVESTRONG: What Influence and Effects Does Rap Music Have on Teens Today?
Rense: The Effects Of Violent Music Content On Teens
The New York Times: Under The Influence Of Music?
Image Courtesy of Andrew Mager’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License