An essay on Gangsta rap

Published under category: Writing Ideas | 2015-05-16 21:48:06 UTC

Context: Music: Hip Hop

Below is a research paper on a genre of music that has become common for instructors to request from students. You can buy an essay on gangsta rap from this custom writing service. Other genres are available too. Introduction Gangsta rap is a music that evolved in the 1990s out of hip hop that had started in the 1970s. Gangsta rap as sub-genre of hip hop has drawn a lot of controversy due to the type of lyrics that are used by the artists. The lyrics mainly concern the gang culture, sexual promiscuity, distaste for authority figures, inner-city violence and sexual promiscuity. Gangsta rap has, therefore, come under scrutiny for the way it affects the lives of American people especially the youth. As will be discussed in this paper, gangsta rap has both positive and negative impacts on the society. What is gangsta rap? According to Kubrin, gangsta rap emerged in the early 1990s, and it constitutes one of the most controversial types of rap music (360). Gangsta rap is recognized worldwide due to its misogynistic, homophobic and vivid sexist lyrics, as well as its violent portrayal of urban life in American ghettos. It stems from the early depictions of hustler lifestyle in black exploitation movies that were popular in the 1970s (Keyes, 4). In the movies, blacks were glorified as criminals, pushers, pimps, gangsters and prostitutes. Gangsta rap is linked to the West Coast. It is regarded to have emerged out of the street wars and gang culture of Compton, South Central Los Angeles and Long beach (Perkins, 18). Gangsta rap relays the life experiences of the rappers, since its earlier pioneers were gang members. The lyrics of the music are a portrayal of the ghetto life that the early rappers experienced. Gangsta rap differs from earlier forms of rap in the sense that the earlier forms were characterized as politically afro-centric and more socially conscious (Keyes, 88). The peculiarity of gangsta rap persists today since it is a form of music that expresses ghettocentricity. It allows the black youth to interpret their culture in various ways. Unlike other forms of rap that chronicled the black experience, gangsta rap is typically an expression of the black underclass survival in the punishing ghettos. The modern gangsta rap has evolved to provide the urban street life through violence and crime. Positive impacts of gangsta rap Despite the association of gangsta rap with crime, violence, drug abuse and misogyny, it provides a sense of identity to the youth. In the earlier forms of gangsta rap, the artists promoted a sense of united black youth through singing music that portrayed thug life. However, the current gangsta rap has evolved a bit, and it now represents a sense of camaraderie and pride among the rappers and fans. It is a form of music that provides people, especially the youth, with a common way of dressing and thinking. A philosophical point of view reveals that gangsta rap has evolved from the earlier forms of hardcore rap that were popular in the 1970s. It appears in some instances as violent in nature, though it is simply an expression of the urban life. It expresses the ambition of people to have control over the violent nature of the environment. It gives tips on how people should handle a certain persona. The rappers, through their lyrics and videos, teach people on the way to live in a violent atmosphere (Perkins, 56). The music emphasizes that people need to take control of their personal lives to care adequately for themselves. The rappers in gangsta rap uphold that money and power are the key ingredients for taking care of one’s own interests. Gangsta music is popular with today with both the white and black youth because of the anti-establishment and rebellious message that it seems to portray. The messages are characteristic of the rebellious nature of the black people during the times of slavery and racial profiling. However, the message has evolved to portray people who are not easily pushed around by other people. Gangsta rap, therefore, is a portrayal of the way of life in America, and what the youth need to do today in order to earn respect. Gangsta rap has resulted in the promotion of dialogue. The gangsta music highlights the social injustices that take place in the society. It, therefore, creates a platform for the youth to engage state institutions in addressing inequalities and social injustices (Kubrin, 362). The music carries the message of the violence against the black youth that is meted out by the police, racial profiling and unequal education, housing and employment opportunities. In some cases, the messages brought out by gangsta rap have been taken up by civil societies to challenge the government to act. In the world today, the gangsta rap music has greatly evolved to become a form of entertainment. They are focusing more on dancing and having fun. The music has, therefore, turned on glamorizing material things like vehicles, alcohol and clothes among other things. This is not with an aim of encouraging the youth to engage in antisocial behavior. They are simply trying to portray a youthful life of extravagance, where recognition is gained through owning the best things in the world. In some way, they are sending a message to the youth that for them to be independent; they must work hard to earn good things that the world offers. Just like other forms of music, gangsta rap has evolved to not only tackle problems faced by the black community, but also as a form of entertainment for the youth. Rappers should not be entirely viewed as moralists since their main aim is to entertain people (Kubrin, 365). Besides, the youth are able to learn from the mistakes that the rappers make in order to become better people. It also worth noting that most gangsta rappers are young men that have been raised in humble homes. The rappers take advantage of the rapping talent and the creativity that they possess to earn a living through producing music. A number of recording studios have been established to cater for the growing talent of the gangsta rappers. The lives of the youth living in ghettos have revolutionized due to their talent in rap music. The youth do not necessarily sing about violence and crime; there are artists who have sung songs on love, for example, NB Rudaz. Negative impacts of gangsta rap On the negative side, gangsta rap has been the subject of criticism due to the explicit lyrics and the imagery that they use, which often point out to physical violence and serious crimes that include drive-by shootings, sexual assaults and drug abuse. Gangsta rap music has violent lyrics and violent themes that can lead to priming of other violent thoughts among the youth. According to research carried out, exposure to violent behavior through music has a psychological impact on the listener or viewer (Flischoff, 797). The effects vary from the viewer being desensitized actual acts of violence, acquiring aggressive behavior to developing a fear of victimization. Teens that have been exposed to violent gangsta rap are often ready to engage in violent activities. Besides, the youth that have been exposed to violence often express the support of acquiring wealth through violent means. In summary, most studies have established that exposure to violent lyrics can lead to portrayal of aggressive behavior ( Flischoff, 801). Most blacks have, therefore, become associated with violence as expressed in the gangsta rap that they love to listen to. Gangsta rap is a form of music that encourages misogyny since it objectifies women in the rap videos, lyrics and album covers. Many rap artists employ use of derogative words when talking about women in their music. These include artists like Eminem and Niggers with Attitude (N.W.A.). Women as used in the gangsta rap music appear to be only good for sex. A good example of a song that objectifies women is “Treat her like a prostitute” that was sung by Slick Rick in 1988 (Conrad, Dixon and Zhang, 146). The lyrics used in the rap music subjugate, devalue or objectify black women by using subordinating or insulting words such “whore,” “bitch” and “skeezer.” Scholars have researched the rap lyrics in relation to the environment of use, and have found out that this is a way in which the black men use to release their aggression. They see black women as the convenient targets for their insulting words. Use of misogynist themes in music has profound psychological effects. Music, which is laden with insulting words on black women, result in an unfavorable evaluation of women. Such lyrics also promote sexually aggressive behavior towards women. Researchers have also established that women who are exposed to videos and music that have women in sexually subordinating roles readily accept violence towards women than women who have not been exposed to such videos (Conrad, Dixon and Zhang, 142). Gangsta rap results in increased use of drugs amongst the youth. The videos exemplify the use of drugs by portraying the artists as appearing cool when partaking to the drugs. The videos show the rappers take bhang, cigarettes and other hard drugs that are harmful to human health. However, in the music videos and the lyrics, they are exemplified as good things that are worth taking. The videos also promoted involvement in drug dealing as a way of making a living. Drug dealing is portrayed as a means to an end if the society does not provide other job opportunities. An album that is known for openly promoting the use of marijuana is known as “The Chronic,” which was produced by Dr. Dre in 1992 (Caldwell, 17). Conclusion Gangsta rap has both positive and negative effects to the society. Interpretation of the impact of the music will mostly depend on which side of the divide one stands for. Positively, the music is used to promote identity, dialogue, for entertainment and as a way of making a living. In the negative sense, gangsta music promotes violence, misogyny and abuse and selling of drugs. The society can, therefore, benefit from gangsta music and at the same time experience negative outcomes depending on how people embrace the music. References Caldwell, David. “Affiliating with Rap Music: Political Rap or Gangsta Rap.” Novitas Royale 2.1 (2008): 13-27. Conrad, Kate, Travis Dixon and Yuanyuan Zhang. “Controversial Rap Themes, Gender Portrayals and Skin Tone Distortion: A Content Analysis of Rap Music Videos.” Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 53.1 (2009): 134-156. Fischoff, Stuart. “Gangsta Rap and a Murder in Bakersfield.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 29.4 (1999): 795-805. Keyes, Cheryl. Rap Music and Street Consciousness. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. Kubrin, Charis. “Gangstas, Thugs and Hustlas: Identity and the Code of the Street in Rap Music.” Social Problems 52.3 (2005): 360-378. Perkins, William Eric. Droppin’ Science: Critical Essays on Rap Music and Hip hop Culture. Philadelphia: Temple Press University, 1996. ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER


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