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Posted on March 19th, 2013, by

There is much debate on the influence of music industries on the level of violence in the society. There is even more disputes on rap videos, not lyrics. Jennifer Copley, for instance, states that after watching rap videos (no matter violent or nonviolent) young subjects become more inclined to show materialistic views and “favor potentially acquiring possessions through crime, as well as holding more negative views on the likelihood of succeeding through academic pursuits.”¯ In other words, rap music promote a definite style of life, while it looks easy and cool to spit upon education, morality and other human values, and to acquire success and popularity through crime and abuse. In fact, when the content of hip hop songs is investigated, it is found that apart from a great amount of texts on drugs, violence and misogyny, there is a good deal of socially and politically conscious songs, but when disregard is activated, the latter are often ignored by mainstream critics. As Hess (47) points out, the seed of hip hop “grew into a huge tree with many branches and leaves. There is too much focus on one side of the tree (the violent) and not enough diversity to do justice to the whole concept of hip hop as manifestation of diversity. Music industries are to blame for this situation, because they do not seek originality.”¯ The wide-spread belief that the cause of social issues of teen violence has been directly rooted from music industries is exaggerated. However, studying the psychological effects of rap music, Jennifer Copley (3) found out that overall the very listening to rap music does not cause aggressive or deviant behavior.

Hip hop and marketing
A separate issue is such phenomenon as cooperation of hip hop and advertisement. Undisclosed product placement deals are argued to lead to the disputes on many products within hip hop music and culture. Hip hop singers use the names of brands in their songs, and are either paid for that or are in turn promoted by well-known companies. For example, in 2005 there was a deal between rappers and McDonalds. Russell Simmons organized promotion of Courvoisier brand among hip hop fans, and then the song “Pass the Courvoisier”¯ recorded by Busta Rhymes appeared. The list of products provoking associations with hip hop was filled by cats, clothes, sneakers, and even jewelry: Sean Combs, Lil Kim and Nas became the clients of Jacob Arabo. The disturbing thing is when it goes, for example, about alcohol advertisement. Hip hop culture dictates certain style of life, and alcohol becomes a natural part of it. What is more, in comparison with other genres rap and hip hop songs mention illicit drugs much more often. Marketing through hip hop has been thoroughly studied by Jim Gogek. In his article “Rap listeners prone to alcohol, drugs, violence”¯ he states that young people listening to hip hop are more likely to face problems with alcohol, drugs and violence, than those who listen to other genres. To verify the statement, there was a survey among above 1,000 community college students. They proved the consistent association between rap music and alcohol use. On the one hand, it is proved that both hip hop music and artists are used in commercial and advertisement for alcohol product, hence promoting alcohol abuse among young people. On the other hand, the authors have revealed that young people who tend to use alcohol or illicit drugs or to be aggressive may be drawn to particular music styles. So, there may be a reverse correlation between youth problems and music styles. The other question is ethics. The advertising legislation protects children from being used in the advertisement of products not meant for childhood. Unfortunately, it does not provide the same level of protection for adolescents who are sometimes even more vulnerable and easy to become the victims of marketing. The association of high-class and easy life becomes associated with the products seen on TV and everywhere in the streets, shops and so on, and the unconscious youth makes the conclusion that it is impossible to become respected by peers without drinking and smoking marijuana. These traits are everywhere, even in the cartoons, and they are often going nip and tuck with hip hop. But in reality that is not a good reason to lay a rush accusation. It is not difficult to imagine that if we get rid of hip hop culture, we won’t get rid of all the other negative phenomena of up-to-date society.

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