Brent Staples “How Hip Hop Music Lost Its Way and Betrayed Its Fan”

Brent Staples in his article called How Hip Hop Music Lost Its Way and Betrayed Its Fan is concerned with themes of contemporary rap music. He states that violence and cruelty advertised by modern rap artists has a negative impact on the listeners of this music. Modern rap music results in the growth of violence, murders and drug abuse.

Dangerous myths about the black race are popularized among young people. The most poisonous one defines middle-class normalcy and achievement as white, while embracing violence, illiteracy and drug dealing as authentically black (Staples, 157).

Latest tendencies of rap music narrow its themes to hatred and violence. This music shows negative attitude towards normalcy, presented by the white middle class, contrasting black youth to other social classes and races. Brent Staples pays the readers’ attention to the fact that rap music contrasts black people who listen to this music to the rest of the world and describes this world as hostile and dangerous.

This tendency gets stronger with the flow of time and we can now speak about the gangster war, inspired by the rap music, which culminated in the 1990s. Staples gives different facts which support his statement about gender war and violence proclaimed by rap music. Gangster wars of the 1990s resulted in the murder of two biggest stars of the rap music Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. These loud murders are only the tip of the iceberg. This gangster war results in many deaths and popularization of violence.

Shootout at a New York radio station, Hot 97, which took place earlier in spring, vividly illustrates how murders and violence are used as means to popularize rap music. The events that led up to the shooting show how recording labels now exploit violence to make and sell recordings (Staples, 157). Shootout happened at the same time when Mr. Curtis Jackson III, famous as a former drug dealer and rap musician was releasing his disk Massacre. The shooting happen after Jackson’s interview at the radio station. A picture of the disk, depicting Mr. Jackson with guns and other weapons very vividly illustrates the themes of his music. The photographs in the liner notes depict every ghetto stereotype – the artist selling drugs, the artist in a gunfight – and includes a mock autopsy report that has been seen as a covert threat aimed at some of his critics (Staples, 157). The type of promotion used by Curtis Jackson shows the easiest way for the new artists to gain popularity and loud name. New rap artists often choose this way in order to become popular.

New ideology, promoted by the rap musicians make drugs, murder and fights a normal thing. Young people, who form their outlook from the things they listen to in these songs, start believe that things mentioned above are normal. As the trend escalates, inner-city listeners who are already at risk of dying prematurely are being fed a toxic diet of rap cuts that glorify murder and make it seem perfectly normal to spend your life in prison (Staples 157).

The author of the article states that ideology of rap music is based on violence and cruelty. Rap musicians gradually create such a perception of rap music and then pay effort in order to correspond to their own ideals. Young peopl, who listen to this music perceive things described there as normal and use them as a guideline in their further life.

Critics turn to example of Jimmy Iovine who earned millions of dollars on gangster rap music in the 1990s.

Dr. Dre, one of the most popular and influential people in rap music, is famous for financing different rap projects which proclaim violence. Dr. Dre is a co-founder of Death Row Records. This recording studio defined the face of rap music in the 1990s. Music produced in this studio is marking an accent of violence. The Death Row Records controlled most of the rap music production of the 1990s and, thus, defined the themes of this music.

The author is also concerned about the financing bloodsheds, aiming to advertise rap music and its artists. Financial killings become normal in this business and there is a threat that popular rap star Eminem can become a new victim.

His producers put much effort in providing safety for Eminem. This example vividly illustrates how rap starts become the victims of the lifestyle which they advertise. As states the author, promoters will need to make heavy use of metal detectors to suppress the kind of gun-related violence that gangster artists celebrate. That this lethal genre of art has grown speaks volumes about the industry’s greed and lack of self-control (Staples, 157). Rap music becomes not a piece of art, but a means to project violence and cruel attitude among people. It has negative impact on the development of youngsters. Rap music, as it is nowadays, can not be accepted by the society.

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