Hip hop culture

To be honest, the negative affects of hip hop are often overestimated, and become the subject of racial injustice, because for many whites only hearing black voices is often a signal to tune out and to reject the style on the whole. However, today there is an alarming sales decline which comes from the growing criticism. The matter is, this criticism is growing already among the African American communities themselves, because now they tend to think that today hip hop production is creating a false image of their identity, discredits their representatives and brings more harm than use to those who listen to hip hop music. It is even more disturbing as criticism comes not from conservatives, but already from youth. There was a study conducted by the Black Youth Project, and it was found out that a great number of youth think there is too much violence in hip hop. In addition, a half of Black American respondents who participated in the poll by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices in 2010 admitted that hip hop was a negative force in American society. African Americans tend to say that hip hop no more speaks to or for them. Images being adopted by black youth are regarded as a source of sufferings for the black community. What is more, today it is typical for rappers to boast about murdering foes and to rhyme about consuming and spreading of drugs in such a free and natural manner as if they sang about love. Still, David Banner, one of the famous today rappers, claims that criticism is out of place and that most singers are just reflecting the important problems of the communities. What is more, hip hop is said to be the kind of music America wants to hear. In reality, those singers who pay more attention to more positive or harmless sides of black life (Talib Kweli, Common and Lupe Fiasco) are simply obscured by gangsta rap. Conscious singers on the contrary show political activism and apply to the problems of urban light, poverty, gang violence, racism, drug, authoritarianism, and global issues, not to cultivate them, but to do away with them by rising awareness. As Jennifer Copley cites, there were studies which showed how the students even improved their academic abilities after watching rap videos. Politically focused videos made them express even more progressive views and attitudes. And as for suicidal motives, there has been no link revealed between listening to rap or hip hop music and being inclined to suicidal ideation. Moreover, those students who listened to nonviolent rap songs revealed even more depressive symptoms than their peers listening to violent rap songs. It may indicate that violent music to a certain extent can even be useful for listeners, while it helps to release some negative energy through associating oneself with the singer and through the relief coming from aggressive tones.

All points considered there is much to bother about when it comes to the content of contemporary hip hop and rap songs. Being highly popular especially among adolescents, they become a source of enormous influence on their flexible and unstable minds and thus can present a threat for their behavioral stereotypes and further life choices. If to weigh all pros and cons presented in scholar research, surveys and particular studies, one inevitably should make the conclusion that there is no direct correlation between the preferences in music and being inclined to drug abuse or criminal activity. Nevertheless, the harmful effect of misogynous lyrics in hip hop and rap songs has been proved and verified. The findings of many studies have provided the evidence of cognitive distortions and sexually aggressive behavior caused by aggressive music. Apart from that, increased acceptance of violence and aggressive behavior is now more associated with sexist or violent rap videos rather than with lyrics or music itself. Hence, public concern is not difficult to understand, as some genres in modern music, as well as in other forms of art, are sometimes too outright and explicit, but it is a feature of all the postmodern era on the whole. Hip hop singers really often sing against capitalism and express anti-establishment moods, which cannot please power and sounds like a threat to social peace, but that is not a problem of music, that is the problem of all the society with its vices and sores leading to such moods among broad masses of population. The question of censorship is always provocative and controversial, but it is important to know the limit and to keep balance, even in critique. Finally, it has been proved that it is not a certain kind of music that causes behavioral troubles, drug addiction or sexual abuse, but rather youth who are already at risk of those problems are more likely to prefer heavy or rap music.

Works Cited
Barongan, C., and Nagayama Hall, G.C. “The influence of misogynous rap music on sexual aggression against women.” Psychology of women quarterly 19 (1995): 195-207.
Binder, Amy. “Constructing Racial Rhetoric: Media Depictions of Harm in Heavy Metal and Rap Music.” American Sociological Review 58.6 (1993): 753-767.
Copley, Jennifer. “Rap Music’s psychological effects: Research in to mood, behaviour, crime, violence and gender relations.” Psychology 8 May 2008: 1-3.
Gogek, Jim. “Rap listeners prone to alcohol, drugs, violence.” Prevention research center. 17 Apr. 2006. Web.
Henry, Wilma J., West, Nicole M., and Jackson, Andrea. “Hip hop influence on the identity development of black female college students”. Journal of College Student Development 51.3 (2010): 237-251.
Hess, Mickey. Icons of hip hop: an encyclopedia of the movement, music, and culture. United States: Greenwood press, 2007.
Morgan, Marcyliena H. The real hip hop: battling for knowledge, power, and respect in the LA underground. United States: Keystone Typesetting, Inc., 2009.
Martinez, Theresa A. “Popular Culture as Oppositional Culture: Rap as Resistance.” Sociological Perspectives 40.2 (1997): 265-286.
Tropeano, Eliana. “Does rap or rock music provoke violent behavior?” Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research. 1 (2006): 31-33.


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