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Explicit Content in Rap Lyrics.

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Pat Gorres Explicit Content in Rap Lyrics All it takes is one push of a button on the car radio, and I am bombarded by lyrical images of murder, drug use, and the degradation of women. Another push of a button on the TV, and the same images flood the screen. This is not a bad day of news reports or R-rated movies; this is today's music. The creators of these lyrics are earning millions of dollars, topping the Billboard charts, and winning Grammies. USA Today reports that over 25% of teenagers stated if given only one genre of music, they would listen to hip-hop and rap. The overwhelming majority of these teenagers also claim that they know the lyrics to at least 75% of the songs they listen to. Like it or not, explicit hip-hop music has become one of the most prominent genres of music in youth America. So, if the youth are the future, then the influence of hip-hop is certainly a worthwhile topic to consider. This extended essay seeks to analyze hip-hop lyrics to answer the question: "What are the reasons for justifying explicit content such as drugs, sex, and violence in hip-hop lyrics?" ...read more.


Therefore, it isn't worth much to analyze the rhyme, similes, or metaphors, because their meanings are explicit and self-explanatory. However, rap can still be treated like literature by focusing on the artists of a certain period. Like any literary movement, the 1980s through today has been a period of "gangsta rap". The following are examples of artists and lyrics from this type of rap. One of the most controversial songs from the infamous group NWA is "**** the Police": "**** the police comin straight from the underground A young n**** got it bad cause I'm brown And not the other color so police think they have the authority to kill a minority **** that s***, cause I ain't the one for a punk m*********** with a badge and a gun to be beatin on, and thrown in jail We can go toe to toe in the middle of a cell..." (NWA, "**** the Police) One of 2pac's most controversial songs is "**** the World": "When I was comin up rough that wasn't even what you called it That's why I smoke **** now and run with alcoholics... ...read more.


Although rap music can be reckless or outrageous, it is still artistic and morally serious. Doherty feels that political critics such as Cheney, cannot properly criticize rap because they often do not know what they are talking about. If they haven't listened to it personally, then they do not know enough about it to criticize. (Doherty) Kevin Powell responds to critics who say that rap music glamorizes, fosters, and promotes violence and hate. Gangsta rap arose as a response to poverty, ghettos, materialism, single mothers, and immorality. These issues existed before rap, and did not come as a result of it. (McLune) Many rap enthusiasts feel that rap functions as a voice for a community without access to the mainstream media. They also feel that rap serves to create self pride, self help, and self improvement by communicating a sense of black history "that is absent from other forms of other American institutions"(Nieliwodski) People who defend the gangsta rap argue that no matter who is listening to the music, the rap's are justified because they accurately portray life in inner city America. (Nieliwodski) Being a rap enthusiast myself, I agree with people such as Doherty and Powell who defend the music. However, I also agree with many of the arguments that critics make against rap. Gorres 1 ...read more.

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