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Rap Music: The Power of Influence

Brian Seay Staff Writer
Published 01-20-06
Graphic By: Jen Hight
There is no middle ground between truth and falsehood.

Ninety percent of rappers are totally contributing to the degeneration and humiliation of black society. Why is rap humiliating black society? Rap is musical entertainment, but its image has become a way of life for some African-Americans. By wearing doo-rags (there is nothing wrong with doo-rags, but the first things people relate them to are thugs. Don't get me wrong: doo-rags are the shiznit!), sagging our pants and speaking unintelligently, do we not realize that when people see this on the streets, they want to cross to the other side because they think we are going to rob them? And then we sit there and wonder why we are called offensive names and are being classified as thugs. (This does not condone the horrible and unspeakable name-calling.) Yes, I'm also speaking of rappers too, because they try to portray the thug life.

I'm African-American, and what I see in the rap video is not what I personify in real life. Sure, I like rap and hip-hop, but I don't try to live the life. Some, not all, black people are influenced by rap, and I think we perpetuate a stereotype by acting out what we see in rap videos. But can rap really influence people? We have the power to do and not to do what we want. Why is it that if you don't act thuggishly and like a bad boy, you are then called “white”? Black people can't be intelligent?

We have lived through persecution for years from slavery to the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s. Do we really need to act ignorantly when throughout history we have been known as stupid, ignorant people?

Rap is a genre of music just like country, rock, pop and the oldies, but its influences go beyond the music and create a negative image for an entire race. As I said before, there is no middle ground between the truth and falsehood. In society there are external problems that are from a race, not an individual. Rap influences an increase in drug addiction, gangs, drive-by shootings and other heinous acts associated with the black community. Rap isn't the cause of the chaos in society; it's the people who are influenced by it who are the cause of the chaos. Influence is powerful and can spread like wildfire. If one person becomes influenced by something, chances are another will too.

When black people apply for jobs and do not get them, the first thing that comes out of our mouths is, "It's because of white people this . . . and white people that." We pull the race card. It's ludicrous--no pun intended. It's not because of white people that black people do not get jobs. It could be the way we present ourselves or the way we talk. If you come in for a job interview wearing baggy pants, chains and a doo-rag, you will definitely not get the job. If you speak incorrectly you will not get the job, especially if the job requires communication between people -- and all jobs require communication. So before we point and accuse a difference race of discrimination, we must look at ourselves and wonder, "What have I done to be in this position?" We should stop pulling the race card and analyze ourselves.

Society judges you on the way that you present yourself, and I'm not talking about jobs now. I'm talking about people we see on the streets each and every day. Let's conduct an experiment. Now, we have two young African-American men, and they both enter a store. The first man wears baggy pants and a doo-rag. The moment he enters the store, the white clerk watches him. The clerk has a suspicion he will steal something. The second black man does not wear baggy pants and a doo-rag. The clerk doesn't watch him.

Why is that? Because of the rap influence brings suspicion into the real world. What I mean by that is this: if you dress like a thug, you will be looked at as a thug.

Rap is an awesome genre of music, but it shouldn't influence a person. Influence is the key to the destruction of the world. Influence is all about the mind, and it's how you think that determines your actions in the world.

You can choose to deny and not believe what I say, but truth is reality, and the outcome is what happens in society. One outcome is that we are complaining and blaming whites because of our actions. Are we pulling the race card when there is no evidence of racism? Racism can not be justified.


This is Brian's first year working on the Whim, so give him some slack!

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No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

So, the lesson here is, if you are black and you want to rob someone or steal stuff, dress like Brian Erskine and talk with a British accent. You'll be the last one they suspect.
No Subject
Posted by David

This article addresses an important concern. Maybe you could follow it up with an article attempting to understand why the violent, materialistic, "money, cash, hoes" rappers are the ones who make it to the top, and feed the stereotype of hip hop as a violent, misogynistic genre of music, and the hip hop groups who are more culturally and spiritually aware (and whose songs have some depth of subject matter) are extensively overlooked by the world of commercial music and MTV.
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

Maybe rap music REFLECTS the way things are instead of causing them to be that way? This is not to say that kids who aren't part of the culture don't mimic rappers (e.g., 17 year old white kids driving their mom's BMW), but wouldn't it make more sense to try to fix the problem instead of trying to change the music? If you change rap music, the problem still exists.
No Subject
Posted by Ray

Ahh, it's finally here. Brian, you did a good job. I wouldn't go so far as to say rap is "awesome," but I understand your point. Some of it is creative, and I certainly couldn't do it. I'm surprised you didn't make reference to Curtis Jackson's (Fifty Cent) movie.

Speaking of movies, over break I watch the movie Crash. I'm not sure if you have ever seen it, but I highly recommend it. It deals with how racism effects people's lives, yada yada yada. Well, I bring this up because in the beginning of the movie Sandra Bullock is walking with Brendan Fraser and approaches Christopher Bridges (Ludacris) and another black man. Instinctively, she grabs hold of Brendan Fraser and says she is cold or something to that effect. Then Christopher Bridges goes off on a tyraid about how that in an affluent white neighborhood, why does she have the right to be scared; if anyone were to be scared of the situation, it would be the two black people walking because they are the ones out of their environment, according to him. Anyways, he ends up carjacking them. You feel bad for this guy because he is being stereotyped by this white woman, but lo and behold, he ends up putting a gun in her face. I dont know if the point of the movie was the same as how I saw it, but I understand it to go right in line with the third comment made by anonymus. You need to change the culture. If you change the image of rap, that isnt enough. Too little too late sort of idea. But then again, maybe that is your point. If you can get the people who these children idolize to no longer say its cool to do drugs, slap hookers, and the other crap they spout out, then maybe that is how you will acheive reform.

All in all a really inciteful article. Good job.
oops
Posted by Ray

Forgot to close my tag apparently. Sorry
Hey Ray
Posted by Brian Seay

Yeah, I just used the word "awesome" just to be cool. You feel me, LOL!!
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader


No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

There's a lot of amazing hip hop, Ray, but since it's made by a black person it can't be good in your eyes. Penisface.
No Subject
Posted by Ray

Why do I always feel necessary to defend myself? Did I ever say because rap is done by black people, which it isnt always, it sucks? No. The majority of rap I dont like because 1) its just fast talking and stupid rhymes (if you say yea at the end of every sentence doesnt constitute a rhyme) 2)because of the messages most of them portray. I dont like country, is that because its sung by a bunch of honkies? And you call me a racist?
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

Looking at your so-called musical likes on Facebook, Ray, I wouldn't call you a racist, but I would call you a hypocrite. I find it rather amusing that someone so ardently conservative and outraged by a toon like Christ on Campus would be a fan of Bad Religion, Ozzy Osbourne or even Propaghandi. How many times do you hear them talk about "towel-heads" or "fags" in their music?
No Subject
Posted by Ray

First, I seriously doubt you found Ozzy in the music I like. He sucks. Black Sabboth had a few good hits, but on the whole they arent the type of music I liesten to. As for Bad religion, what about the song Sorrow? I dont listen to much propagandhi because i dont liek a lot of their messages (ie Fuck Religion). But I've told you before, I listen to the music I listen to because I like it. I dont want to repeat myself, but NoFX is one of my favorite bands even though Fat Mike is one of the biggest critics of Bush. I'm not the White House's bitch, contrary to what a lot of you believe. I have very serious problems with the government, its just the party in power right now most closely reflects my moral and economic views (even though Bush spends like liberal).

Anyways, the music I listen to raises serious questions abuot serious issues. Saying that ignorance of issues outside of your country is not an excuse is one thing. Saying I want to kill police and sleep with white women is totally different. So, yea, call me a hypocrite because I listen to Le Tigre and Propagandhi but still call gays fags and queers. But at least I'm not advocating we go out their and shoot them or drag them behind a truck.

So did I successfully debunkyour theory, or do I have to continue this argument for another week? When you have something of substance, get back to me.
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

What about their song Sorrow? Are you trying to tell me you actually think Bad Religion's song Sorrow is an uplifting pro-religion song? Greg Graffin is agnostic at best and more likely an avid atheist. That is quite clear in his own essays and the lyrics to the vast majority of his music.

As for NOFX, do you just selectively dismiss their War on Errorism album?

No Subject
Posted by THE Blake

"I find it rather amusing that someone so ardently conservative and outraged by a toon like Christ on Campus would be a fan of Bad Religion, Ozzy Osbourne or even Propaghandi."
I listed Ozzy in my stuff but that's only because I like some of his stuff, not all of it. You can be a fan of a band and not support their views. Take Green Day for instance. All of those guys should be deported on the spot after some of the stuff they've said in their music. Anyone who can't get the real meaning of "Wake Me Up When September Ends" needs to think about it again - I've stopped listening to that song entirely. However they do have alot of songs I enjoy listening to.

Contact Info:
befought@radford.edu
http://blog.myspace.com/bburgblake1
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

That's right Blake, deport people for free speech. Way to be a fascist.

And yes, you can say that you like a band like Green Day with only a certain amount of songs, but I just can't fathom what a Conservative Christian can adhere to and enjoy in a band like Bad Religion that speaks out against EVERYTHING they believe in.

No Subject
Posted by THE Blake

I just can't stand anti-Americanism. If a person hates this country so much, why haven't they left yet?

Heck, I'm still waiting on Alec Baldwin to fulfill on his promise to leave the country if Bush won the election in 2000. :)

Contact Info:
befought@radford.edu
http://blog.myspace.com/bburgblake1
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

What is anti-Americanism? Something that doesn't follow your party line?
hahahaha
Posted by Rick Snee

You all have so much to say, yet nothing about this article. Knock it off, you pesky hooligans.
No Subject
Posted by Ray

It really makes me think you selectively read what I write just like a majority of other people on here when I clearly say:NoFX is one of my favorite bands even though Fat Mike is one of the biggest critics of Bush and you idiotically say As for NOFX, do you just selectively dismiss their War on Errorism album?. How about you read what I right before you jump down my throat. As for Greenday, even though I wasnt asked to talk about them you get to hear it anyways. They suck. Nimrod was their last great album. After that it just became crap. American Idiot is pop crap. But you know what, just like I supposedly selectively listen to the songs I liek to hear, you selectively read what I write. So how about next time you comment, answer my question: why does it matter if I listen to NoFX who questions the government? Shouldn't I be commended for keeping an open mind? A lot of their points are valid and makes sense... it makes me think. However, saying I'm going to slap bitches when they dont pay up does nothing but make you as ignorant as they are. Although, I doubt they really are that stupid because they are playing off poor black kid's inability to realize that lifestyle is going to land them in jail and its taking them straight to the bank
No Subject
Posted by THE Blake

"What is anti-Americanism?"
Is this a serious question? I'm not trying to be rude, I'm being totally honest.

Contact Info:
befought@radford.edu
http://blog.myspace.com/bburgblake1
No Subject
Posted by Ray

I think the definition of anti americanism is:
liberalism, aka socialism. Remember, the left is so openminded their brains have fallen out.
Running to the UN and jeopardizing our national sovereignty is anti american. Allowing illegal immigrants into our country and giving them rights is anti american. allowing countries to harbor our enemies is anti americanism. How about preventing the majority from voicing their opinion? I would say the ACLU is un-american. bankrupting our nation with social welfare when people are capable but lazy. how about trying to give felons the right to vote? Taking away my second amendmant right to own as many guns as I want? Need any more examples?
No Subject
Posted by Some Anonymous Whim Reader

Yawn
Posted by Rick Snee

I'm sorry. All I caught was: "blah blah blah ... I'm a dirty tramp."

The article is about rap. Not about anti-americanism, welfare, nor conservative idealism.

Watch this: I'm gonna stay on topic.

Couldn't it be argued that blaming rap music for a segment of society's behavior and social ills is an old argument? These are the same reasons Lynn Cheney and Tipper Gore brought metal to Senate hearings. It seemed trite then, especially considering those were guys in make-up and spandex, throwing up "devil horns." Let's not forget how the waltz was the declared the evil indicating the imminent Judgement Day. Are we trying to attribute too much of our American society's beliefs on popular entertainment?

Entertainment is marketed based on our current society, not the other way around. It doesn't work vice versa because you typically don't buy something you cannot relate to at some level.

There. Now bitch at that.
No Subject
Posted by Ray

Sorry for getting off topic there. I agree with you, Rick.
No Subject
Posted by Kim

Brian, good article. I think that many music genres affect how people act and give the media and the general public the wrong idea about the people that listen to it. Just like rap listeners can be thugs, metal heads are satan worshippers. While neither one are neccessarily true, its the fans who allow that image to be portrayed on to them.
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