Merriam-Webster online dictionary, gangs rap is defined as “rap music with lyrics explicitly portraying the violence and drug use of urban gang life and typically expressing hostility toward whites, women, and civil authority’ This deflation could disturb many that attempt to find a clear understanding of a culture wrongfully portrayed. Gangs rap was originally a form of expressing Inequalities In society and has changed the way the social psyche is expressed in young people.
Through the use of race, gender, violence, and freedom of expression, gangs rap as t is portrayed contributes to the evolution in black culture. In looking at the portrayal of gangs rap through the perspective of author Michael Eric Tyson, he points out that “If the fifteen-year evolution of hip-hop teaches us anything, it’s that history Is made In unexpected ways by unexpected people with unexpected results”(P. 391). Gangs rap is used as a method to discuss racial inequality, whether it be twenty years ago or in the present time.
The unity is its way of expressing issues affecting black culture in a publicized and at times ridiculed manner. In a world here African Americans have been oppressed into life of slavery and are still considered a minority, gangs rap assists in representing the Issues that are greatly affecting a culture from expanding successfully. As Is stated on page 391, “This Is the world hip-hop would come to “represent”: privileged persons speaking for less visible or vocal peers”. Through lyrics, the story told is a real one full of positive and negative aspects of everyday life.
At the essence or core of hip-hop, there is an encounter of racism, which is expressed through the voice of fame. The rapper represents the arrival of an everyday war of overexposure of drugs, prostitution, and violence. There Is a social critic of how racism is portrayed as it often depends on the rapper In “power”. As the author states, “He was not hip-hop’s most gifted emcee. Still, [Outpace] Shaker may be the most Influential and compelling rapper of them all, he was more than the sum of his artistic parts” (p. 392).
The unique style of Outpace in the sass’s told a degrading story of how he was a witness to the everyday calamities of the neighborhood he lived in. As a witness and victim of racism, he was able to prove hat his lyrics were real to many minorities and more important to those who believed rappers where portraying a role for money, As the overexposure of rappers continues dally, the author expresses concern with the record companies who are profiting from at times young rappers who do not know the value system of what they should be receiving.
They can be exploited “pawns in a ‘chess game of material dominance where their consciences are sold to the highest bidder” (p. 392). In essence, rappers can be manipulated by the amount of money they have never seen o put out a hit as opposed on focusing the Issues that made them rap to begin with. It seems Like a distortion of the black culture to a certain extent. Although some can view as well as producing a record worth listening to. What seems of importance is the balance of following the rules off genre and reaping its rewards as well.
One of the ways in which rappers play into stereotypes is through the portrayal of women in music videos. Often time’s women are seen as tall, curvy, sexy women who are held by a man’s money or fame. Many of the women seen today are usually half naked in sic videos and hardly ever have a role worth focusing on. As Mr.. Tyson emphasizes, “It is doubly wounding for black women who are already beset by attacks from outside their communities to feel the thrust of musical daggers to their dignity from within” (p. 92). At the same token, the lyrics stated to express a woman’s portrayal is often times derogatory, such as the word “bitchy”. It is almost common these days to hear this type of language being stated in rap songs throughout society. It negates a black woman’s role by oppressing her in a dishonest manner. One article that refutes the notion that degrading black women is not universal is through the article Barbie’s Body May Be Perfect, But Critics Remind Us It’s Plastic by Angela Cain.
It is strongly stated that women in general have always been misconstrued through the use of figures such as Barbie, in which her body dimensions are not proportional. Therefore, although wrongfully portrayed, black women can relate to the discriminatory effects of not having the right body size. As the author points out, this type of distortion can lead to eating disorders prominent n other cultures. As young women compare themselves to Barbie, black women compare themselves to the Barbie portrayed in music videos.
As “the visual media plays a big role in how women see their bodies. When you look at the cover of some fashion magazine, those models are airbrushed. Nobody looks that perfect. But the magazines makes you think they do” (p. 336). Although many cultural difference have been noted, women seem to have a universal notion of what perfection is and how to embody that through extremities. In a society that defines beauty, it is important to Ochs on the positive attributes of women in general, such as climbing the social ladder through academic success.
In the same way that women are wrongfully portrayed, black men are also thought of in a negative light. Due to the overexposure of rappers, men are also turned into commodities. Although many are not imitating life, rather recreating it through their music, it tends to create more stereotypes and visual images of what black men represent. It is almost a double standard, in which freedom of expression is portrayed, however, at what cost? The window in which we IEEE gangs rap is too narrow to define black culture. Instead, it feeds into the continuing oppression of a successful realm.
Far more crucial, however, is the positive effect of freedom of speech. “Throughout African-American history, creative personalities have sought to escape or enliven the role of race artist with varying degrees of success”, (P. 394) which is a constant struggle between what is said and what is meant. In other words, Md. Tyson, seems to express the undeniable conflict between the boundary of social responsibility and social acceptable rap. For example, enshrines is often used to confront the issues being portrayed. A crucial distinction needs to be made between censorship of gangs rap and edifying expressions of civic responsibility and community conscientiousness”, (p. 395) which implies that gangs rap can be demoralized by the denial of its every right. Just because society one genre of music should be banned from telling their point of view no matter how graphic it may be. “Gangs rap often reaches higher than its ugliest, lowest common denominator, misogyny, violence, materialism and sexual transgression are not its exclusive domain.
At its best, this music draws attention to complex dimensions of ghetto life ignored by most Americans. Indeed, gangs rap’s in-your-face style may do more to force America to confront crucial social problems than a million sermons or political speeches” (p. 397). Ghetto life is most often emphasized through the use of violence. It is almost common to see a rapper be arrested or murdered in world of conflict. For example, Outpace Shaker and Biggie Smalls were well known for a long time feud between east and west coast music. Both were murdered and neither killer as been caught.
This type of feud is often related to the everyday war between gangsters throughout various cities, states, and hoods. As violence is portrayed through music, it can also be noted that the influence of television has taken its toll on black culture as well. In Television Violence and Aggression by Tom Curtis, family violence is researched. In its measure of violence, there was no “significant relationship between the violence that children witnesses in their parents’ spousal relationship and violence in the children’s own marriages” (p. 341).
If this research is rover to be true, it is refuted by the lyrics being portrayed in music. According to many lyrics, the violence witnessed at home affects the cycle of violence being talked about. Therefore there is a discrepancy and question as to what type of population is being represented. Therefore, gangs rap proves that their voice is not taken into account as is always being stated. In another survey defining television violence, the amount of television watched and aggression were measured. Again, there was a small significant relationship between viewing habits and property damage.
If there s not a significant correlation between violence and television, it can be concluded that gangs rappers validate their point of view in eliminating a possible factor for increased aggression and violence. Therefore, violence can highly be correlated to the everyday struggles faced in ghetto life. It would seem unfair to suppress the voice off realistic view in today’s society. The undeniable truth seems to be focused on gangs rap. That is not to say that it is objective, since societal views are subjective in nature.
What one family or individual go through does not always register across he board. It is ridiculed and criticized, yet respected all at the same time. Rap is a constant struggle of the boundaries it crosses and experiences that are portrayed. However, one truth remains the same; rap is a way of telling a realistic story what someone can be motivated to strive from. Many rappers come from poor households in which they struggle to reach success through passion. In the debate of gangs rap, the unity of all culture is expressed in its essence; the flight for the American dream.
Although at times negative and ridiculed, the American dream is what many enter this country to succeed. Influential rappers such as Run from Run D. M. C demonstrate the positive aspects of what one can reach. Run, Joseph Ward Simmons, is a Reverend, who preaches success now through sermons and who in the past has marked hip hop in his own way. He has built an empire of success and hip hop was his stepping stone. That is a positive way of achieving the American Dream. Sometimes it is forgotten that not all rappers are “bad” and not all situations end the disprove negative portrayals and reap success in a positive light.