Did We Make the Splash or Did Rap Make the Ripple? Though many have protested that “gangs rap” is to blame for its influence in the violence, female discrimination and violent behavior that take place throughout America, others argue that it is simply the other way around, implying that the artist is influenced by his own personal experience of being a part of and/or bearing witness to violence, drugs and crime that have taken place around him thus influencing him to express himself through lyric and rhyme becoming “gangs rap”.
This leaves us to question does gangs rap music encourage violence or does lenience influence what the artist raps about? One author argues that “gangs rap” is at fault. In her essay “Thug Culture Is a Cancer Destroying Black America”, Cynthia Tucker claims that “This ‘so-called’ music and the lifestyle it glorifies is a malignancy destroying black Tucker makes a reference to rapper Clifford Harris Jar. (aka T. L. ) In her essay, hall-lighten his arrests for his continued Involvement In Illegal activities after having already been given a second chance from the criminal justice system (326-327).
Tucker continues to reveal that even after launching a highly successful career, Harris still continued to possess illegal firearms and was also involved in a gun battle following an argument between T. L. ‘s entourage and unknown locals-? which ended In tragedy with the death of his best friend who was shot and killed-? making the Implication that entertainers, Like T. L. , depict their success through the glorification of violence and crime In their lives and their music, thus encouraging the idea that this kind of life style is approved (327).
So, if a rapper’s lifestyle and experience is depicted through his music, then wouldn’t that mean that it is life and his own choices that influence what he chooses to rap about? This creates the counter claim that life in America or life in general, is what influences the lyrics to an artist’s song. While some artists do Include references to violence and crime within their music, people do not become violent by listening to It. If people are going to have violent tendencies or commit a crime, It Is at their own will that they choose to do so.
A person can choose to pursue or quit that lifestyle regardless of the music they listen to. One fact the Americans fail to acknowledge is hat violence, crime and prejudice have been in existence throughout American history for far longer than “gangster rap” music. With that said, how can Americans assume that “gangster rap” created and/or Influenced something that existed long before Its time? Before rap was even born, there were American gangsters who relied on a life of violence and crime to gain power and wealth.
Acts of violence were committed along with crime and the defiance of laws, all while implying that with it comes wealth and success. So what may I ask influenced these American history gangsters to lead that lifestyle? It is quite clear that they couldn’t possibly have been influenced by “gangs music” seeing as how rap simply did not exist then. Rap becomes a popular target of conversation and accusation whenever gang activity anything, especially violent things. Many singers, including rappers, tend to sing about things that they see or experience.
Many mainstream rappers lived in the ghettos when they were children, and they have been affected by some form of gang activity in one way or another. Rap music gives them a chance to tell the world how they feel and what they think about these issues. There are often references to gang activity in rap, but that doesn’t mean rap is the cause of violence. So who is to blame? I believe that Americans and the American Government like any other human, when at fault, sometimes disregard the morals of taking responsibility for their own actions and like mindless children, whiney fingers begin to point back and forth.
Rap music tends to be one of the first to fall victim to the crowd of accusing fingers. It is easier for a parent to blame the music, than to admit to faulty parenting. It is easier for the government to blame the rappers for creating the violence, rather than acknowledging their own participation in assisting with the creation of poverty and the police brutality that sparked a rebellious violence, thus igniting the backlash of lyrical flame.
One may also consider those who blame the government for a poverty that they themselves created and could have very well prevented. The truth is hard to swallow, but in the end we Americans have only ourselves to blame. It is the American people acting on their own free will causing a ripple with every choice we make. We made a splash and rap was the ripple. We are the people and America is our lake. It is up to us to decide what kind of splash we will make.