Do you believe that one s words can reflect on a certain person s action? Today, Rap has become the most popular type of music in the US. The Rap industry is dominated by artists who mostly dedicate their lyrics to either violence, drugs, or sex. Through 1998 and 1999 the survey taken by the National Music Bureau, stated that 46% of the listeners of Rap are under the age of 19. While 65% of the listeners, live in run-down homes, or impoverished areas, usually being inner cities. The National Music Bureau also reported that in the 66% of the listeners of Rap who are under the age of 19, 86% of those teen-agers are black. Along with that fact, many of the artists sing about their ghettos, and their past ways of life, which included, drugs, sex, murder, and alcohol. The listeners of rap living in run down areas in the inner cities see themselves in the same situation as many of the rap artists , and duplicate what they hear. So although a person may be responsible for his or her action, rap music dramatically affects the lives of America s inner cities and slums.
In this day and age, of the biggest problems in America has become teen pregnancy. 68% of 18-year old have had sexual intercourse, while half of 17-year old have had sexual intercourse. To add to that, 6 in 10 girls between the ages of 18-19 become pregnant. While pregnancy rates among teens continue to rise, rappers continue to rap and call themselves Playa s and rap about their, bitches, and sexual encounters. In a song titled The B.I.G Notorious B.I.G AKA Biggie Smalls says Please don t shoot up your guns, cause one of these ladies will be havin my baby. Of the 66% of the listeners of rap, who are under the age of 19, 26% of them are women. Biggie is promoting sexual activity, and a bad message is being sent out to all women. Another important fact is that every year 3 million teens; about 1 in 4 sexually experienced teens acquire a Sexually Transmitted Disease (S.T.D). Another rapper, Masta Pimp begins each song by saying Pimpin Aint Easy! In a song by Masta Pimp titled The Way of Life, Masta Pimp says From the ghetto to where all my hooches at, I ll ride for life, f$%# da condoms, cause I ll f$%@ all da bitches for life. While Masta Pimp talks about his hooches in his ghetto, 60% of sexually active teens between the ages 15-19 come from low income families, and usually live in run down ghetto s or bad neighborhoods. At the same time, Masta Pimp is promoting the doing away of condoms, and it is proven that a sexually active teen-ager who doesn t use protection has a 90% chance of pregnancy within one year. Another devastating statistic is that of the 60% of teen-age mothers living in inner-cities or slums, much like many of the rap artists . 21% of the women who have babies are forced to drop out of school, and raise their children. This takes them out of the work force, and hard working citizens are forced to pay higher taxes, with welfare rates going up. The rap artists are not only effecting the 21% of the 60% that choose to raise their children, but the 41% that choose to have abortion are presented with two big problems. Not only is abortion costly, but 34% of women that have abortions experience side and after effects. Women that choose to have abortions face a 2% chance of dying, and 34% chance of having an ulcers, or falling into states of depression, which many times leads to suicide. So, with teen-pregnancy being a big problem in the US s rap artists are only promoting it, and making matters worse.
Unlike rap artists in the early 90 s such as MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and Tone Loc, today s wave of rap artists focus much of their music on violent crime, mainly murder, and theft. In one of 2-Pac Shakur s greatest hits, he says, I m a self made millionaire, thug livin out of prison pistols in the air. Tupac refers to himself as a thug, and synonyms for the word thug include hooligan, thief, and gangster. At the same time that 2-Pac Shakur is promoting himself as a thug, the Bureau of Justice proved that the young blacks, living in houses with low income, were the most vulnerable to violent crime. In addition, 1 in 20 blacks compared to 1 in 26 whites commit violent crime. It can be concluded that out of the 66% of the fans of rap that live in inner cities, many of them are committing crimes. Likewise, in much of 2-Pac Shakur s music he focuses on his East Coast Rivals, and when rapping about his East Coast Rivals, many threats are being made. Shakur in a song titled Hit Em Up, says Little Caesar go ask your homey how I ll leave you cut your young a$$ up live in you in pieces. 49% of murder victims are blacks, and 28% were killed in gang activity in city slums. Another astounding fact is that of the 28%, 20% are 18 and under. The originators of Gangsta Rap, the Beastie Boys have a song titled Robbin and Stealin . This whole song is dedicated to tales about robbing banks, stealing from old ladies, and their personal ventures, which included robbing gas stations, and quickie marts. What makes this song so significant is the fact that 32% of all crimes committed in inner cities had to do with bank robbery, car theft, and home burglaries. All these facts, and statistics only serve to prove that the message that rap artists send out is negative, and that people living in the inner-cities and slums of America are affected by the artists lyrics.
Throughout the course of 1997, a cable network known as MTV (Music Television) took 3 trips from Leton Kentucky, to Leton Kentucky to Chicago, Illinois. The topic of the program was to speak to teenagers in gangs and ask them how Gangsta rap has affected their lives. On the first trip, MTV s Tabitha Soren to speak with a member of the Leton Mean Street Posse, known as Pete GAS. When Tabitha asked him how artists such as Biggie Smalls, 2-Pac Shakur, and The Beastie Boys have affected his life, he said You know Gangsta Rap is the way to go around here. It s just like we hear the $hit, and boo-bam, it sets everything off. It s just like the East Coast and West Coast war around here, you either ride or die with your Kliq. The amazing characteristic about this group was that 4 of the 7 members were 16 years old, and 2 were highschool dropouts. Another characteristic that surprised many viewers was that all except 2 of the members were Black. On the second tour to New York City, Tabitha Soren had a chance to speak to a powerful ganged called the Back Alley Kliq. A member of the group Billy P, was asked the same question that Tabitha asked Pete GAS. When asked the question, Billy s response was Oh hell yeah, why you think that you see peeps walkin around with glocks tucked under their belts? Billy P at the time was 15 years old, and had dropped out of school at the age of 13 +. On the tour to Chicago, Tabitha this time spoke with a concerned mother who was concerned about her son Rodney, who had been gang banging since the age of 14. The mother was concerned about the fact that Rodney could go to jail at anytime, or even die before going to jail due to extensive gang activity. This mother stated that her son only 17 years old, had been expelled from 3 different high-schools for pulling guns on other students, and her son was arrested more than 3 times for possession of marijuana. She also told Tabitha that two of his best friends, who were with the same gang, were sentenced to life in jail for killing two of their foes in a drive-by. When she was asked the question about the impact of rap on her son s life, she replied with I assume it does, because from the day he started to listen to that junk he has had some kind of gangster mentality. If my son and I ever talk about something it s about 2-Pac or the East Coast VS. West Coast scuffles. Tabitha, at the end of the show concluded that the all the gang members seen, could soon be the future of rap. The bottom line is that rap is indeed very influential, and does reflect the actions of many people.
Another negative message that rap artists are sending out that must be viewed is promoting the usage of alcohol and drugs. In a song titled America s Most Wanted, 2-Pac says Bring out the Champagne bottles, and all the boos, and have one on us. The National Bureau of Justice also took a count, and 48% of Malt Liquors, are being sold in mainly Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Los Angeles California. The problem with that is the majority of rap fans live in those areas, known as the slums of America. Among the 1 million violent crimes in the cities of New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Leton, Detroit, 45% of the time, involved an offender who had been drinking. In addition, rap artists are also promoting the usage of all types of drugs. In a song named Rollin , Snoop Doggy Dogg, another famous rap artist says Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on jin and juice. Furthermore, in another song titled 10 Crack Commandments Biggie Smalls says I m a Kin Killer, and the D in Drug Dealer. Not only is Biggie labeling himself as a Killer, but also a Drug Dealer. The National Bureau of Justice took a survey on drug usage. The National Bureau of justice proved that 71% of drug sales in the US take place in the cities of New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Detroit. Also, in 37% of violent crimes committed in inner cities, the offender was high on some sort of drug, usually being marijuana. The bureau also stated proved that in 20% of un-planned pregnancies, one of the participants was intoxicated. And, 92% of the time the baby came out with a deformity.
When researching what kind of affect rap has on America s inner-cities, there is only one conclusion to come to. Yes, many people may say that people should be able to take responsibility for their own actions, but the statistics, and the eye-witness encounters has proven that rap does have a negative affect on America s inner-cities.
1) Bureau of Justice Statistics
2) http://www.ojp.udoj.gov/bjs/cvcivtgen.htm Criminal Victimization
3) Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Peganancy
http://www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb _ teen_ sex.html
4) Encarta 98 Encyclopedia
5) Groilers Encyclopedia
6) Violent Crimes: Drugs and Alcohol
7) The Official Website of The Music Television
8) The National Bureau of Music Distribution