Rap Music and Teen Violence

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Music can be a reflection of our life experiences. Each genre of music invokes different emotions and reactions in its listeners. Rap has become a very popular genre of music. As its popularity has increased, some people have questioned whether it can trigger violence in teens. While some rap songs do have violent lyrics, there is no direct evidence that rap music provokes violence in teenagers. Rap music has African roots just like jazz, the blues and rock ‘n’ roll. African slaves sang songs to tell stories about the pain and struggles experienced during slavery. However, music was also a way to celebrate life, love and share tales about the life they had before slavery (Lommel 10). Rap music began in the slums of New York in the 1970s. It has many different types with pop, gospel and gangsta rap being the three most popular. Pop rap was the first type of rap music to evolve from the hip-hop music genre. It experienced widespread popularity across many different races and socioeconomic groups. Pop rap was a way for rappers to make the music suitable for music television programs and radio stations (Lommel 48). As a result rap music became a financial success for music companies and eventually rappers. Gospel rap has gained popularity in recent years. This type uses a gospel message in a rap format to reach younger people. The lyrics are set to upbeat rhythms that are very different from standard gospel music. Gospel rap has become a means of making religion more appealing and accessible to teenagers. Gangsta rap was seen as a way to bring the rap genre back to its roots. Its lyrics contain messages about poverty, drugs, violence and the lack of opportunity young black people were experiencing. Gangsta r... ... middle of paper ... ...nce. Works Cited Lommel, Cookie. The History of Rap Music. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2001. Roberts, Donald, et al. “The Effects of Violent Music on Children and Adolescents.” Psychology.iastate.edu. 16 October 2003. Iowa State University of Science and Technology. 25 February 2010. URL: http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/~dgentile/106027_08.pdf Quinn, Eithne. Nuthin’ but a “G” thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005. Tropeano, Eliana. “Does Rap or Rock Music Provoke Violent Behavior?” Library.wcsu.edu. 2006. Western Connecticut State University. 25 February 2010. URL: http://library.wcsu.edu/dspace/bitstream/0/35/1/tropeano.pdf Watkins, S. Craig. Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement. Massachusetts: Beacon Press, 2005.
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