Contrary to much popular opinion, rap is a musical genre; it is a very beautiful, creative, and innovative musical genre. As many of you know, rap music is part of the 4 elements of hip hop, which include rapping (emceeing), DJing(scratching, sampling, and mixing), graffiti, and breakdancing. Rap is neither superior nor inferior to any other genre of music because it is a distinct form of artistic expression. It seems very strange that there seems to be a mutual dichtonomy between rock and rap. They are not mutually exclusive or diametrically opposed to one another because they formed for the same reason. Whether one wants to admit it or not, both rap and rock formed as a rebellion from popular culture and both serves as a voice for a particular generation. Many individuals in the 60s were speaking against rock as an illegitimate art form just as many individuals today speak against rap music. Just as rock music is not one-dimensional, neither is rap music. Just as much as person would not call all rock music satanic, neither should a person call all rap music a genre that promotes misogny and thug life. There are many stereotypes associated with rap music that should be eliminated
1) Rap appeals only to poor African-Americans
It has become an established fact that African-Americans are not the largest consumer of mainstream hip hop. It's well known that white suburbanite teenagers are the real supporters of mainstream hip hop.
2) Rap degrades African-American culture
Many people need to realize that it's very ignorant to judge the book from its cover. Anyone can piece together some current rap artists from 50 Cent, Nelly, and the plethora of Southern rappers and generalize. But even the most logical person will note that this is very faulty reasoning. In the words of an underground rap duo in Atlanta, Mars Ill,
"The subculture remains the same but it seems that the earth is reversed." It's very unfortunate that the worst form of rap music is advertised the most. Perhaps the root of the problem lies in the fact that most labels in rap are owned by rich Jewish individuals who would rather promote a certain image in the name of profit rather than the art form. The roots of rap music are very deep and if one searches for it, they will find true rap music. Some examples would be Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Black Soil Project, Company Flow, Bigg Jus, El-P, Mars Ill, Nas, Deepspace5, Tunnel Rats, MF Doom, Aesop Rock, Orko Elohim and etc.
3) Rap music is an inferior art form because of its simplicity
The person that makes this argument must also think that writing poetry is extremely simple too. The person that makes this argument must also believe that free styling is very easy. Any true musician will see that freestyling in rap music is the equivalent of jazz improvisation. Both takes an extreme level of skill and a particular niche. Now it is true that there are rap songs that are very remedial (see mainstream Southern rap), but true hip hop takes talent and skill. A great rap artist can tell great stories of personal experience in poetic form (such as Nas), comment on social and political issues (such as Bigg Jus), and speak a profound message through the music.
In general, people hate (and even fear) that which they don't understand; rap music is no different. Many people can't relate to rap music for whatever particular reason, so they immediately attack it or demonize it. How great is the hypocrisy... even jazz music was critized heavily, as it departed from classical music. Many people thought jazz music to be a false duplicate of classical music, but as we now see, jazz music is one of the most respected genres of music in America (since it is the first true purely American musical art form). Whether or not it relates to you, that doesn't mean that it's an inferior form of music.
This song embodies the current state of affairs of rap music. Every genre of music has its pros and cons (even jazz has Kenny G). This song is called "Sphere of Hip Hop, Part 2" from Mars Ill.
Verse 1: manCHILD
Yo it's this and it's that
It's hype and it's flat
It's white and it's black
It's abandoned and it's packed
It's backpackers, it's wack rappers
Beat jackers, chip stackers
But thank God it's microphone masters
It's after, it's before
It's rich and it's poor
It's local open-mic nights, it's international tours
It's four tracks then demos, it's six-fours, it's limos
It's drug-free, it's indo
It's wives and it's bimbos
It's what I love and what I loathe
It's battlin', doin' shows
It's turnin' on radios and hearin' about cars and clothes
It's the rise, it's the fall
The boo's the yes-yall's
It's all in together, it's now and it's forever
It's day and it's night
It's wrong and it's right
It's full-blown promotions and it's "Don't Believe the Hype"
It's five mics, the limelight
It's eternal, it's fi-nite
It's obscure genius and record deals when you can't rhyme right
Yo, I chase it and it follows me
It's popular, it's a mockery
It's "My Adidas", my advice, my radio, my philosophy
It's permanent, it's moving
It's showing, improving
It's in everything we're saying, it's in everything we're doing
It's hell-bent, heaven-sent, it's what you represent
It's "F the Police" and it's "Eric B. for President"
Yo, it's evident, it's hidden
It's your freedom, it's your prison
It's the Sphere of Hip-Hop, and it's the place where I live in (yo)
Verse 2: ManCHILD
Yo, it's off and it's on
It's pros and it's cons
It's dusk and it's dawn
It's word up, it's word is born
It's word life
It's blunt but it still cuts like a knife
It's primetime, it's outta sight
It's "You gotta fight for your right"
It's aight and it's outstanding
It's sitting and it's standing
It's come clean, explicit content, Wal-mart banning
It's fans sing the lyrics,
It's loud, but most can't hear it
It's in demand, it's on clearance, it's the cameo appearance
It's "The Breaks", it's "The Show"
It's Doug E. Fresh, it's Kurtis Blow
It's your words, it's your cadence, it's your style, it's your flow
It's the beat, it's the kick, it's the snare, it's the street
It's the way that I speak, walk, sleep, pray, and eat
It's concrete schoolyards, hard-rocks, it's hard-knocks
It's Freaky Todd, it's Big L, it's Biggie Smalls, it's Tupac
Yo, it's a cappella scratches,
It's old and new-school classes
It's Third Bass, "The Cactus"
It's age-old and it's matchless
It's peace and it's anger
It's your friend, it's a stranger
It's the b-boys, graf painters
It's the 36 chambers
It's the DJ, turntablist, the maestro, the producer
But don't forget it's the 1980's pop singer Lupa
It's true and it's false
It's play and it's pause
It's perfect, but it's flawed
It's hot and it's raw
It's hold it down, it's stay fly
It's what, where, when, and why
Yo, it's hip-hop, and I gotta rep it till I die
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