This topic has been eating at me for quite some time. Getting straight to the point, I just wanna say–I’m soo sick and tired of all the negative stereotypes that rappers and rap/hip-hop is, and has been associated with over the years.
Rap began with Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop began with young black men like The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and UTFO, simply putting everyday experiences into rhyming stories to the beat of a musical instrumental; much like slaves sang in the cotton fields. This was a way they could freely express how they felt about things. Originally, and primarily, it was done for fun, but as years passed, and it spread like a wildfire across the nation, it turned into something much uglier when people realized serious money could made from it.
Just like everyday life; everything we experience as people, and as a race isn’t going to be happy and positive, so for the life of me, I don’t understand why people are so quick to stereotype rappers and rap as pure negativity! Hollywood isn’t producing and making all rated G, wholesome family movies, are they? But no one has a problem when they release the bloodiest, gorriest film ever, do they? Rock & Roll recording artists speak about much of the same things as rappers, but they don’t catch half the heat that rappers and rap does, why not?
Well, I want to show all you bias critics and nay-sayers who derive your asinine synopsis from simple, bandwagon practices, that not all rappers are thugs, former drug dealers, and womanizers. Not all rap songs are calling women bitches, or black men niggers (niggas). Not all rap songs are about black men constantly shooting and killing each other.
There is, and has been an abundance of positive rappers such as; Common, Mos Def, LeCrae, Talib Kweli, Lupe Fiasco, Will Smith, Nas, and more. The problem with positive rap and positive rappers is that a majority of the record labels don’t want positive rappers, and many local radio stations, hosts, and shows from coast-to-coast, won’t and don’t support the positive rappers, so its ten times harder for their voices to be heard vs. the mainstream negative rappers who get the large contracts for rapping about anything derogatory, and even then, in many cases, it’s the actual record label forcing the rapper to rap about that crap!
Many of today’s rappers recognize and use rap as a means to remove themselves from their poverty and violence-stricken neighborhoods, and often branch off into more traditional and rewarding careers such as acting, writers/authors, fashion designers/professionals, and music producers. Others return to, or to college, earning multiple degrees that lead them still into other successful careers, while there are some that often become motivational speakers, youth counselors, pastors, and local/national community activists.
Before you’re so quick to label all rappers and rap as thugs and ‘gangster-rap’/music, because you hear a little cursing, you should take a much deeper, and more in-depth look into it, and listen to messages that lie beneath some of the cursing; in short–open your mind to understand something it doesn’t.
Thank you for reading!
— F. Kenneth Taylor