Rap: The Influence Of Rap
Musical Characteristics of Rap Hip-hop culture, once confined to the streets has broken into the commercial realm with force. Hip hop records top the charts week after week, rap videos have taken control of MTV, BET and the BOX, and there are dozens of hip hop magazines on the newsstands. A stroll on any city street in the United States reveals the proliferation of hip-hop styled apparel. The culture itself had much humbler beginnings, however.
On the street corners and in the parks, young men and women battled through freestyle rhymes and dance moves. Whatever the time period, and whoever he MC may have been, Rap has incorporated, and included several of the "classical" musical characteristics present in most western music today. These characteristics have influenced the popularity of this genre from coast to coast; as well as, giving the music a chance to penetrate into the homes of a vast array of people (White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.). When one is referring to certain musical characteristics, pitch, dynamics, timbre, rhythm, melody, harmony, key, texture, form, and various others are usually mentioned. It is fascinating to see how many of these characteristics are present in the hip-hop culture, more specifically in rap.
Rap music has many negative influences in our culture and society today. Rap music is a "genre of rhythm and blues music that consists of rhythmic vocals declaimed over musical accompaniment.
The accompaniment generally consists of electric drum beats combined with digitally isolated sound bites from other musical recordings. Rap music has been categorized as, "A cultural evolution of the Black oral tradition and contemporary resistance rhetoric." (Smitherman)
Over time rap music has developed a lot of controversy in many ways, especially amongst parental units and their teenagers. One controversy is woman and how they are degraded in the lyrics. Another reason that Rap music causes problems today is by the way that they portray drugs, alcohol and money to be something they are not. In Rap music violence is talked about frequently to be a normal part of life.
The criterion to bad rap music is explicit lyrics and negative influences on the youth today. They talk about murder, rape, and assault as though they were okay. Almost everybody and everything that has to do with rap music is associated with drugs and alcohol.
Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the potentially misleading content of violent themes and lyrics in gangta' rap. The content of this branch of rap (rhythm and poetry) focalizes on extremely controversial topics such as politics, sex, religion, racism, and drug addiction. Initially attracted by the catchy beats of gangsta' rap, youth start to listen to this music many times without knowing of the potential psychological damage it may cause. It misleads them to a distorted reality where morally wrong actions are positively rewarded and good actions are no longer needed except when there is a sexual goal behind it.
Despite its entertainment value, gangsta' rap misleads our impressionable teens by showing them that violence, and aggressiveness is acceptable behavior; and unless government officials decide to make a change, gangsta' rap will continue to influence the behavior of adolescents for the worst. After many discussions about this topic, musicians and the music producers seem to blame each other for the violent end sexually explicit lyrics contained in their music.
Rap music touches each of our lives, and not just when cars with twenty-inch speakers drive by blaring it, shaking both the windows of our houses and the fragile membranes of our eardrums. It is a connecting thread running through today's youth culture. Lumping all rap music together and dismissing it as incomprehensible noise can harm society. Society is composed of individuals linked by the relations of daily actions. When one segment of society is cut off or isolated through lack of understanding, it disrupts the delicate web of human interaction, and society can suffer.