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Hip Hop and its Impact on the Streets.

An ongoing discussion since the early 90’s was how much does rap music contribute to the ills of the ghetto and the nihilism that appears to be pervasive in the youth of the hood. The major backforths have been hashed out: The Bill O’Riellys of the world who have an anti-minority/racist agenda often claim that young ghetto youth (mostly black and Latino) face disproportionate high school and college drop rates, disproportionately high murder rates, incarceration rates, etc. because of their “culture.” The “culture” they claim is primarily driven by Gangsta Rap and that this music is the cause of the mentality that is ruining the daily life of these youth. Anyone who has studied social science and history understands that the problems facing ghettos across the country are not caused by rap, and certainly not by gangsta rap, a form of music that is less than 25 years old – but the question of whether or not such music makes worse or influences otherwise “good” kids to be “bad” is a legitimate topic for discussion. The rappers response to these criticisms is silly and contradicts all they pride themselves on. The usual response is “don’t blame me…you don’t blame John Wayne for making western movies or Al Pacino for making mob movies, so why blame me for doing the same through music.” The rapper, incredibly, forgets that each time he opens his mouth in a different context, he usually brags that he is “real” and everything he talks about is real, or in short “he spits it, how he lives it.”

Many social scientists argue that the legal system, the social system and the history of the US has caused the problems of the ‘hood and make it impossible for those living there (other than the few exceptions) to make it out.

So what do you guys think? Does rap music cause/contribute or exacerbate the problems in the ‘hood? Or are the problems larger and does massive governmental programs and funding need to be put in place to truly change the conditions that cause such a disproportionate amount of suffering in poor minority communities? I have my thoughts, but want to hear yours first and I’ll respond in the comment section.-TPAR

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