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Example research essay topic: Explicit Lyrics Rap Music - 912 words

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Rap Music Rap is currently crossing national borders of the world and has become a key component of global culture. Its migration results in youngsters of all races, creeds, religions, social and economic classes, being exposed to and influenced by it. Therefore, rap is now part of the multicultural world with no borders or limits, and the lyrics / messages are being delivered to everyone, everywhere. Teenagers seem to be the group of individuals who listen most to rap music. Some have argued that the messages in the lyrics result in teenagers taking part in anti-social activity. Statistics show that this is not the case, however, for there seems to be a more intense violence in the black communities than in the white ones.

Much rap provides a spectacle of self-assertion, with images of black rap singers threatening white power structures, while denouncing racial oppression and police violence. All of these issues, unfortunately, result in frustration and hostility, which seems to be the story of young blacks in the inner cities. (Krims 25) Even Tupac Shakurs songs, such as If I Die 2 nite and Death Around the Corner, describe the danger and paranoia of living in the no-peace zones of ghetto communities, where bullets fly more than birds. The sadness and rage of such songs concerns and affects many of the youths lives today, particularly those in black suburban areas. While much of rap contains violence, explicit lyrics, and is often sexist, some is not, many argue. Some rap songs invoke groups that are doing something positive, for a good cause, as well as the black radical heroes and traditions of the past, such as Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and Martin Luther King. Thus, certain rappers, like Public Enemy, are good examples of a political forum.

Through critical and spoken song, rappers are forcing cultural realities into the public arena. However, there are more apolitical, narcissistic, sexist rappers like 2 Live Crew and Snoop Doggy Dog, who are derogatory towards women, portraying them as good for only one thing-sex. (Windfield 18) Furthermore, Snoops songs are obsessed with being a gangster and a lawbreaker who smokes dope and kills without remorse. Snoop is one of the most popular rappers in the circuit today and is widely listened to by a variety of teenagers. So, while the very few political and heroic rap songs do exist in very small numbers, it is the violent and sexually explicit ones that are the rage today. This is what the youth are chanting to. It is true that there have been attempts to warn parents about raps explicit lyrics; that the lyrics and the music are dangerous to the youth of America by placing warning stickers on certain CDs that are deemed inappropriate to teenagers.

However, these little stickers might not be enough to warn the parents. Incidents like the following describe the situation of many teenagers. A 14 year old male, goes into music store and buys Eminem's CD without a parent or supervising adult with him. This particular CD had that warning sticker on it, yet he had no trouble buying it. Furthermore, when he has his friends over after school, and they all memorize and chant along with the lyrics, there are no parents around.

So, what good are the warning labels? It seems to me that they are just a waste of time and money. Its possible to understand the troubled life that todays rappers experience. Although one may not be able to relate to them, one can understand what they are and have been going through with their desire to tell all in the form of music. Theyve been struggling most of their lives and have now found a way to be successful and accumulate money. And many have taken advantage of it.

The high-profile lifestyle is all about flaunting your success. While these experiences may have been negative in every sense of the word, and the rappers are trying to share that with their fans, why cant it be done in a more tactful way? For example, many songs portray the anger and violence of black cultural styles, and incorporate that into their lyrics as a form of self-expression. Its not a suggestion that they cover-up the oppression theyve experienced or the anger they feel at all. In fact, since thats a part of American history, it should be told.

Maybe the lyrics could be cleaned up a bit, and can even suggest peaceful solutions to the problems encountered along the way. So instead of imparting so much negativity, which is a bad influence to todays youth, cleaning up the lyrics would then send a positive message to teenagers, encouraging them not to bottle up their anger, but rather to take some positive steps to counteract the negativity-in a peaceful and intelligent way. That message would suggest that there are solutions at the end of the tunnel, and there is a way out of the violent worlds they live in. They just have to do the right thing, take the right steps, and try to make a better life for themselves. While this isnt easy, and it takes time, it is possible. Word Count: 864 Bibliography: Krims, Adam.

Rap music and the poetics of identity. 2000. Windfield, Betty Houchin and Sandra Davidson, eds. Bleep! censoring rock and rap music. 1999. Blake, Andrew, ed. Living through pop. 1999.

Bennett, Andy. Popular music and youth culture: Music, identity, and place. 1999.


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