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 GANGSTA RAP


  By Rowan


HISTORY

Gangsta rap was originally a West Coast phenomenon, and first went mainstream in the 80's with the group N.W.A. (Niggaz With Attitude) from Southern California. Since then, members Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and M.C. Ren have broken apart and released their own music individually. Gangsta rap has rapidly spread across the country and probably around the world. Gangsta Rap has affected no generation more directly than mine, as we have come of age during the height of its popularity.

CONCERNS

Many people have expressed concern over Gangsta rap's presumed effect on youth. Gangsta rap has been shocking from its inception, with more cuss words per sentence than a South Park episode and the constant bragging about the ruthless murders a rapper commits in his or her metaphorical rap world. There are "parental advisory; explicit lyrics" labels, which have graced most "hardcore" Gangsta rap songs, but many parents and educators would like more at their disposal to battle what they see as Gangsta rap's harmful effects. In African American ghettos there is fear that Gangsta rap is just one more thing putting young black men in jail or in the cemetery.

THE DEFENSE

The usual defense rappers and rap fans have made against accusations of immorality has been that rappers are just expressing themselves, and that Gangsta rap gives young black men a chance to make money and avoid the street life, and that rappers are helping ease crime by telling the world the horrors of life in the ghetto. Of course there's the blanket defense for all arts under fire that censorship is wrong. I am also sure there are those who would defend Gangsta rap by defending the Gangsta lifestyle, saying it is a way of life that is hated mostly because it is misunderstood. Rappers say that it is just a reflection of real life.

CONCLUSION

I myself have listened to far more than my share of Gangsta rap. It's hard to say how it's affected my generation. It definitely seems to have affected our dress code. As far as crime goes, most statistics show crime decreasing steadily since the late 80's, which could seem to support the idea that Gangsta rap has actually helped by spreading an awareness of life in the streets. Even for some of us who have listened to and liked Gangsta rap, it has gotten more repetitive and shallow, where once it was new and powerful. It is always a curiosity for me, as I watch it change and grow and affect the world around me.

Other columns by Rowan
Generation Y And The Internet

Elections Survey
Hip Hop, And Its Place In The Generational Soup
THE GENERATION GAP
Among Pirates and Rastas
WTO Protest Has Links With The Past..........



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