The Vision

Bowles: The Worst of Us

Dairian Bowles, Staff Writer

The positive effects of hip hop and music in general are hard to deny. It has developed significantly over the years and has given many young impoverished African Americans an avenue to express themselves through spoken word.  Although hip hop does have its many positives, it can also have a detrimental effect on the audience it is intended to reach. It is no secret that there are many rap songs that glorify gangs and violence, in fact it is one of the biggest concerns people have with the genre.

The rappers themselves like to deny it, but they have a significant effect on the behaviors of the young African American boys. A lot of artists who perform “Gangster Rap” glorify violence and the selling of drugs.  They take the darkest aspects of black communities, and rather than denounce them, put them on a pedestal, and make crime seem admirable. They talk about theft and murder as if they’re shining accomplishments.

Of course, not every child who listens to this will become a cold-blooded murderer, but the possibility is still there. These young black boys who grow up in broken homes, trapped in the confinements of poverty, see the flashy cars and scantily clad models in rap videos and desire to obtain that life.  They are also misled to believe that through peddling drugs and joining gangs, they will acquire enormous amounts of money, and obtain the life of glamour and gold that they are accustomed to seeing in videos.

Unfortunately, when a lot of these young men get into these gangs, and sell the drugs, rather than being met with the lavish lifestyle they have seen and heard about, they are met with closed caskets or prison cells.  These artists who promote murder, theft, gangs, and drugs, can play an integral role in poisoning the black youth, leading them to add to tired statistics and the degradation of many black communities.

It also doesn’t help much that these rappers like to promote paths that deny and undermine education, boasting about how they didn’t need school to get rich. They gloat about how they didn’t need college, and how they skipped class in high school, and the young black boys seeking to mimic these “idols” do the same.  One of the worst parts of this is that these men who try to feed lies to the black youth, come from the same conditions and the same broken homes, and instead of trying to stray these boys from the wrong path, they endanger these boys by selling the false dreams.

It is also sad that a lot of these rappers don’t even come from the same conditions as those they influence, and live a lie in hopes of looking cool and making a profit, indifferent to who gets hurt in the process.  This influence isn’t absolute, and it is far from the only problem plaguing black communities, but it is an important issue nonetheless.

Hip Hop has also done a lot to positively influence young African American men, and give African Americans and many others, an avenue for self-expression. There is also music that displays and criticizes gangs, violence, and drugs. But unfortunately it sometimes falls on deaf ears or doesn’t grace the young boys’ ears at all, and all they can hear is music that glorifies the worst of us.

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