“If music be the food of love, play on…” Said Duke Orsino in one of my favorite quotes and one of my favorite Shakespeare novel, Twelfth Night.
Music could indeed be the food of love and much more. It has the capability to transcends barriers, whether racial or otherwise. It is one of the most powerful tool available to man but can also be a dangerous weapon if in the wrong hands. Music can be the food for other things that are not so loving.
In a series of blogs, I will set out to look at some of the more popular genres that I regularly listen to and how they affect me and maybe even you. Are they the food of love? Or the food of anger, hate and other anti-social behavior? I enjoy all music and each affects me differently. Now let’s unwrap rap music.
Forgive me if I step on toes or go against the grain with my take.
As a bar-hopping twenty and thirty-something, rap was my get-me-pumped music of choice. If I wanted to get attitudal, rap was the pill. At the bars, I would chill and listen to the likes of Easy E and NWA. Under the influence of rap, straight or mixed with alcohol, I walked around feeling like I should be packing heat and wasting all haters who dissed me or got all up in my grill. When the music stopped, I was unfortunately, still just skinny old me, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Some of my friends were more influenced and succumbed to the music. Fights after the bar were all too common. ”Step to me, punk! How you gonna play me, bi@@h!” were the common phrases tossed around. (Now where have you heard them before?).
I drove around with rap music pulsating through my windows and dared the drivers beside me to do something about it. Rap made me feel tough. I wanted to have that ‘who cares’ attitude just like the rappers did. They looked at me menacingly from my tv screen and beckoned me to join some sort of rap brotherhood. Even the way I drove was influenced by the music and videos I watched. Leaning way too far back in my seat with one arm outstretched on the wheel and my head tilted. Total gangsta. If I was listening to rap, I had to look the part. I wasn’t packing heat but I felt like I was. I was ready to throw down.
Rap music preys on our young children’s mind. With lyrics that promote bullying, drug use and criminal lifestyle, it appeals to their longing to fit in and be a part of the scene. White teeny girls feel tough as they talk gangsta and hang with the rapper crowd. Boys wear their pants around their knees as their idols do and use disrespectful language and signs. Love is definitely not in the air.
This is not saying that rap music on a whole is bad and should not be listened to. It would be hypocritical of me as I know that there are some very good rappers out there who deserve a listen. Eminem is a master at his craft. A few questionable lyrics in some of his songs but one of my favorite lyricist. There’s also Rap Gospel for those who like rap but want something with a positive message. Rapping is an art form. I envy the way my fledgling-rapper nephew could put lyrics together effortlessly and spit like a quick-firing machine gun without biting his tongue.
In my opinion, no music genre right now packs a powerful but negative punch as rap does. From clothing, to speech, to video games, rap has the market cornered. As for being food of love, I say nay.
Check back for my take on Country.
- Who’s Too Old For a Rap Concert? Part 1 (joneekhoff.wordpress.com)
- Women Rappers Empowered (hiphop3180.wordpress.com)
- Rap (gcmpacaquaticindustries.wordpress.com)
- Rap Music’s Blatant Satanism (henrymakow.com)
- What I Learned About the Seattle Rap Scene (joneekhoff.wordpress.com)
- Rap Music’s Blatant Satanism (thetruthseeker.co.uk)