Words without violence

Music genre receives negative stereotype for its agressiveness


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It’s everywhere by now. In your homes, your movies and on your phones. Whether you listen to it or not, there is no avoiding that hip-hop is our generation’s rock n’ roll. But just like rock n’ roll, hip-hop is often judged way too harshly. While I agree that it can express violence and can be filled to the brim with naughty words, it can also be deep and influential. It all depends on the artist that you listen to.

Most mainstream hip-hop is based around Atlanta and other southern rappers, making artists like Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Kevin Gates and the rap trio, Migos, the face of new age hip-hop. Since they are the most widely known, their lyrics and songs are what people base their opinions of rap off of. This is the problem. Hip-hop is stereotyped off of just a couple of artists. People fail to get a full understanding of the genre before branding it as awful. But this isn’t something that has been going on for a short time.

This has been around since the days of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. For example, people criticized both major artists for inciting violence on the East and West Coasts. However, a rapper by the name of Nas released an album by the name of “Illmatic” that was completely overlooked then. Unlike the music that Tupac and Biggie were putting out (which was a lot of “kill this, kill that”), Nas’ album was very poetic in nature. Now, it is considered one of the greatest albums of all time.

Also, people judge an artist’s music and personality without even listening to them. Nobody exemplifies this more than rapper Kanye West. West is often criticized for being crazy, self-centered and unintelligent. While he may be crazy and self-centered, he is. His lyrics show this on several occasions. He can also be very deep and emotional. In a recent song, entitled “Only One,” he talks in the point of view of his mother, who passed away in 2007, looking down on him from heaven.

Another artist that represents hip-hop well is Kendrick Lamar. Lamar’s sophomore album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” was very recieved and is considered incredible. The album has outros on many of the songs that tell the story of Lamar’s journey from a neighborhood thug to an enlightened member of society. Also on the album is a song entitled “Swimming Pools.” In the song, Lamar details his struggle with alcohol and his recovery from it. This, among his intelligent lyrics, make him a viable defense for rap music.

Artists like these and many others show how rap is not all about violence. Judging should be based around all of the genre, not just a small portion of it. Hip-hop is a beautiful style of music thats should be deeply explored before it is criticized. Just like rapper Big K.R.I.T. said in the song “Lac Lac,” all you have to do is “open your mind.”