My Fine Arts teacher defined rap music as “a style of music made popular by urban blacks in the late 1970s, usually about drugs or violence; promotes gang warfare.” Never have I been forced to write an answer that I’ve disagreed with more.
When asked my favorite style of music, I more times than none will say that rap is my favorite. Usually, I receive laughs or skepticism in response. I guess too many people have the mindset that my fine arts teacher has, so hearing a 5’3″ basic white girl say that she likes rap music must come as a surprise. But why is that? I mean, anyone who has really listened to rap can tell you that it’s not all “drugs, violence, and gangs.”
People associate rap with that because rap is real. Rap doesn’t sugar-coat the issues at hand. Rap brings the issues out and shines a light on them so that they can be seen in their truest forms. Rap can be dark, and it can involve drugs and violence, but so can life.
When you need the truth, do you go to the friend that’s just going to tell you what you want to hear, or do you go to the friend that’s going to be honest with you? Obviously, you go to the honest friend. Do we talk badly about the honest friend because the truth wasn’t what we wanted to hear? No. So why do so many people look down upon rap when all it does is stay real?
When I go to talk to a friend about something that’s bothering me, I don’t want to hear about how the world is all rainbows and sunshine and unicorns all of the time. I want a friend who will look at me and remind me that sometimes life just sucks. The same goes when I listen to music. I like music that’s real. Music that isn’t afraid to remind me that sometimes life just sucks. The world isn’t all rainbows and sunshine and unicorns 24/7, so why should music depict it as such?
Cher in Clueless made a debate on violence in the media, but I want to bring it up here.
So, OK, the Attorney General says there is too much violence on T.V. and that should stop. But even if you took out all the violent shows, you could still see the news. So, until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value. Thank you.
Okay, so it’s not the same thing, but let’s just mold this into what I’m talking about. Just like there’s no point in taking violence out of shows, there’s no point in berating rap music for writing on the violence that the writer has experienced. Nathan Feuerstein, a Christian rapper known by his stage name NF, mentioned his take on this:
I mean, I think sometimes people, they confuse what I’m doing. I write about life, I write about things that I’m actually dealing with– something that I’m actually experiencing. This is real for me.
Rap is poetry. It’s someone’s story. What you may consider as “promoting gang warfare” is actually someone’s way of expressing what they’re going through in life. That’s what I want to hear. That’s why I love rap. I mean, sure, the beat is great sometimes, but the message is what I’m there for. I love that rap can express the darker side of human experience– the pain, the addictions, the depressions. That’s the side of life that should be talked about, and I will happily continue to rap poorly along to that message.
All my love,