Music, as they say can soothe the savage beast. Yes, that is true, as I am sure you have discovered. However, music, depending on its form, is like a two edged blade and cuts both ways. Just as powerfully as music can soothe, it can also incite, agitate and misinform. And since by and large the majority of those who listen to this type of music are between the ages of 13 and 21, this amongst other reasons is why each of us should be aware of the music that incites our youth in a negative way, just as much as we are aware of the music that soothes.
Gangster ("Gangsta") Rap is a form of music that when it is heard, it either causes us to turn up the volume, or turn it off completely – there is no middle ground. It is a hard acidic type of music – much like the acid rock of the 80's, that has a definite message for its listeners – and that message is clear – "fight the powers that be". In the Gangsta Rap world, authority figures are the enemy, and should not be respected or listened to. The lyrics if you will always always based on the same theme – do not trust the police or the permissions that they are out to get you, kill you, jail you or otherwise suppress you – and women for the most part are to be treated like either your favorite SUV – use them when you need them – discard them or put them away when you do not.
In most of the Gangsta Rap lyrics, what also stands out is that real men do not adhere to any law except for the laws they create for themselves; real men do not bother with being fathers and husbands; real men take what they need for the day – whether that be expensive alcohol, drugs or "bling" of some sort – and the rest is not important.
Gangsta Rap began at the same time that Hip Hop music did, and many times the two genres are confused. Although both have a hypnotic "rap" type of lyric and pounding bass background – the lyrics are what makes these two types of music different.
A Quick Tutorial – Gangsta Rap or Hip Hop – Can You Tell The Difference?
One quick way to tell the difference between Gangsta Rap and Hip Hip is – that they polar oppose in their message to their listeners- Hip Hop artists walk the walk and the talk the talk that they "Rap" about. For instance, how real men treat women and their children with respect and how real men need to "step up" and take care of their own – Gangsta Rap artists walk, talk and promote just the opposite. Hip Hop states that real men are not defined by the cars they drive (including the spinners on the wheels) or the "bling" they buy and wear – Gangsta Rap promotes just the opposite. The most compelling difference between Gangsta Rap and Hip Hop is the use of the "B" word – Yes, both genres use the word – but like anything else – it is that important – not surely that fact that it is used. Just because you turn on the radio and hear a true Hip Hop artist say "bitch" should not cause you to turn the station off – listen to HOW the word is used. Gangsta Rap uses the word as a general term for women – if a woman is not a bitch – she is a Ho – and a Bitch or Ho is only good for a couple of things – making the man look good – or making the man feel good – if she is not doing either of those things – she needs to be set aside, end of story. Hip Hop uses the word in a whole different way – they say the word to project the message to women that they are NOT a bitch nor a ho and that they should not allow anyone to treat them or call them either word; they state in their lyrics that they would NEVER call their woman a bitch or a ho and that any man who does – does not respect him – because from women all men were born. Hip Hop talks about women as in relationships – Gangsta Rap talks about women as a commodity to be bought or sold or simply recycled.
Get Ready for the "B Side"
The other insidious part about the growing popularity of Gangsta Rap is the fact that whether you know it or not – you nor I have control over the music we hear on the radio or on music video television shows. Stay Tuned for the second part of this article – " The Powers that Be – Is the Music Industry Prostituting The Music?"