Effects of rap and hip-hop lyrics on teen language / behaviour

By : Prapanna Lahiri

Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Rap as “a type of popular music with a fast strong rhythm and words which are spoken fast, not sung.” It is kind of chanting of rhyming speech or poetry combined to musical beat. Such improvisational poetry sounds catchy and is something one can dance to. Rap and hip hop are two of the most popular genres – or styles – of music. The hip hop subculture grew first among the African American and Latino American communities. Initially focussing on issues that were not receiving regular media attention the subject matter later ranged from local events to relationships. Hip hop music is meant to express hope for the future and to remember the successes of the past. Rap artists are predominately men while hip hop music is a mixture of men and woman. The American rapper and hip-hop philosopher KRS One distinguished the two terms stating that rap is something that is done, while hip-hop is something that is lived.

These two genres have had enormous impact on mass media and modern western culture in as much as they influence everything from commercials to politics. There are mixed effects when one turns to the effects of hip hop/ rap Music on the younger generation of today. While some rap and hip-hop music and the artists can stand for good influences on the youth promoting self expression, this genre of music also can have some extremely negative impact on the attitudes and behaviours of the young. With the rising popularity of rap music, teens have been turning to music to help solve their problems. But sadly, this style of music instead of being helpful has proved to be very destructive. The effects of these lyrics on adolescent language and behaviour have been huge, influencing and damaging the minds of children, teens and young adults, making them more violent and aggressive. More and more students in America are being arrested and taken to juvenile detention centres due to fighting or bringing weapons to school.

The provocative lyrics began promoting violence, money, drugs, alcohol, sex and degrading women. The influence of such lyrics is inappropriate for children since they tend to mimic what they see and hear. This is undesirable as the society does not want them to mimic the rappers. The future generation needs to be shielded from the inappropriate impact of rap and hip hop music of today.








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