we cant handle the truth about hip hop

I solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You can’t handle the truth about Hip-Hop and its influences on our youths! Some view hip-hop music purely as a form of entertainment, others see it as glorification of violence, and some see it as a way to express themselves. Hip-hop music encompasses a vast audience, demographically and culturally. Whether you agree, disagree, or undecided hip-hop music for better or worse is impacting our youths and has found a home in our society.

Hip-hop music can be positive; it can also have a negative impact on the attitudes and behaviors of our youths. Hip-hop music is known for its realism and is used to talk about everyday life. Description about the drug trade and violent acts are a part of the lyrics in hip-hop music. For years mainstream radio stations ignored rap music because it was considered too loud, vulgar, and full of violence. Many argued that rap music is demeaning to women and rap videos depict women engaging in disorderly conduct. The rap artist who goes by the alias Snoop Dogg in his video “The Next Episode” portrays women in a negative way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZXc39hT8t4. These videos also showed men and women using drugs, drinking alcohol, and sporting guns. Many believed that the violent message in rap music has had a negative influence on the youths because it encourages crime rather than denouncing it. Hip-hop artists would refer to drugs that youths had not heard of or been exposed to and this could spark their curiosity about drugs. But who is really to be blame for the negative effects of hip-hop on the youths, believe me there seems to be plenty of blame to go around. In the article “The Hip-Hop Hearings Part 2 posted by Jeff Chang’s it states, “It is time to wake up and see the real issue – that media conglomerates are the gatekeepers of content and in essence control what opinions receive airtime. As might seem obvious, what best serves the public, and what best serves the bottom line are not always the same” The question here is, why is hip-hop having a negative impact on our youths? If they are not the one’s who control what is being aired on the radio. Corporations are the one who ultimately decides what is played on the radio because they are the one who profit the most from this kind music. It’s no different from these corporations whose advertisement target the youths knowing the dangerous effects of smoking. So why is Hip-Hop being single out for having a negative effect on the youth. In an interview done by Lisa Fager’s as a part of the Hip Hearings Ms. Fager states, “African American children listen and watch more radio and television than any other demographic. Although Top 40 and Hip Hop radio stations claim to target the 18-34 demographic their largest audience shares are the 12-17 year old segment. Recording companies, radio stations and Viacom networks are aware of their audience but have chosen to put the bottom line above the welfare of their audiences.” These corporations are well aware of the age group that they are targeting.

Some argue that the hip-hop culture has had a positive effect and help poor youths make it out of poverty and escape the violence. It is a way that youths express their frustration and anger, for others who live outside of their world to hear their voices, feel their pain, and understands their struggles. For example, rap artist Tupac Shakur in his song titled Keep Ya Head Up used a soothing melody to talk about his life as a poor youth growing up in the projects. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfXwmDGJAB8 it’s not just the lyrics that catch your attention, but it is also about how this song makes you feel and how it lift your spirits. The melody along with the calmness in his voice reassures you that no matter how hard life is and what issues you are face with, in the end it’s going to be okay. Tupac Shakur used the perfect melody and tone to help get his message to the youths. The emotions and pain in his voice as he talks about how we should keep our heads up, and that there will be brighter days as we go through life’s struggles. Hip-hop music is similar to folk music in that it too represents the voice of the people, fueling protest, highlighting injustices and defining generations. Folk and hip-hop music are known to inspired and represented the voice of the people. Sometimes you have to go beyond the lyrics and listen to the melody and the tone in order to understand folk and hip-hop music. Folk and Hip-hop music can inspire and bring us all together.

Some hip-hop artist has used their fame and fortune to be a role model, to influence inner city youths, and to raise awareness to social issues that impact our community. The hip-hop community came out in full force to support their candidates in the last two presidential elections. Artist such as Jay-z participated in the presidential election and influenced young voters and minorities to vote, so that their voices could be heard.

Hip-hop music expanded from the urban communities to the suburbs and has now become a global phenomenon among youths. The willingness to accept this form of music in spite of its violent, loud, and vulgar lyrics is a clear indication of the change that has taken place with this generation of youths. Many continue to use the music as away to express themselves, while others just listen to the music as a form of entertainment. Every time we turn on the radio, surf the web, watch a game, or watch an advertisement the voice of hip-hop is being heard. In the article “The Hip-Hop Hearings Part 2 posted by Jeff Chang’s it states, “Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I’ll get better. If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence, sexism and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed…Hip-hop is sick because America is sick.” Blaming hip-hop for the situations that many youths face is like putting a band-aid on a 3rd degree burn. The issues concerning our youths go far beyond hip-hop music. It’s time to stop blaming hip-hop and focus on the real issues that affect the youths in our community.


Role of music in the civil rights movement

The people involved in the Civil Rights movement practiced non-violence and carried no weapons. The only thing the marchers had was each other and their music to cheer themselves up and to lift their spirits when they were being ridiculed and beaten on their journey. Music gave them courage and strength. The civil rights marchers used music as their self-defense. Martin Luther King Jr. said “I believe music has this unbelievable power that can help people from across the nations come together as a whole” They used music to keep their minds focused on what they were trying to achieve. Songs like “People Get Ready” prepared the marchers mentally for what they would have to endure during their march to express themselves non-violently. During the Civil right Movement music played a huge role because it helped African Americans express themselves and let people know what was going on during that time. It also helped people to come together and relax and forget about their problems. Musicians like Nina Simone used her music to advance the cause of the movement. The song I wish I knew related to how it would feel to be free.


The marchers of the civil rights movement used music to prepare them to face obstacles, such as segregation, hatred and basic rights our founding fathers describe in the constitution. These Powerful men marched on to Washington and belted out powerful hymns, and played the great song, “We Shall Overcome,” the theme song of the movement.

The music was powerful because it fit perfectly with what African Americans was going through at the time. Many people faced adversity, but they had music and the will to win, and that is why marchers were able to sing, and use music as motivation, and as self-defense. Marchers who were beaten and put in jail during the Civil Rights Movement would sing songs to uplift them and help them to stay focus on their main goal.

Music like jazz was very important to the civil right movement because both blacks and whites enjoy listening to jazz music. This helped because it showed people that blacks and whites like the same type of music. Jazz music also helped people like Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday speak out on issues that were impacting them and their communities. People would not speak out on the issues that were going on because they were afraid that would be put in jail or killed.

The Civil Rights movement had jazz, folk, R&B, and gospel music that everybody could relate to and be inspired by to help bring about change. Songs such as “We Shall Overcome” the unofficial anthem for the Civil Rights movement is still being used in many circles where individuals are protesting or are being oppressed. “Go Tell It to the Mountain” uses biblical reference of freeing the Jews from Egypt symbolic to freeing African Americans that were being oppressed during those times. “People Get Ready” captured the optimism and excitement of the Civil Rights Movement. Bob Dylan song “Times They Are Changin” captured the turmoil, and the spirit that surrounded the Civil Rights movement. There were individuals from all walks of life who used music to express themselves and voice their opinions in support of the Civil Rights movement. Music was instrumental to the Civil Rights movement, it’s powerful, it gave the marchers courage, and hope, strength and most of all music inspired them.

work song tradition in northern europe

Music encompasses a vast audience demographically and culturally. In the world we live in many individuals use music as a way to express themselves. For example, the Ghanaian postal worker incorporates music into his daily work to help the time go by in a more creative way. Stamping letters for long periods of time, I assume would be extremely boring and pain staking, which can cause mistakes because you are just going through the motions. The Ghanaian postal worker decided to incorporate his stamping to create a steady beat to help him stamp each letter in a certain amount of time. It appears as though when he felt that he was falling behind he would pick up the beat by stamping two, three, four, and five letters at a time. Not only did he use the work song to help do his daily task but maybe he was able to find a way to incorporate his love for music into his daily work. In the Ghanaian video not everyone was singing while doing their respective task. So I truly believe he found a way to incorporate his passion for music into his work.
In comparison to the Sea Shanties in Northern Europe who used different songs to complete their tasks while working on ships. The Sea Shanty was used to set the pace. For example, “Hard on the Beech Oar” (or Shawnee Town) was used to help the sailors roar faster/slower and it can even be used to describe their surroundings and personal affairs. For example, look at the lyrics below and the YouTube link below <a http://www.youtube.com/watch?
“Whiskey's in the jug, boys; wheat is in the sack.
 Float them down to Shawneetown and bring the rock salt back. Now the current's got her boys-take in some slack. 
Float her down to Shawneetown and bushwhack her back I got a wife in Louisville, and one in New Orleans.
When I get to Shawneetown I’ll see my Indian Queen. The water's mighty warm boys, the air is cold and dank.
And the fog is so damned thick you cannot see the bank” The Sea Shanties from Northern Europe as compare to the Ghanaian postal worker use work song for much more than just keeping up with mind numbing and pain staking work, it seems as though the sea shanties were more descriptive and structured. Although both are work songs they differ in their musical style and meaning.
In conclusion, the work tradition songs are similar because they were both used to past the time with the workers daily task. However, they differ in their lyrics, rhymes, rhythm, and beat. The sea shanty used lyrics to communicate their surroundings, whether to work at a faster/slower pace, and at times to communicate their personal experiences and lifestyle. The Ghanaian postal worker used the work song to express their love of music. There love of music is so great that they found ways to incorporate music in their daily work. Music is the center of African culture and can be found not only in the workplace, but also in many other aspects of the African culture.

what is music?

What is Music? Music means a lot of different things to different people. For example, some may view music purely as a form of entertainment and others may see it as a way to express themselves.  Music encompasses a vast audience, demographically and culturally.  Lets look at the way music has evolved and the influence people over the years.

Some people see music as a form of entertainment; they simply enjoy the different genres. Whether its rock, country, jazz, pop, or rap music they enjoy the beautiful sounds that allow them to unwind from a stressful day or for a college kid like myself simply to go out and party.

Unfortunately, in the world we live in many individuals use music as a way to express themselves. For example, inner city youths use music as a medium to express their life and the injustices that take place in their poverty stricken neighborhood. They use music to express how drugs and violence are part of their everyday lives. Some individuals use and see music as the only way out of their present situation.

In the end, music is what we make it.  Whether it’s entertainment or expression or just a way for us to unwind from that stressful day, we simply cannot have a society without music.