31 March 2012
Defining Rap and Hip-Hop Music and Its Controversies
Rap music has become a significant component of American culture since its transformation into the mainstream. Since then, rap music has shown its positive and negative sides in many ways, rap music first began being an outlet into a new way to simply have a good time to promoting social commentary. It often discussed the faults of urban living, race relations, social commentary, and police brutality (McLeod, 2000). Many rappers have expressed these topics over the years. Although many have categorized this musical genre as one that has the influence to ignite violence, rap music also has an unnoticed positive effect that contains a stronger underlying message.
In the fall of 1991, a song entitled “Brenda’s Got a Baby” was released. The song expressed the trials and tribulations of a twelve year old girl named “Brenda”, who lives in an impoverished area of an inner city who was molested my a family member, her cousin, and she becomes pregnant. The song is structured in the form of a narrative story. Brenda becomes a victim of becoming a teenage mother who is incapable of supporting and the problem creates a strain for her mother, whom of which is a single parent (AllMusic, 2009). This song became the soundtrack on the issue of teenage pregnancy that was extremely relevant then and still is today. Also, this particular song was not a song in the genre of Gospel or R&B, but this was a Hip-Hop/Rap song, released by the famed, late rap artist Tupac Shakur, or stylized as 2Pac. Being referred to simply as 2Pac, early within his career, he was essentially known for promoting social commentary with many chart-topping such as “Brenda’s Got a Baby” (1991) and “Keep Ya Head Up”, released in the fall of 1993. Many rappers like 2Pac have expressed social awareness through song and their main focus was to motivate America’s urban youth.
Many other rap artists and rap groups have recorded songs of...