Violence & Hip Hop
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
A discussion of Hip Hop's never ending love story with violence.
The music industry has had its fair share of controversy throughout the years. Hip Hop has always been considered to be the most influential and controversial genres in music. With that comes a lot of negative criticism and a great deal of scrutiny. One of the biggest concerns both music & non-music followers have expressed is Hip Hop and its connection or glorification of violence.
Rappers have been scrutinized by critics for their overly graphic & explicit lyrics or videos. Violence has plagued the rap industry, but has also given opportunity for many rappers to start their careers. Unfortunately, it's also put an end to those whose careers or lives could not out live the violence. With so many rappers preaching a “ live by the gun, die by the gun” or “thug life” philosophy, the question asked by many; Should rappers be held accountable for any violence their music or the lifestyle they portray or discuss?
Artists like N.W.A, Ice-T, Schoolly D have been credited have introduced & popularized gangster rap and have been heavily criticized for doing so. N.W.A is a prime example of such backlash & criticism, having them be banned from television & radio, many believe their explicit lyrics encourage crime and defiance of law enforcement. N.W.A claimed that their songs were not created to encourage crime or violence, but to share their past & present experiences with the world.
I’d like to propose a set of questions to the past and present artists in Hip Hop and do its dedicated fans: Do you believe the lyrics and images in some of favorite Hip Hop’s most beloved artists songs/videos have any influence or affect our attitudes, perceptions or actions? Can Hip Hop can exist or continue on without the glorification of Misogyny, Violence, or “Gang Banging”? Why is it that artists in the industry use these notions to promote or drive their artistry?
If rappers are to be held accountable for the violent actions of others at their shows, then accountability should span across all genres and art forms. Blaming an entire genre of music for the actions of few individuals who take these portrayals literal and close minded beliefs of others, seems to be a stunted act that may be due for reflection.