Growing criticism on mainstream rap music

Jaelan Leonard | Contributing Writer

Hip-hop/rap music is a global phenomenon that permeates every facet of our society.

Hip-hop doesn’t just influence the mainstream, it is the mainstream. However, its recent decline in sales and growth in criticism have said otherwise.

In a span of more than 40 years, rap music has evolved to fit the cultural aspects of the changing society.

Many individuals use rap music as a form of expression to explain ongoing problems that they are facing.

The internet has changed the music industry to allow for creative musical expression.

It is also a great tool that allows independent musicians to find a global audience without having to have major labels back them up.

According to, the internet has made music more accessible to the public and has also made it difficult for artists to make money in the process.

Hip-hop began in the 1970s and originated in New York City. Back then, hip-hop gave the black and Latino youth an outlet to express themselves.

The development created a movement that influenced how people dress, speak and socialize with peers. “Gangster rap” quickly followed suit and spread like wildfire in the 1980s.

It was marked as the beginning of a “rough era.”

Kayla Key, a senior from Pittsburgh, said, “In my opinion, I feel like I’ve heard a lot of the same kind of beats, and I feel like there’s not a lot of originality.”

In a poll of African-Americans by The Associated Press and AOL-Black Voices last year, 50 percent of respondents said hip-hop was a negative force in American society.
Despite this poll, many young Americans still idolize these upcoming rappers.

Hip-hop/rap music has been blamed for a variety of social injustices.

Studies have shown that there is an attempted link from rap music to teen drug use and increased sexual activity.

Many people believe that the sole purpose of today’s rap music is to make profit, and that the era of lyricism and storytelling is ending.

Also, there’s a criminal aspect that has been related to rap music.

In the ’70s, groups may have rapped about drug-dealing and street violence, but rap stars weren’t the embodiment of criminals themselves.

In today’s era, the most popular and successful rappers boast about murders, dealing drugs and sexualizing women.

“It all depends on the artists that you listen to,” Gabrielle Snipes, a Hampton alumna, said.

“On the trap side, you are definitely going to get rappers who talk about drugs, living in the trap, etc. Other artists discuss awareness on certain [topics] like mental illness.”

Criticism of hip-hop/rap music is nothing new; it has become a part of the culture.

The question is, will society fuel the progression of horrible music or uplift the ones who are trying to make a breakthrough by returning hip-hop to originality?


Diet changes: College meals or home-cooked meals?

Jaelan Leonard | Contributing Writer

Courtesy of Taylor Harris

College life can have its ups and downs. Students who attend college un- derstand the struggles that come along with it. There are long nights spent on homework assignments, upcoming exams to study for and challenging classes that may require tutoring. After a while, the stress can take a toll.

As a result, daily eating habits may suffer, which will impact performance inside and outside of the classroom.

Diet changes are normal when a student rst steps foot onto a college campus. Some individuals’ diet changes are bene cial if they are trying to eat healthy. For others, the changes can be detrimental. The adjustment from eating home-cooked meals to eating cafeteria food may or may not be a satisfying plan.

The cafeteria does offer food for nutritional purposes, but they are limited to what they serve in a day for the whole student body. The food that you eat for the rst time, you will be eating for the second and third time until you start to get sick of eating the same thing for a week.

“I used to eat the same thing every time I [went] to the [cafeteria] because there weren’t a lot of options available on campus,” Hampton University sophomore architecture major Erin Paul said.

Many students prefer to have control over what they can eat and how they prefer to make it themselves. In the café, students are stuck with what is served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. If a student were to go on a diet for nutritional purposes, the café does offer healthy food options, but there is not much to choose from if someone is trying to keep an everyday routine going.


On the other hand, many students only have the option to eat at the cafe teria, so they’ll eat at all times of the day. They may feel a sense of new- found freedom due to the fact that they can eat whenever and however they want. When students rst go to college and have the option to eat throughout the day, this can lead to the infamous weight gain known as the “freshman 15.” Mallory Pitchford, a sophomore kinesiology major, said she experienced a change in eating habits while on campus.


“I eat three times a day here, [but] I don’t eat three times a day at home,” Pitchford said. “I eat healthier meals at home, [but] we have a choice to eat whatever we would like to here.”

Adjusting to eating patterns from home versus college can be a trouble- some process to endure.

Managing time wisely can be beneficial, especially when it comes down to planning a daily eating schedule. This way, a student can fit in meals and avoid stress.


“Knowing people who live off campus allows me to go over to their house to cook my own food whenever I want to, so I’m not limited to café food,” senior kinesiology major Meshala Morton said.

Life is about making choices, and sometimes it’s the smallest decision that can in uence a lifestyle. It takes self-discipline to eat properly as op- posed to what one would eat at home.

College meals aren’t too problematic. Instead, it’s how one chooses to make use of them and take control of a diet.