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 RecordingConnection.com, 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?