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?


From the books to the Billboards: 3 stars who made it big

Jordan Parker| Contributing Writer


You can find “Soundcloud artists” throughout your Twitter, Facebook, and, sometimes, Instagram inboxes. It takes time and dedication to get your name and work out there, and even more hard work to make sure your notability lasts.

With a surplus of Soundcloud artists, musicians with actual talent must work even harder to get their sounds heard.

To some serious artists it has become evident that it takes more than just twitter promotion to make music your profession. Here are some artists who successfully planned and executed their journey into the music profession:


Lil Uzi Vert

Not long ago, Uzi was working as a stock boy. He found that his rapping friends were getting a lot of attention in high school, and that he could in turn do the same. Uzi started his rap career freestyling over beats he found via YouTube, and uploading them to Soundcloud.

In the beginning, Uzi would average a couple hundred streams. Not long after, his work got the attention of DJ BuzzWorthy. Buzzworthy introduced Uzi to producer Charlie Heat and Power 99 DJ, DJ Diamond Kuts. Another very important preliminary co-sign was from the late A$AP Yams. Yams took to Twitter, telling his followers that one day Uzi would be a star. By this point, Uzi had developed a more professional sound and was able to get his song “Uzi”, produced by Charlie Heat, played on the radio. That radio play opened the floodgates of music professionals ready to work with Uzi. From there his life of stardom began.

Uzi has now worked with artists like A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, and Young Thug who inspired his come up. In 2016, Uzi signed with Generation Now and Atlantic Records, adding a nice sum of cash to his pocket.




Metro Boomin

In high school, Metro Boomin played bass guitar in a band and also dabbled with piano. However, he was most passionate about making bangers. In his high school years, Metro produced an average of 5 beats a day. Metro credits his lack of a social life for his ability to produce so much content and keep his grades ‘boomin’ at the same time.

He would send beats for free via MySpace and Twitter to any artist that would take them. Metro’s favorite artists coming up were Gucci and Young Jeezy. In turn he met an audio engineer named Caveman who introduced him to OJ the Juiceman. Juiceman liked Metro’s work so much that he was invited to meet him in Atlanta.

From there he was introduced to Gucci Mane who linked him with recording artist Future. Future’s track “Karate Chop” landed Metro his first Billboard Top 100. 





Jay Z
Sean Carter, aka Jay Z, is one of hip-hop’s most influential figures. Jay Z was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. In high school, he even shared halls with Notorious B.I.G, AZ, and Busta Rhymes. Jay earned a gig on Big Daddy Kane’s tour in the late 80’s. As he tried making a name for himself in the rap game no labels were giving him any attention. Jay then took matters into his own hands and established his own record label, Roc-A-Fella Records. He eventually sold the company for $11.5 million. Jay now has a reported net worth of about $600 million, making him and his wife Beyoncé a billion dollar couple. Can you say “black excellence?!”


There’s no guarantee to fame in the rap industry, so it’s important to constantly plan and work towards your goal if it’s something that you truly want.