The Sound of Crime?

Morgan Daniels

Mississippi Senator candidate Chris McDaniel associates rap music with “a culture that is morally bankrupt.” With no factual evidence to back that statement up, it raises the question of how rap is perceived. 



“Rap, musical style in which rhythmic and/or rhyming speech is chanted (“rapped”) to musical accompaniment (Britannica)”. The genre that is known as rap was created in New York and was played heavily at block parties. According to NPR rap is the isolation of percussion breaks in funk, soul, and disco songs. 

 (NPR 2007)


Rap was made by African Americans and other minority groups. Therefore black people are the ones being in rap videos and participating in the lifestyle that comes along with rapping. The way rap videos and rap music depict black people in America is far different from how pop music and pop videos depict white people.  


Of the most recognized mainstream rap music, it’s often used in a negative connotation and depicts black people selling drugs, participating in gang violence, and worshiping materialistic items.


Dr. Umar, a phycologist and activist, gives his opinion “Every Rap song is the same shit money, women, kill somebody, go to jail, smoke some weed, worship materialism, every album is the same. It may be a different rapper, different clique…but the content is the same.”  

(The NI#@A Factory) 


It’s the marketing and promotion of rap music that makes a big impact. This music is targeted towards young people and even children. 


12th grade English teacher Christopher Jackson gives some insight, “The foundation of learning is music right, you learned your ABCs…you know how to count and all these things with music and movement, right. So, if you’re hearing these lyrics and…it’s messaging these curse words and all that, you remember them.”


It’s easy to market rap music because it sounds great but also because it creates an image of black people that have been used for centuries. The image of drug dealing, exploiting women, and gang violence. 


In the YouTube series “The NI#@A Factory” Tom Burell states “One of the greatest propaganda campaigns of all time was the masterful marketing of the myth of black inferiority to justify slavery within a democracy, ingenious!”. He is stating how the market of rap contributes to the myth of black inferiority which then justifies what’s really going on. 


There is a difference between rap that depicts African Americans in a demeaning way and rap that tells a story or shows experiences that the lyricist has been through. 


“…Authentic lyricist write what they have experienced, and I’m not saying that anything is wrong with that, but…it crosses the line when you’re glorifying something…I can tell when…lyricists are glorifying violence or glorifying degrading women…I can sense that, but then I can also sense, the storyteller,” Jackson states. “Telling, you know, what happens in their neighborhood, or what happened to their neighborhood and how they reacted to it, things like that, right”.


Since there are more lies being perpetuated by these rap artists it’s important to see how that can affect the minority population. 


.“Hip hop is based on keeping it real and keeping it one hundred, most people don’t get the artists that they are idolizing and they assume because you say it you are it,” says Lonzo Williams a member of the music group World Class Wrecking Crew says. “Guys in this very room was rapping about going to the penitentiary and being all this, I said wait a minute I’ve been knowing you the last past ten years when did you go to the pen quote on quote [he said] “I ain’t been to the pen yet”… it was like it was a badge of honor.” 

(The NI#@A Factory)


There is no reason why people should stop listening to rap altogether but there should be a line drawn between the people making the music, demanding the music, and selling the music. That music line should make clear that the way they are portraying a group is important. There are ways to make music sound great without glorifying things like gang violence and the degradation of minority women. Once again there is a difference between telling a story and lying for clout. 


“It worries me because I see how it is actually influencing the generations,where you have people that are young men and of all races just saying things [and] doing things that they constantly are being fed in their phones,” said Jackson.