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Rap Music is Bad for Your Health – Rap Rehab

    I’ve been listening to Hip-Hop/Rap music for nearly 20 years.  Its given me so much to be thankful for in its inspiration and the memories I’ve created because of it.  I can’t honestly tell you where I’d be today if it wasn’t for Tupac Shakur’s music as well as Outkast, Nas, and countless others who fueled the fire to get me through the roughest times of my life.

    Throughout that time I’ve had my fair share of struggles with conflicts which are inappropriate to discuss in this article piece.  But I can tell you if it wasn’t for not only Hip-Hop/Rap music but all music that gave me the opportunity to find myself I may not be sitting here writing these words right now.

    For that very reason I feel I owe it to the culture to provide some sense of insight and acknowledgment.  However it comes with a heavy heart, that every time I find an issue to discuss surrounding not only the music, but the culture in itself, I find myself in disgust.  This music used to motivate me.  It used to lift my spirits as well as the spirits of those around me.  We rejoiced in knowing if these unfortunate youths from disadvantaged environments could succeed to earn praise and recognition for achievement through struggle, we could too.

    Over the years I witnessed first hand as not only a fan but an artist as well, the metamorphosis of the music to become what I can only describe as an abomination.  The art-form that minorities once used to express their pains and relentless strength to endure with a passion has become corrupted, bastardized, and abused by the power that it once spoke against.  Today it is used by white suburban kids to glamorize everything that is wrong with our society.  It is used to boast about a drug and alcoholic abusive lifestyle, where meaningless sex is praised and in which self-destruction is idolized.  Hip-Hop/Rap artists have now become the spokesmen for narcissism and self-centeredness to the highest degree.  Its now used to bring out the worst in our nature, yet uses freedom of speech as a shield to protect itself from criticism.

    Now, I’m a fan of various forms of the genre in itself.  I enjoy my fair share of gangster rap just as much as I do conscious music.  But there’s a huge difference between an honest portrayal of an undesirable lifestyle to teach and inform the youth, and simply fabricating a fantasy the impressionable will adore for profit.  And that’s what this entire industry has become.  Its simply become a sick and twisted fantasy for the most gullible and impressionable youths to lust after, because their lack of guidance and independence has left them completely lost, with no direction at all.  And they don’t have one single life preserver to save themselves from drowning.

    I go to hip-hop concerts now and what I see around me just brings me further to the conclusion that attempting to reach kids on a deeper, conscious level is becoming more and more hopeless.  Their disrespect for each other isn’t nearly as damaging as their disrespect for themselves.  They’ve become completely infatuated with materialistic indulgences, sexualized objectification, and the glorification of substance abuse to the most dire of extremities.  One would say its just apart of growing up & being young, I’d say I agree to a certain extent, but that is not the case when you see a pattern of emulation of the music that is so far fetched from reality, its borderline delusional.

    Sorry to say this but when a 15 year old white kid from suburban America, who knows nothing of the history of the music he wishes to follow suit in his career goals, nor the struggle of the pioneers who came before him in doing so, thinks fortune and fame is granted with no work ethic at all, we have a problem.  And judging by the amount of ‘wanna-be’ rappers that flood the internet every day, with nothing at all to say, I believe that problem is evident.  Because truth is, success in this industry is more of trial, error, and luck than it is of talent and appraisal from your peers.  You can ask any artist whose had the unfortunate experience of grinding out their dreams for 7-10 years or longer.  Because much of those years were filled with turmoil and heartache than not.  But try telling a teenager who knows it all from an upper-middle class household in Cincinnati, Ohio that.  Especially when in his eyes, it an be done easily with a “hot beat,” “catchy hook,” and a couple slick-witted rhymes about bitches and molly.  To him, the formula is simple, and who are we to argue.

    To be honest, I didn’t write this article to lecture my readers on the dangers of the subliminal messaging in popular music today.  I don’t need to.  Its obvious from your Itunes Chart toppers what sells.   And its even more obvious whose buying.  All you need to do is put two and two together, then do the math to see what shapes fashion trends and lingo in our society, as it always has.

    But what I will point out, is how the attention span of the average listener of popular music today, especially hip-hop/rap, is virtually non-existent.  I’ll ask you to take a look at teen pregnancy rates and how statistics show illicit drug abuse is starting younger and younger.  I’ll ask you to spend a couple hours a day reading through tweets, Instagram photos, and snapchats to see what occupies the minds of anyone under the age of 25 today. I’ll ask you to take a look in the mirror to see how our ignorance of the issue and refusal to curtail these habits is only leading to a darker dismal future for these troubled youths whose behavioral tendencies have devolved dramatically in the last decade.

    The real question I have to ask in all this is can it be reversed?  Can we ever put love and hope back into popular music again as was once proven commercially viable by The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Bob Marley? Can the voices of artists like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Big K.R.I.T possibly offer salvation of a culture that once was?  I surely do hope so.  I hope in writing this article I’ve given a little more perspective on what happens when the inmates take over the asylum.  Because its obvious that the more screwed up one is in today’s society, the more successful they have a chance of becoming.  And that’s just me, calling it how I see it.


    Matt G