Hip Hop And Rap Music Faces Cultural And Social Crisis

Hip Hop has been a significant part of American culture since the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a vast movement for non-violence and activism. Hip Hop beats artists proudly stood up for the community and spoke against gun violence, murders, racism, police brutality, mass incarceration, and other social issues. 

Past Lyricists told stories based on their experience and perspective, whether talking about the gang culture or selling drugs due to Reaganomics and poverty. Since 2005 landscape has been different. Rap Artists are encouraged to engage in a murderous style of music and persona. A popular promotion tool is to engage in social media beef to promote albums and rap artists, Which, in some cases, has resulted in the deaths of close affiliates or the artists themselves. There are also reports of extorsion tactics used by some artists and managers affiliated with organized crime to secure high budgets and priority on major record companies. 

In 1998, when Boogie Down (KRS-OneD-Nice & Ms. Melodie), Stetsasonic (Daddy-OMC DeliteWise, and Frukwan (rapper)), Kool Moe Dee MC LyteDoug E. Fresh Just-IceHeavy D Public Enemy (Chuck D & Flavor Flav) produced the hit song Self Destruction. The song was geared toward music addressing gun violence, murder in communities, and drugs in our communities. 

In the 90s, artists like Jeru The Damaja, who made the hit song “scientifical madness,” addressed all of the dangers of the bling culture and how it would eventually result in violence and turmoil in urban communities. The song also spotlighted the significant causes of this behavior, E.G.O., Jealousy, and ENVY. Some Hip-hop promotes a luxurious millionaire lifestyle where analysis shows that more than half (54%) of Black households earn less than $50,000, while 46% make $50,000 or more. Almost three in ten (28%) make $75,000 or more, including 18% that make $100,000 or more.

 In the late 90s, you the native tounges movement. Jungle Brothers (Mike Gee, Sammy B, Afrika Baby Bam), A Tribe Called Quest (Q-TipPhife DawgAli Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White), De La Soul (PosdnuosTrugoy, and Maseo), Lucien Revolucion, Monie Love, Queen Latifah, Black Sheep (Dres and MistaLawnge)Chi-AliFu-Schnickens† (Chip Fu, Moc Fu, and Poc Fu), The Beatnuts (Psycho Les, JuJu and Fashion) Brand Nubian (Grand PubaSadat XLord Jamar, DJ Alamo & D.J. Sincere), Shortie No Mass† Prince PaulJ Dilla (as a member of The Ummah with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad)Leaders of the New School (Busta Rhymes, Charlie Brown, Dinco D, Milo)Mos Def[10], Truth Enola†, DJ S.T.R.E.S.S. [11], Da Bush Babees (Lord Khaliyl, Lee Majors and Light), CommonThe Pharcyde†† (Imani, Bootie Brown, Slimkid3 and FatlipVinia Mojica, Digable Planets, Camp Lo Fugees 

These artists celebrated an Afrocentric heritage and culture, and some still tour in Europe, Japan, Africa, Korea, and Japan until this day. Music Executives were able to market these artists and make considerable profits due to their diverse skills and brand presentation, which could be cross-checked and sold into reggae, country, rock music, and poetry. In addition to their record sales, most of these artists were able to secure significant corporate partnerships and develop their brands like Kayne West. 

While artists like Mosdef, Queen Latifah, Common, and L.L. Cool J were able to transition into the movie and television industry and have production companies and significant roles in major movie projects, today, there are still artists of this caliber, like Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Lupe Fiasco, Drake, and others. 

Music and singing were critical in inspiring, mobilizing, and giving voice to the civil rights movement. “The freedom songs played a strong and vital role in the struggle against racism and equality,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., during the Albany Movement. “They give the people new courage and a sense of unity. I think they keep alive a faith, a radiant hope, in the future, particularly in our most trying hours” (Shelton, “Songs a Weapon”).

The evolution of music in the black freedom struggle reflects the development of the movement itself. Calling songs “the soul of the movement,” King explained in his 1964 book, “we sing the freedom songs today for the same reason the slaves sang them because we too are in bondage and the songs add hope to our determination that ‘We shall overcome, Black and white together, We shall overcome someday.”

With the need for a diverse market for hip-hop music. The rise of Christian Rap artists- are more successful than ever, Lecrae, NF, Andy Mineo Flame, K.B., Trip Lee, TobyMac, Tedashii, and Derek Minor Bizzle. Christian Hip Hop artists are less acknowledged than Mainstream pop culture hip-hop artists. However, the top Christian rap artist records sales and radio play rival other significant artists on major labels. Cellus Hamilton’s previous three albums landed in the top 50 albums in the country during the week of their release. In these three years, Cellus Hamilton has toured (with several sold-out shows). 

paper published in 2003 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported that music could incite aggressive thoughts and feelings. During five experiments with 75 female and 70 male college students, those who heard a violent song were shown to feel more hostile than those who listened to nonviolent music from the same Artist and style. 

The study also showed that violent songs led to more aggressive thoughts in three different measures: More aggressive interpretations when looking at ambiguous words, an increased speed with which people read aggressively compared to non-aggressive terms, and a more significant proportion of people completing bold words when filling in blanks on forms given to them during the study.

Belief in God has fallen the most in recent years among young adults and people on the left of the political spectrum (liberals and Democrats). These groups show drops of 10 or more percentage points comparing the 2022 figures to an average of the 2013-2017 polls. 

Most other vital subgroups have experienced at least a modest decline, although conservatives and married adults have had no change.

The groups with the most significant declines are also the groups that are currently least likely to believe in God, including liberals (62%), young adults (68%), and Democrats (72%). Belief in God is highest among political conservatives (94%) and Republicans (92%), reflecting that religiosity is a significant determinant of political divisions in the U.S.

With the untimely death of multiple high-profile rap artists in 2022, The calls for diversity in music are deafening; Jamaica’s broadcasting regulator has banned music and T.V. broadcasts deemed to glorify or promote criminal activity, violence, drug use, scamming, and weapons. 

The government has said the ban is exemplified to cut back on material that “could give the wrong impression that criminality is an accepted feature of Jamaican culture and society. “Multiple New York City drill rappers, including 22GzSha EK, and Ron Suno, were pulled from the Rolling Loud New York festival at the request of the New York Police Department.

With the calls for diversity in music, one of those upcoming artists is B.T. THE ARTIST from Dorchester, Massachusetts. This April 2023, B.T. The Artist is releasing his debut album, Big Dreams, and Plans. The album will feature a very diverse selection of music styles. Many songs will have a message behind them—also, B.T. The Artist has also advocated for reparations and non-violence, Police Brutality, Social Justice, and equality worldwide. 

BT The Artist has also advocated more investment in kids and youth sports activities. B.T. believes that in addition to the educational aspect of education, sports teach youth to function in team environments and teach practice and learn from mistakes. B.T. currently volunteers at the Base. 

The BASE combines best-in-class athletic training and competition with empowering education, health, and career resources and opportunities within a distinctive, high-expectations culture to ensure that all urban youth are equipped with the skills, tools, and support needed not only to graduate high school but also to enroll, persist and succeed in college or career training programs that lead to quality employment. The BASE seeks to rewrite the narrative for black and Latino youth by shifting mindsets and re-imagining pathways to success for urban youth.