Many different genres of music express different feelings and ideas about social behaviors. Even if the ideas are not commonly accepted, artists can use their music to express themselves. One type of popular music that does just that is rap. The beginnings of rap are believed to have stemmed from African rhythms, which were used as a form of communication by the native peoples. Rap evolved and gained in popularity in the 1960’s when a few revolutionary DJ’s, including Kool DJ Herc, DJ Lovebug Starski, and DJ Hollywood, began to work block parties in the Bronx. They would bring in large speakers, hook them up to a turntable and play two of the same record at the same time, repeating the same section of the vinyl over and over by scratching it. Other performers would chant and yell to the crowd. In 1979, music companies recorded rap for the first time. Such acts as The Sugar Hill Gang, The Fatback Band, and Grandmaster Flash were among the first to gain popularity. The early popularity of rap was hindered by an inability to reach new audiences. After much controversy, MTV began to run videos by black artists. These artists were showcased primarily on the new program Yo! MTV Raps. The rhythms and the lyrics attracted a spectrum of listeners, from inner-city minorities to suburban upper-class whites. Even with rap musics relatively large following, it is not commonly accepted by our society because many of todays rap artists use crude and offensive themes for their songs. Some rap artists even express how they feel about sex roles through their music.
One such song by Too Short, Better Player, demonstrates how he truly feels about women. Although his feelings do not represent the whole rap community, many do accept and express them. Too Shorts song describes how no one is a better player than him. When he refers to player, he is talking about how smooth he is with women and how he is able to make them do things that he wants them to do. He refers to women more as possessions than as people often. One example of this is when he says, chilling at the club with all your women, which sounds like he owns the women and that they are not there on their own free will. The main theme of this song is that women are powerless creatures who are only good for one thing, sex. He proves this when he says, I be f*****g hoes every day of the week. He looks at sex from a different perspective than the average person. To him, sex is just something pleasurable with no relation to love. He also doesnt believe that sex should be reserved for one person after marriage. He demonstrates this when he says, I get some new hoes and do it again. The idea of dominance over women is also apparent when he refers to them as bitches and hoes. Most people would take serious offense to being called things like bitches and hoes, but it is an everyday thing among many rap artists.
Although many people agree with Too Shorts standpoints on women, these ideas do contradict current social values. Current values hold women as equals to men, and sometimes even higher than men. Women have been held as low class citizens for many years, and if anyone should understand how this feels, African American rappers should. Maybe growing up in ghettos and being around drugs have caused these rappers to have so much disrespect for themselves that it seems nature to disrespect the opposite sex.
Social Issues Essays