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Music’s Negative Impact on Society

Music has a significant effect on its listeners. It is used to inform the masses. Music can influence the way we dance, dress, and talk and it also sets the tone for cultures I think that the music of a particular time seems to reflect the opposite of what’s going on in society. Certain genres of music affect society differently. For example, the genre “Gospel” may affect society in a good light, while the genre “Rap” impacts our society in a negative light. Teenagers today are impacted negatively by the messages that rappers pursue through their music through their lyrics, music videos, and personal statements from the artists. For instance, many hip-hop singers use the word “bitch” to mean a woman whereas we all know that the word is abusive. The youths then take the vulgar terms and use them as the artists do. According to them, they think it is fun but to the public, it is seen as moral degradation.

“Rap music is rooted in the African tradition of speaking rhythmically to a beat generally supplied by background music. Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc are credited with being instrumental in the development of rap music as a distinct genre in the 1970s, which at the time was party-oriented” (Mnet, 2006). Self-expression is a driving factor in the composition of its lyrics and background beat. Producers and entertainment moguls are quick to say that rap is an extension of poetry. An endless line of rhythmic words brings messages to life. The incessant and rapid talk in the middle of blaring music has captured the attention of numerous individuals most especially the youth. Rap is a tool that allows society’s lethal elements to voice out their thoughts about personal frustrations and suffering. “To say there is no influence and no effect is naïve,” said Murray Forman, professor of media studies at Northeastern University in Boston (Killion, 2005).

Rap music is posing a serious danger to society. As part of the media, it is influencing the lives of many individuals, especially youth. Numerous teenagers and children are seeking their models in life. It is important that these kids are led toward the right path in everything they do with their lives. But watching the fame and fortune being enjoyed by many rappers will encourage a large population of young individuals to follow in the footsteps of these rap stars. This is where the problem begins. “Stereotypes also play a big role in the many influences of rap music. Gang banging, drugs, alcohol, jewelry, money, cars, baggy clothes, style, and fashion are some examples of hip-hop stereotypes” (Minor, n.d d.). Most rappers are born in the gangster era. This is the main reason why violence is a favorite topic in rap songs. Many rap artists portray themselves as kings or bosses. The violent and materialistic lifestyle that rap artists portray influences young people on how to live their lives. Most of the young people become attached to the lifestyle that their favorite rap artist has.

The primary problem caused by rap music is the stature and image flaunted by most rappers. Money is the biggest reason why ordinary people want to become celebrities. Rap artists are no different from the popular crowd. With songs that are considered a nuisance to the ears of many, except of course to the adoring fans, these individuals are piling up their millions at the bank. Everybody wants to get rich and they found a genre to make things possible. No matter what young people are snared by the dream of making it to the big leagues. They look up to rappers as their models.

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The second negative factor that brings rap music in a bad light is the image it portrays in the art world. People affiliated with the said music compare it to poetry. While this may be true, many lyrics in rap songs possess a vulgar and disturbing presence among their listeners. Poems seek the light in its highest form. It reflects an inner description of inspiration coming from the individual. Rap like poetry is a means of expressing the inner self. “The primary concern was the content of the lyrics, particularly the glamorization of violence, sex, and drug use” (Fried, 2003). Instead of making values the central message of rap music, it goes the other way. Rap music banners negative expressions.

Many lines in rap songs reveal a negative opinion about dissatisfaction with the world in general. Suffering and pain are common themes of rap artists. The only problem with the suggestive remarks in the albums is that violent measures are introduced and encouraged. “Most artists feel that “a sense of powerlessness to change conditions in complex social, political, and economic issues” led them to seek ways to express their discontent” (Midgett, n. d.). Through rap music, these individuals are able to bring out their real thoughts and emotions about the things that they hated all their lives. Problems that pose barriers are brought to life through words that are seen as negative and uninspiring. Lots of children and teenagers are misguided by the thrill and the excitement that comes with the songs. The messages become a motivational tool for many young people to arm themselves against the sufferings of life. Words of disturbance are being used by the youth of today. It is a bad influence since the profanity in rap encourages people to rebel against the elements that inhibit the current situation that they are in.

The result of negative messages such as violence from rap music can be devastating. As negative messages from the media progresses, society becomes more violent. From 2004 to 2005, the rate of violent crime, estimated at 469.2 violent offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, increased 1.3 percent, and there were an estimated 1,390,695 violent crimes reported” (FBI, 2006). There was an increase of 1.2 percent in cases of rape from the previous year, a 3.4 percent increase in crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, and a 3.9 percent increase in robbery. The FBI further stated that 10,166,159 property crimes were reported in 2005 coupled with 14.1 million arrests, a huge and alarming figure. The reported crime rate is high in American society. Crimes are in news reports on a daily basis. The horror of violence became a part of their lives. Most of the citizens own guns to protect themselves from criminals. If one is weak and carefree enough, one will be victimized.

People associated with rap must also take into consideration the effects of this type of music on the lives of the young crowd. It is essential that the notes and lyrics found in rap songs be screened in order to produce a more positive and peaceful atmosphere not merely in public areas but inside the privacy of the homes of many. Fame and fortune mean nothing if rap music is being utilized at the expense of innocent lives. Parents, educators, and law enforcers should be aware of the dangers that the community will reap from the citizens who are exposed to different acts of aggression. Rap artists also have a social responsibility to be responsible enough for the message of their music. Innocent minds can be easily corrupted. The exclusion of violence and the incorporation of meaningful words will make it more beneficial for the rest of the world.

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