Rap Not Rest in Peace (12/01/98) Essay

This essay has a total of 2920 words and 11 pages.


Rap Not Rest in Peace (12/01/98)
In this day in age rap has changed in so many more ways then one. From its start in the
80s on the East Coast, to its explosion and transformation on the West Coast. Today RAP
has earned itself a first name, and as you all may know its gangster RAP. Gangster Rap
today has become a way of life for many fans. Often being misunderstood gangster Rappers
have been blamed for glorifying the gangster way of life.

Gangster Rappers such as Snoop Dog, 2Pac, Ice T, Ice Cube and the Geto Boyz have been
harassed time and time again by critics, for there explicit lyrics and glorified way of
rapping about there lives as gangsters. Many times being at the wrong place at the wrong
time often proves critics right, for example snoop dogs murder case and 2pacs fatal
shooting in Las Vegas Nevada. All though we have been told time and time over we can never
let go of the hook and reel that rap hands to us. Being a rap fan myself it has never been
a problem for me, not to pick up a gun and shoot someone after listening to a good Rapper
talk to me. Being that I am the master of my life, I can control my own decisions. If a
fan of gangster rap picks up a gun and shoots someone it is there own stupidity and not
the responsibility of the Rapper.

Using rap as a scapegoat for all the problems of the world is what I would call, cowards
and ignorant for those writers looking for something to write about. Rapper and writer
'KNVRS' tells Rap world" rap is an art and should be respected as one, I do understand
that there are some Rappers out there, not very many but there is some Rappers that give
other Rappers a bad name. And we make no claim for those few'.

Some people think that the reasons that rap has been getting so much controversy, is
because it is so different from other types of music. But it isn't as different as some
people may think. Rap consists of the same basic parts as any other type of music, those
being expression and enjoyment. Just because it appeals to the younger crowds isn't enough
grounds to say it is wrong to listen to.

If I were to say that country is nothing but A bunch of drunken cow ridding red necks
would I be right? Or if I were to say that classical is for nothing but limp lifeless
self-centered wannabes would I also be right? And the same goes for all other types of
music. This is simply a matter of different taste and nothing more.

Jesse Quiroz "RBA WORLD"

Soul Music As a Vehicle of Social Expression

Music is the most powerful vehicle of human expression. As the embodiment of love,
disapproval, happiness, experience – life, music speaks to us, because it comes from us.
Each people, in each paradine of the human experience instinctively and systematically
change the music of the past to represent the realities of the present. In this century,
black music, more specifically Soul music, has been that music that has brought to plain
view that which evidences our humanity – hope, hurt, joy and passion – in such a way that
the world has no other choice than to feel its power and marvel in its brilliance. When
one discusses the relationship between Soul music and the civil rights movement, it
becomes a dialouge very akin to that of the chicken and the egg. The period of “Classic
Soul” is that period primarily, but not exclusively referenced as the 1950’s, 60’s and
70’s (Stephenson 186). This is the time frame of the American Civil Rights Movement, and
the impact of the massive changes going on, are reflected in the music and the culture. So
one would be correct in both assuming that the Civil Rights Movement gave rise to Soul
music, as much Soul music contributed to the success of the campaign for civil rights.
Soul music during its heyday, did more than simply entertain. For a race of people it
served as a source of motivation, strength and education, for a people immersed in turmoil
and tragedy. The institution of segregation had effectively inhibited the general
populace’s awareness of the great achievements and contributions made by African-americans
throughout the history of the United States (Franklin 429). Inasmuch, Soul music sought to
bring that undersight to light. Soul songs like Donny Hathaway’s “To Be Young, Gifted and
Black,” was revolutionary, in that they sought to instill pride of one’s history, but at
the same time motivate a new generation to reach new heights. As Hathaway says, “We must
begin to tell our young, ‘Don’t you know that there is a whole world waiting for you?’”,
he is calling for the teaching of black pride to the youth, which was a wide spread trend
in black communities of the ‘60s and ‘70s (Hathaway). James Brown’s “Say It Loud, I’m
Black and I’m Proud,” became an anthem for the movement (Brown). The song’s lyrics like,
“….Don’t quit moving, until we get what we deserve…we’d rather die on our feet, than keep
living on our knees,” were words of inspiration for those involved in the struggle for
equality. “Whereas the predominant theme of rhythm and blues was love and other kind of
human relationships, soul singers voiced concern about the social injustice, racial pride,
black militancy, and forms of protest (Southern 517).” Eileen Southern’s statement on Soul
music greatly describes the type of works produced by Hathaway and Brown at the time, yet
was definetly not exclusive to these two artists. The period wherein Soul intertwined with
the Civil Rights Movement, produced music greatly influenced by the environment in which
its creators lived. Donny Hathaway’s, “Ghetto,” and Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues (Makes
Me Wanna Holler),” speak of the harshness of life in the Inner City (Hathaway/Gaye).
Societal ills and political unrest were a major theme of Soul music, and Marvin Gaye’s
work, almost more than any other artist, was demonstrative of this fact. Gaye’s album
What’s Goin On, was his commentary on the social problems of the period, and through its
success tremendously impacted the increasing social awareness. Despair within the black
community was given voice in Gaye’s “Inner City Blues”. Inflation, taxes, unemployment and
police brutality were numbered among the themes addressed in the song. The sense of
hopelesness of the piece can best be conveyed in the line saying, “this life ain’t worth
the living….makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands!”(Gaye). “Save the Children”
goes on to ask: “Who is willing to try and save a world that is destined to die?”, yet
goes on to say “live life for the children…let’s save the children (Gaye). So, even in the
midst of great despair, Gaye, and other artist of his genre, did believe in the
possibility of change. "Ball of Confusion," debuting in 1970, gave the Temptation's take
on the societal ills plaguing their times. It explored the white migration to the suburbs,
urban riots, politicians, etc., as it expressed the sense of turmoil experienced during
that time which seemed to all come together in a "Ball of Confusion." The lyrics state
that "the only person talking about love my brother is the preacher…the only person
interested in learning is the teacher"(Temptations). These lines express a theme of love
and education as the cure to society's problems. In a deeper sense, it says that people
should focus on solutions, not the problems which create despair. In the spirit of this
solution-based songwriting, a strong, no-holds-barred message to youth about the
importance of getting an education was given voice in October of 1966. James Brown's
"Don't Be a Drop Out" is a story of a drop out who compares himself to friends who
continued their education. The song says, "they kept on pushing when the going got tough,
and now they know that things don't seem so rough"(Brown). James Brown knew the importance
of this first hand having no formal education. He implemented a program which encouraged
kids to stay in school and gave scholarships for those that wanted to go to college. Brown
also worked to improve the quality of education in urban areas. He later releases two
anti-drug songs, "King Heroin" and "Public Enemy No. 1." He had realized the devastation
that drugs brought to the black community and the songs were used as the tool to educate
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