The era of rap music has become a medium for rappers to express the way they feel and dress. It is very common for majority of rappers to be dressed in some of the finest clothes designed by world renowned designers. I believe artists like Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and A$AP Rocky, have has major influences on the looks and style that is associated with rap music. These men can be seen wearing some of the thriftiest looking clothes, to some of the most expensive garments off the runways of New York, Paris, and Milan. When I am asked how I feel about rappers wearing, and referencing the clothes they wear I can say that it is all apart of their expression. We act as spectators and forget that we must let artists fully express themselves so that they can produce their finest work that we can appreciate. In 2008 Kanye West featured on the hit song “American Boy” and he rapped, “Am I shallow ‘cause all my clothes designer?/Dressed smart like a London bloke, before he speak his suit bespoke/And you thought he was cute before/Look at this pea coat, tell me he’s broke” West shows in these lyrics that he is not necessarily a shallow person because he wear designer labels,, but he is just simply taking pride in himself. Obviously he has shaped an opinion that owning a designer pea coat is a symbol of high status. What a designer wears is only a direct reflection of their values and beliefs. If he feels comfortable wearing expensive clothes then he should be allowed to spend his money in the way that he feels. What a rapper wears does not determine the extent of his talent. Whether a rapper is wearing a potato sack or an irish kilt, if you appreciate great rap music, the appearance will not affect the music you listen too.
Drugs is the probably one of the most common topics of discussion in the genre of rap music. I have come to the conclusion that drugs has become one of those things that a rapper can talk about if they have nothing intelligent to talk about, and stay somewhat popular. There are an extreme amount of examples of the many ways rappers can reference drugs in their art. Nowadays rappers can just blatantly express their love for a drug and receive somewhat of positive response from society. In the song “CoCo” by O.T. Genasis said , “I’m in love with the coco/I’m in love with the coco/I got it for the low, low/I’m in love with the coco.” This rapper made it obvious throughout this song that he was referring to crack, and cocaine. How did society respond. I have seen little infants dancing to this song. One night I came across a vine of a little girl who could not have been older than 13 in the kitchen recording herself making crack on a stove top in her kitchen then get slapped by her guardian. This song has a cool beat but the lyrics deliver a horrible message. Who am I to say that this is negative or positive for the society. I just know that if that were my children I would be very disappointed.This is not just one example of songs that consciously reference drugs. I also can come to the assumption that because a lot of rappers indulge in some type of drug their listeners would as well. When rappers perform at these music festivals, concerts, and cyphers you can almost guarantee that someone within the audience will be intoxicated off of some drug. This is not something that is negative because people turn to music when they are indulging in drugs sometimes because that is why majority of the people of fan of certain rap artists.
Rappers influence the way society acts in many ways. Rappers must understand the influence they have, but they should not allow outsiders determine the way they shape their life and career. Often times society gets too comfortable in their opinion and forget their place. I still consider rappers to be “artistes”. According to dictionary.com an artiste is a, “skilled public performer.” This means that rappers are skilled in their profession and society should not be able to essentially judge and criticize an artiste from further development in their craft. I would really like to believe that if I was an artist and was compelled to produce a variety of work that was unordinary, or vulgar I would not expect the society to put me up on a pedestal as a role model of being a “class act”. When I think of the term “class act” I tend to think of a person who has it together. I would like to my art to show me as a “liberated”, and “extraordinary”. In my opinion liberation comes in many forms. Liberation is a common theme in rap music. For example in the song Body Language by the rapper Kid Ink he raps, “You ain’t know girl you better read up on me/You trying to get high got to re-up on me/Bein’ stuck up gon’ leave you lonely for the night.” In the history of the African-American struggle the ability to read was something that was common with the black community. Kid Ink raps about having the ability to read not only a book, but body language as well. Because for hundreds of years blacks were not able to read, and attend quality school systems black created the ability to speak and maneuver around reading through body language.Throughout this song he implies that he is “that nigga” or “that a woman could miss out on something if they don’t start acting right”. This is not a message that people of a particular age should be exposed to. At the same time there is good amount of individuals who relate and connect to my message. If the wrong people in society create enough negative energy that works against my art then it will ultimately not be received well by the public. We must know our part in society and not create boundaries that confine anyone based on accusations that is very hard to prove. How is it possible that a principle of school can blame just rappers for his lack of control over an environment that he was put in charge of. That principal wants a rapper to go out of his way to censor his art because he thinks that because his students are fans of that specific artiste’s art that he is obligated to give them a “model” on how to be some sort of “class act”. It should not work like that, but it does in this society. I personally do not believe that rappers should be held accountable for the influence they have over their fans. Rappers do not influence me, and I should not be influencing anyone else. I also believe that rappers are also conscious of the messages they put out as well too. They are showing liberation through having the capability and willingness to express themselves before an audience. There is also many instances in which rap music tend to influence individuals to think of themselves as extraordinary. Drakes verse on the song “Truffle Butter” he raps, “Niggas see me rollin’ and their mood change.” If a person is able to change the mood of others thats extraordinary to have to ability to do that. That is not always a good thing, but because it has a negative effect sometimes to have that ability does that mean he can express how he feels about himself throughout his art. I believe he should be free to rap about whatever keeps him sane and satisfied. I mean C’mon the song was recorded to an uptempo house music track that makes anyone tap their foot when they hear. Society should not be looking to rappers to influence the community within our country. The police officers who kill innocent people and racial profile minorities should be the ones who aren’t let off the
hook so easily.
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