The Message Behind Negative Music
In one scene, N.W.A. has a press conference. A reporter criticized their lyrics, claiming that they started a riot in the previous scene. Ice Cube responded by saying, “Our art is a reflection of our reality. What do you see when you go outside your door? I know what I see.” DJ Yella followed with “And it ain’t glamorous.”
Too often, we forget that none of us were raised under the same circumstances. We didn’t make the exact same choices in life, nor did our parents. It’s easy to turn our nose up at someone just because they make poor decisions or live worse off than us. At the same time, we can easily make an effort to see where they’re coming from.
In this case, we could look at the circumstances that influenced the group’s behavior and lyrics. Where they lived, there was a high crime rate. There were a lot of gangs, drug addicts, murders, etc. The women they were referring to weren’t the innocent angels that that critics think they were. The same goes for many of the rappers of today who make songs about those topics.
People who grow up in rough neighborhoods see that stuff everyday, and most never move out of those areas. What you hear in hardcore rap music is all that those rappers and many of their fans know. So of course they don’t want to hear or make positive music.
You could say that the music glorifies that life. At the same time, you could say that it highlights a major problem that too many people go through. Rap is often criticized for not having a message. What if the existence of that style of music is the message? What if the message is that something needs to be done about the circumstances that so badly hurt the perspectives of the rappers to the point where that stuff is normal?
Why is it that we’d rather talk about censoring offensive lyrics than about cleaning up bad neighborhoods? If more jobs with decent pay were available, there would be less drug dealers and thieves. If we exposed kids to more career choices and role models, they’d be less inclined to be rappers and athletes, and more likely to pursue careers in the countless other professions. What if the amount of energy that we put into protesting and arguing against negative music was put into eliminating the source?