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Hip-Hop: Negative Effects on Today's Youth

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Hip-Hop: Negative Effects on Today's Youth

"I remember being told 'Someone's going to make a fortune out of this rap thing' and thinking 'no way'," Little did I know what the negative effect that this form of music would have on today's youth. With violence and drug use rising, one must wonder, "What's the cause"" Though hip-hop is definitely not the only cause, it doesn't help. With some minor changes in artists' lyrics and persona, today's youth wouldn't be subjected to negative views of society, but rather the positive side of life. Hip-hop has a negative effect on today's youth and something must be done about it. What is hip-hop? Webster defines hip-hop as, "a subculture especially of inner-city youths whose amusements include rap music, graffiti, and break dancing,". While the World Book defines rap music as, "a form of popular music that is generally spoken or chanted at a fast pace rather than sung. Rap music is performed over musical accompaniment that emphasizes rhythm rather than melody. Often rap music consists of short segments of earlier recorded music combined in new patterns,". Both definitions, however valid, do not fully describe what hip-hop means to the people who listen to it, its fans. One fan calls hip-hop, "The expression of the relationship between urban youth and their environment. The art of the streets.". Hip-hop has a very deep meaning to the youth that listens to it, and thus carries a tremendous responsibility as well.

To start understanding hip-hop, one must first understand the history of it. Hip-hop originated in the early 1970s through a mixture of spoken word and jazz drumming and instrumentations. Hip-hop branched off into a form called "rap" near the end of the 1970s. More and more artists became interested in the new form of music out of New York. By the early 1980s, record labels were being formed left and right and rap was made public to the world. In 1981, rap received media attention spanning from appearances on Saturday Night Live to exclusive coverage by 20/20. The 1990's saw even more change in the hip-hop industry. Early in the decade, artists fought for permission to sell their albums since most authorities deemed them "obscene." By the mid 1990s the divide between the east coast and west coast "gangster" rap styles increased and became ever more violent leading to the shooting deaths of Tupac Shakur in 1996 and Christopher Wallace a.k.a. Notorious B.I.G. in 1997.

Today, hip-hop artists are admired and emulated by its fans. With this type of attention comes a responsibility that seems to be lost on many present day performers. Through television, music videos, and other visual forms of media, artists are portraying negative stereotypes and acting in a manner that promotes corruption

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