Throughout the course of America’s past, those who forged its history did so upon the steed of violence. From the Civil War to the Nat Turner rebellion, the soil of America has borne traces of blood and struggle.
This struggle is rooted in our genetic predisposition as humans to change that which poses an immediate or future threat to our offspring. In the past 100 years, American society has been shaped by the psychological residuals of slavery, influxes of drug use, widespread poverty and socioeconomic inequality.
Out of this pressure cooker arose elements of social expression like hip-hop and rap. Often described as “violent” and “socially destructive”, rap has been the target of heated arguments over whether such a form of expression should be banned.
The fusion of struggle and spirituality, converted into an auditory medium, is the definition of rap and hip-hop. This medium of expression serves as a battle cry for those whose lives are filled with adversity. Rap and hip-hop are ways to express life lyrically.
If you listen to artists like Tupac Shakur and Biggie, you will hear the masterful juxtaposition of English words that describesto the listener to the world that tthe artist has lived in.
Imagine yourself being born into a world that is like a system designed to lead you into catastrophic failure. Your father was taken out of the picture before you even knew him. Your mother is too busy working day and night to provide you with the little security she can afford. With the government jailing black males at an alarming rate and the flooding of drugs into the black community, this is not a dream for our youth, but a horrible reality.
Rap serves as the thermometer of American society. Those who feel that rap should be banned are some of the same people who do not understand or acknowledge the struggles of social apartheid. Rappers rap about what they experience in everyday life. Rap serves as a portal into the lives of the sufferers.
Those who are so adamantly against rap should be proponents for increased funding to programs aimed at reducing the degree of racial, social, political and economic inequality. There is no disputing the fact that proper education and healthcare leads to reduction in violent activity, drug use and family instability. Until our government stops spending more money on missiles and tanks than on books our society will continue suffer.
Wanting to eliminate a poetic and beautiful expression such as rap or hip-hop music is the equivalent of saying that the American dream must be limited to the wealthy, healthy, and well-educated suburban residents.
Adeleke Omitowoju is a 5th year business student from Atlanta. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.