Students differ on state of rap; lyrical content

Hip-hop is a culture that affects the way some people dress, dance and talk, the Webster Dictionary cites.

In addition to these areas, hip-hop also affects behavior, especially male behavior, said Huberta Jackson-Lowman, an associate psychology professor at Florida A&M University.

Jackson-Lowman said hip-hop affects male behavior by building the male ego and becoming a scapegoat for his shortcomings.

“It emphasizes a hyper-masculine view of what it means to be a man,” Jackson-Lowman said. “It presents manhood in a very machismo way, which promotes nostalgic views of women.”

Hip-Hop’s influence is so widespread that studies have been carried out and articles have been written about the issue.

In 2005 Spelman College students’ rejected rapper Nelly because of his video “Tip Drill.”

The Spelman women saw the video as offensive, and Nelly was unable to perform, even though his appearance had to do with a cancer fundraiser.

Daniel Goodman, 23, a junior music education student from Miami, agreed that most music videos have negative connotations.

“Artists such as Plies and Young Jeezy portray degrading images in their music,” Goodman said. “They show themselves as dope boys. Young boys want to be who they are; therefore they go out and do what they do.”

Deona Pearson, 19, a sophomore biology education student from Fort Pierce, agreed with Goodman.

“A lot of younger men look up to hip-hop artists because they don’t have a male figure at home to look up to,” Pearson said. “How these men portray themselves in their music is their only source of how a man should act.”

However, other people disagree on the issue of hip-hop music’s negative influence.

Skylar Lewis, 20, a second-year business student from Plant City, said hip-hop has nothing to do with how some people act.

“Hip-Hop music has nothing to do with it,” Lewis said. “It’s based on what males allows to effect them. It’s all about choices.”

National Organization for Women spokeswoman Rose Afriyie, spoke to journalism professor Kenneth Jones’ Introduction to Mass Media class Jan. 18.

She spoke on desire, sex and power in rap and rock music videos by male artists. Some students in Jones’ class said men behave the way they do not because of hip-hop, but because society allows it.

Afriyie responded with a quote from Bell Hooks, a nationally acclaimed author, that agreed with the opinion of the students.

“When young black males labor in the plantations of misogyny and sexism to produce ‘gangsta’ rap, their right to speak this violence and be materially rewarded is extended to them by white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,” Afriye said. “Far from being an expression of their “manhood,” it is an expression of their own subjugation and humiliation by more powerful, less visible forces of patriarchal gangterism.”