Keys clueless about ‘gangsta rap’

In a recent interview with Blender Magazine, singer Alicia Keys commented that “gangsta rap” music was a scheme designed to convince black people to kill each other.

According to, Keys’ words were, ” ‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.”

Not only was Keys’ statement offensive, but it was incorrect.

The Web site states, “Gangsta rap is a genre of hip-hop that reflects the violent lifestyles of inner-city youth, which was pioneered around 1983 by Ice T with songs like ‘Cold Winter Madness’ and ‘Body Rock/Killers.’ ”

For someone at the top of the music charts and a veteran in the industry, Keys’ lack of knowledge is alarming.

Keys is currently claiming her comment was misinterpreted. As indicated by, Keys said, “The point that I was trying to make was that the term was over-sloganized by some of the media causing reactions that were not always positive.”

Many of the “gangsta rap” lyrics articulate the problems of the artists’ experiences, and I think all of us, including our leaders, could be doing more to address these problems,” Keys continued.

While Keys’ follow-up quote seems much more reasonable, her first comment is still bothersome. People, including celebrities, must be conscious of what they say.

Angelica Roberts for the Editorial Board.