Ban Gangster Rap

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Dear Congressman/MP,

Coming out of the darkest and raunchiest ghettos of New York and L.A., gangster rap music has quickly metamorphized into the worst and most satantic form of music in the world. It promotes hatred and violence of the worst sort, a kind of evil that kids are being exposed to at an increasingly younger age.

Rap music grew out of hiphop, an inner city street culture with its roots in West African and African American culture. The early rap artists such as DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaattaa and Grandmaster flash told tales of life on the streets in a set of rhymes over a "rhythmic" beat.

However, this all was lost when ganster rap came to the forefront. Groups like N.W.A. put on record ryhmes so violent and misogynistic that its record company received a firm warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.). This was largely due to the incendiary track "[expletive omitted] Tha Police" which attempted to make villians of authority and justify gang crimes. Despite the controversy it insighted, gangsta rap gained a following of mostly criminals and wealthy white suburban youths who were seeking pleasure of a sadistic sort.

Hiphop, in my opinion, has been stuck in this loathsome rut ever since. N.W.A. was the launching platform for the careers of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Meeting up with Snoop Dogg in 1993, Dr. Dre released the Chronic, an album which set the groundwork for rap of the 90's. The Chronic borrowed melodies (called "sampling") from Aerosmith, Marvin Gaye and various funk artists which Dre had listened to as a youth. The Chronic was paired with Snoop Dogg's solo release "Doggystyle", two of the most successful CDs of the early nineties, despite the main themes being violence and murder, drug dealing, drug using, woman-hating and many other low-life degrading activities.

Some have equated "rap" with poetry, but in reality it is just ryhmes strung together senselessly with the skill of a four or five year old. Expletives are consistently put in the place of adjectives due to lacking vocabulary on the part of the "artist" or used for no reason at all. There are no lessons to be learned in these lyrics, no themes at all, but for gloryfing of villainy, mistreatment of women and fellow men, violence, guns and drinking.

This is NOT a racial issue in the slightest sense. We all know that judgement or mistreatment of a person or group due to skin color or ethnicity is plain wrong. However, popular rap music today promotes the black "thug" stereotype and prepares young blacks who absorb these messages to follow the same path.

Gangster rap music, in my view, has degraded North American, and perhaps the world's, status as a whole. We now have a generation on our hands that is when viewed in its entirety vulgar, violent, apathetic, and frivilous. It is a materalistic generation who would rather buy a one to two hundred dollar pair of Nike made-in-China shoes than be happy with the better, more comfy thirty dollar ones.

These white kids trying their most to be black are for the most part extremely ignorant. They are narcissistic spoiled brats that ride their clown's pants very low, keep their baseball caps on at varying angles, growl and grimace just like their famous rapper and walk around in a smug strut. The fact that they call this rubbish poetry further solidifies the statement that they are stupidly ignorant. Rap is nothing any intelligent and moral human being would want to read if it was printed on paper and it could never aspire to come even close to the levels of genius shown by Shakespeare or Longfellow.

Gangster rap supporters should rethink their stance. Inspired by life in the ghettos? Perhaps originally, in the glory days. But poverty and low lot in life does not mean you need to become a gangster, incite violence and hatred, and shoot your fellow man (or at least write about doing so). The current 50 Cent and G-Unit craze should back up my argument. No one in the ghetto could or should live the type of life portrayed in their CDs. Slaughtering of cops, prostitutes and everyone that gets between you and your fortune is an animalistic view of life. There is no way anyone (except for possibly a Billy the Kid back in the old Wild West) could live the tales they weave day by day. It is a front put on to make money and encouraged by record producers. G-Unit's debut CD, Beg For Mercy, has no redeeming qualities, no wisdom, nothing but the same old shtick. The gunshots are ringing after the first few minutes. There is an even a photo of 50 Cent and his buddies on the inside cover grinning wide grins amidst a pile of cash to rival that of a bank robber. And they have robbed -- they have robbed people, not only blacks but whites too of their innocence and dignity. I cannot believe a person with his wits and who actually pays attention to the lyrics would actually call THIS art. This is hedonism and corruption at its worst, appealing only to white suburbanites and the misled or unknowing or the corrupt.

I must admit that some rappers are or were talented, such as Notorius B.I.G., Tupac, Kool Herc, and Eminem, but whatever good they dish out is ruined by pantomine villainy, hatred, and pointless cursing. I find it pitiable and frightening that kids today look up to these people as idols and would want to emulate them. The majority are talentless criminals seeking monetary gain alone. I am aware that there are underground rappers who are trying to bring truth to the forefront but unfortunately record companies and the dumbed-down public will probably not accept that into the mainstream. Shock sells, I am afraid. To me rap signifies the end of heart-felt and thought-provoking music, although rock has degraded quite a bit also.

I am not a rascist or a hater, and I do know a lot about the subject. I was an avid rap fan in my youth, but by the time I had grown up I began to see the cracks in what had been a favorite form of music. I am a writer and a poet and I once tried my hand at rapping. But I backed out in disgust at all that I have mentioned, put on some suitable clothes, turned my hat around the right way and moved on with my life. I can only hope that in the next ten to twenty years America will do the same.

So in conclusion, I urge the powers that be to take a closer look at the lyrics of the songs distributed by rappers. For a particularly disturbing example that apparently tries to make incest, rape and wanton violence seem funny look up the lyrics of rapper "Bizarre" on his CD "Hannicap Circus". I urge the authorites to ban gangster rap and for that matter any type of lyrics that promote crime, hatred and/or any of the other themes expressed in my letter. Your time and consideration would be greatly appreciated.