The entertainment industry as a whole offers a wide range of entertainment platforms. These include movies, theatrics, music and many others. In all of these categories, there are further internal differentiations that create clear distinctions between the subgroups and subcategories. One of the most common types of distinctions used in the field of entertainment is the concept of genres. Just as it is the case in the film industry, the music industry also ahs divisions depending on the genre of a given music track. Some of the most common types of music genres are rap, classical music, rock, rhythm and blues and reggae. Rap music is a rather diverse genre. It is suitable for expressing a wide range of realities and aspirations for artists from all over the world. The lyrics and videos of rap music are often filled with scenes of emotional intensity, with a common narrative of getting from “rags to riches” mainly through the artist’s life and breakthrough in the industry. The fact that rap music often features slang lexicon along with profanity often raises concerns among parents of children who like this type of music. Rap music has an effect on children through various ways, for example through influencing their sexual behavior, violence, critical thinking, and approaches to success.
Not every rap song has instances of profane and sexual words or video content of the same nature. However, one should not dismiss the idea that rap songs and videos are often based on the language and contexts that are sexual and immoral. Through listening to rap songs and watching video clips and videos, just like it is the case with any media platform, children tend to acquire an interest in trying out in real life the things that they hear or see (Bryant). The more time children, especially adolescents, spend listening to and watching the sexualized lyrics and images in rap songs, the more likely would they take part in a sexually risky conduct themselves. Additionally, upon hearing, seeing or trying out the activities portrayed in some rap songs, these children are likely to recommend them to their peers (Bryant). However, it is important to understand that it is not just the rap genre that generates such attitudes among children, but rather the mere presence of the sexualized images and lyrics, regardless of the genre (Conrad, Travis and Yuanyuan). In fact, it is true that there are instances of rap music that tend to encourage healthy sexual relationships and other behaviors that are beneficial to the society. This often takes place through the use of lyrics and music videos that contain love lexicon, themes, and depictions (Conrad, Travis and Yuanyuan). Through rapping and depicting certain positive character traits, such as respectful and loving treatment of men towards women, children may actually understand that it is important and necessary to act nice towards the members of the opposite sex and towards each other (Bryant). A good example of this is the lyrics from the track Ride (Remix) by Ace Hood, T-Pain, Juelz Santana, and Rick Ross. In this song, “ride” means to “ride or die,” or “for better or for worse, until death do us part.” Additionally Rick Ross raps, “When she hold me I close my eyes and just picture heaven.”
Presenting oneself to the world as being violent has generally been a rather common element of rap music. The fact that rap music was started out in poor urban societies in which the control of violence was, in general, poor may be one of the explanatory factors for such a state of affairs. Additionally, many rap songs have a high propensity to communicate and discuss violence or other issues that are related to violence as an aspect of a thrilling and dangerous way of life (Lena). When children get to hear or watch the violent lyrics and videos, they may gain a higher likelihood of becoming violent themselves in their lives. Another aspect that presents the violent nature of the rap music industry and songs is the fact that most rap music videos such as DMX’s Bring Your Whole Crew present most rappers making loud, violent or threatening sounds at the beginning, within or end of the song. Some of the videos also show the rappers rapping out their lines shirtless with their bodies that are well-built. This, in a sense, depicts them as strong and well prepared to go to war with their haters. Other music videos present them rapping with their faces up close to the screen or rapidly moving towards and away from the camera. Such a demonstration portrays them as being aggressive and acting in a manner that is similar to the act of poking an opponent in order to initiate a fight (Lena). In spite of all this, some rap songs offer a condemnation of violence. Others even present possible solutions to the violence. Even with the possible negative effects of rap music on children, other factors such as economic and social aspects surrounding the lives of these children may have a bigger contribution to their propensity towards being violent.
Rap music may even encourage a positive behavior in children. The interest of children in rap music helps them to develop critical thinking abilities that are often critical to the success and conduct of children in their future (Hallam). In a different way, children may learn critically assess the lyrics and music videos of rap songs in ways that may not be available to people who are older than them. Furthermore, they may come to understand the exploitative actions of music labels as is demonstrated through rap lyrics, videos and even their following of certain rap music artistes (Hallam). This may also apply to the case of the success of rap artists and other popular persons in the music industry. Some rap songs’ lyrics such as “I was trying to get it on my own, Working all night, traffic on the way home. Now I'm on the road, half a million for a show…Started from the bottom now the whole team here” from Started from the Bottom by Drake Aubrey help to teach people how to be successful in life. Through such an understanding, children may learn about the different ways through which an individual may become successful in his/her life (Lena).
In general, the entertainment industry consists of various modes, such as music and film industries. In turn, music is divided into many different genres. Rap music is a genre that has a broad range of subgenres and subdivisions. This may vary in relation to the lyrics and the purpose that a rapper has when he/she wrote the song. With the high diversity of rap music genre, it bears the likelihood of affecting its audience, both children and adults. In children, rap music may have the effect of influencing the way they behave sexually, their perception of violence and their ideas about success as both children and their future selves. Many rap songs, especially the accompanying videos, have sexual context, possibly giving the children ideas on what to do. These children then imitate the videos and take part in sexual activities while influencing their peers into the same acts. Such sexual elements do not apply to all rap songs as other songs promote love. Violence is promoted through the disrespectful, muscle-displaying and ferocious rap videos and lyrics. This may, however, not apply to every child due to other important factors such as economic and social upbringing. Some rap songs encourage children to think critically and understand the entertainment industry in a way that would help them succeed in life. Though understanding the way rap artists rise to success, children may actually learn how to be successful earlier than other persons.
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