Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cleaning up dirty Rap

Every generation has had groups of people who were off beat and who set radical and exciting trends that gained momentum against the established norms.

The baby boomer generation will remember the 1960s as the decade that brought the world the famous music group 'The Beatles' from England. A hippie counter culture started as a dissenting youth movement that opposed the Vietnam War and the corrupting influence of the institutional monolithic power.

In the 1980s, to young people the world over – from kids in the American ghettoes where Hip Hop started, to the white suburban middle class – gangsta rap is a way of rejecting their parents’ values, in the age-old tradition of Rock and Roll, and Punk.

At its worst, G-rap is itself racist, sexist, and glorifies violence. To people who promote this form of music, it describes real life, real problems of the underprivileged black community. Their music bring in to focus differences between black and white, rich and poor, male and female. They say that rap brings to white audiences the uncomfortable awareness of black suffering, anger and violence.

Of all the issues around Hip Hop, gangsta rap has the most power to ignite heated debate. There is even dispute over whether, as a sub-genre of Hip Hop, gangsta rap still exists in its original form. But to many young people today, this historic debate means nothing - gangsta rap is their music of choice.

While highlighting the plight of the underprivileged black community, the gangsta rap has sunk deep into the loathsome rut of the ghetto life. Some of them rap on poetry that incite racial hatred and use expletives glorifying mistreatment of women.

The problem is compounded as big businesses have jumped on the G-rap bandwagon, taking it across the airwaves into a huge money spinner.

Recently, CBS abruptly fired the controversial shock jock Don Imus from the radio show that he has hosted for nearly 30 years. His exit came a day after MSNBC said it would no longer televise it when it became clear that major sponsors pulled out from the show. CBS did not act on any moral conviction, but it was a business decision. Thus big business influenced this dramatic result.

Imus' description of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos" set off a national debate about taste and tolerance.

Hopefully some good can come out of this incident.

No comments: