Mainstream Hip-Hop Is Deteriorating Black Communities And I'm Sick Of It

Mainstream Hip-Hop Is Deteriorating Black Communities And I'm Sick Of It

This genre of music, and the culture it has produced, is only contributing to the deterioration of the Black community.
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Because I lived in a predominantly white neighborhood for most of my childhood, I grew up listening to pop and alternative music. Of course, those weren’t the only two genres I listened to — I was aware of rap/hip-hop and I even liked it. However, my rap/hip-hop musical knowledge only expanded as far as songs made by Flo Rida (ew) and Lil Wayne (literally the only song I knew by him was “Lollipop,” which an 8-year-old shouldn’t even be listening to).

When I moved from the rural town I spent most of my childhood in, I was exposed to a bunch of different cultures and people. I moved to an urban area, so finally I was able to live amongst people who looked like me. It was shocking and amazing at the same time. I found myself being welcomed into a community I knew nothing about: the Black community. Soon, I started assimilating into the culture (how else was I going to get them to stop making fun of me for my “white girl” voice and terrible dance skills?).

With my assimilation came a knowledge of Black music (not even just rap/hip-hop, but dancehall, reggae, afrobeat, etc). Suddenly, it was like my Black spirit was awakened. I couldn’t understand why I had spent so much time jumping up and down (that’s the only dance move they knew in my hometown) to Katy Perry sing-crying over annoying, repetitive beats when I could’ve been bruking to dancehall. I developed an obsession with all the new styles of music I was exposed to, but my favorite above all was American rap/hip-hop.

It’s a little peculiar that I’ve lived in America my whole life, but I didn’t start listening to a genre of music developed here until I was a tween. When I started listening to it more, I found out that I really liked it. When I say really, I mean really. It was mainly the only thing I listened to. I listened to current mainstream artists. I even took it back and listened to old-school artists like Tupac, Nas, and Eazy-E. I listened to rap so much, but I truly don’t think I ever actually listened to what they were saying.

I don’t think most people do, or none of us would be wanting to sing along and dance to the new rap/hip-hop that is out right now. Rap started out in the '70s, first as a fun pastime at parties (DJs would spin beats and then local citizens would rap over them), but then it developed into a genre of music that highlighted personal struggles and oppression. Rap musicians wrote about their broken communities and the rigged system we live in. It was raw, emotional, and unfiltered. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything here. Rap has (for the most part) always been raunchy, vulgar, and littered with themes of drug use and violence. So my issue with today’s rap/hip-hop is not that it is raunchy, vulgar, and littered with themes of drug use and violence, my issue is that's all that there is within it.

Tupac could write a song where he talks about smoking weed, having sex with some random groupie, police brutality, and the perverse nature of the mainstream media all within the same verse. 21 Savage writes songs where he talks about shooting and robbing people and having sex with random women… Throughout the whole song… Where he typically repeats the same lines.

Today’s rap/hip-hop (mainstream artists only, this does not pertain to underground or lesser known artists that have a message, or even popular artists like Logic and Joey Badass that still speak about important topics) is so lazy and ignorant. It is not thought-provoking, nor does it do anything to inspire, challenge, or empower the youth. To be fair, there’s a lot of old-school rap with much of the same tired, uninspiring format:

But what separates old-school and new-school rap/hip-hop is that there were still songs with substance to be found back then. The way that old-school rappers talked about their struggles was not in a bragging manner; they made clear that they were products of a cruel system and that ultimately their decisions and the decisions of those around them were made out of a need to survive.

New-school rappers (who usually are posers — Drake was a child actor who never had to struggle, Rick Ross attended college and was a corrections officer for a little while) take pride in their nefarious activities without any condemnation of the system. They don’t even think their actions are wrong.

They don’t say “hey, I did all of these terrible things and I’m essentially a very violent person due to this country’s deep history or racism, which has established an institution of oppression that is sustained by keeping minorities in a state of poverty and disenfranchisement.”

They say something more along the lines of “hey, I did all of these terrible things and I’m essentially a very violent person, but I’m rich now, biaaaaaaatch.”

There is almost always nothing of value to be found in these songs, just mindless drivel about drugs, sex, money, and gang affiliation (not to mention the abundant amount of misogyny within their lyrics). It’s trash. Plain and simple.

Trash.

I know I can’t generalize and say that current mainstream artists never talk about important issues, they may once or twice, but it is not their sole message. They don’t think about the negative effects their lyrics have on the youth. And for this exact reason, I am sick and tired of my community continuing to promote and listen to this garbage. By celebrating people who identify as gang-bangers and f*ck boys, we tell our young men and women that type of person is who they should aspire to be, or who they should aspire to be with. There is nothing attractive about being in a gang, but yet here we are, a community riddled with gang-violence (violence that oftentimes leads to the death of innocent young men, women, and children), celebrating those that participate in gang violence. It’s disgusting. It’s foolish.

There is nothing attractive about having random (usually unprotected, they never advocate for condom use) sex with all different types of people. But here we are, a community riddled with teen pregnancies, unwed mothers, and children abandoned by their fathers, celebrating those who promote behavior that leads to these types of problems.

There is nothing attractive about selling drugs. Drugs kill people and damage lives. But here we are, a community riddled with drug abuse, high incarceration rates due to drug possession, and young children having to fend for themselves because their parents are strung out on crack, celebrating people who promote behavior that keeps this cycle going.

Mainstream rappers are rapping for themselves, not for the community. Look at how far away we’ve strayed from the original meaning of rap: what once started as an outlet to share the struggles that people in impoverished communities face and to highlight how the system destroys the innocence and optimism of these impoverished people, has now turned into a degenerate form of music where people brag about their fancy cars and clothes, how many people they can bang without strings attached, and how no one should challenge them because they’re dangerous and quick to end the lives of others.

How does what they're saying positively affect the community at all?

It’s disgusting. It’s foolish.

I hate that my community, after so much progress, still has to continue rehashing the same narrative. I am sick of the negativity and the celebration of pain. Can we rap about something positive for once? Can we rap about something that’s beneficial?

I am sick of this mainstream foolishness and the poison it seeps into the brains of our children. When we take a second to actually think about rap/hip-hop in its current state, how is it helping us other than giving us a catchy beat to dance to? It doesn’t inspire or challenge, it brainwashes and promotes ignorance.

I know I may sound hopeless, like I’ve given up on rap/hip-hop altogether, but that’s actually the furthest thing from the truth. I still love this genre of music — the love is dented and worn, but it’s still there. My problem is not with rap/hip-hop. When used to talk about personal struggles, societal issues, or to spread positivity, it’s amazing. It is unique and unlike any other style of music. I’m just sick of all the trash that is burying the good music within the genre. The music and artists we are making popular today are doing nothing but spewing hate in an unsophisticated and low-quality manner. Why do we like listening to them?

I have hope that one day we can reconnect with the true purpose of rap/hip-hip. I hope that we can promote artists with a message and vision, not artists that mumble or think that rhyming a word with the same word is actual talent. We only have a few popular rappers out that actually talk about anything worth mentioning (like Chance The Rapper). I hope that one day, all rap/hip-hop artists will be as talented as Chance The Rapper. In case we all forgot, becoming a famous musician is SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. They are supposed to have lyrical and vocal talent. When people like Danielle Bregoli can become a rapper (and actually have people listen to her, like wtf), then I know that rap/hip-hop listeners are lowering their standards. We need to stop elevating low-class, untalented, uninspiring artists.

One day, I hope that all of the rap that blasts through our speakers provokes us not to exhibit self-defeating behaviors, but instead causes us to think about the world around us. I hope that it will fill us with a sense of strength and dignity, that it will connect us with one another, not that it will promote isolation and distrust among the community.

For those of you in the Black community who claim to be aware of and care about the issues we face, how can you listen to music that contributes to the problems we are trying to solve?

I’ve deleted almost all of the mainstream rap/hip-hop I have on my phone.

Will you?

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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The Zodiac Signs As Bath And Body Works Scents

Just in case you want to know what scent you are!

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Bath and Body Works fans could be considered to be part of a cult. The scents draw you in as if calling your name, if you ever
wondered what your scent should be based on your zodiac sign, here it is!

Aries: Country Apple

The rather impulsive Aries takes their time picking and choosing the scents from Bath and Body Works. The soothing scent of a fresh apple orchard is just what they need on a daily basis to keep up with their shenanigans.

Taurus: Japanese Cherry Blossom

The personality of a Taurus is stubborn, or what I like to say, is stuck in their ways. When they first discovered this scent in middle school, this was it. This is the only scent you will find anywhere around a Taurus.

Libra: Pink Chiffon

Pink Chiffon is another cult classic. This best selling scent went out of style for a hot second but is back and bigger than ever.

Leo: Thousand Wishes

Thousand Wishes is a purr-fect scent for a Leo. The light scent adornes the wearer just the right amount to get the desired reaction from those around them.

Aquarius: Be Enchanted

The rather cold personality of an Aquarius is counteracted by the loving scent of Be Enchanted. The scent is just enough tenderness for the wearer to be relaxed.

Gemini: Moonlight Path

Gemini's constantly change their favorite scent and are in and out of the store almost weekly to by new lotions, candles, and body washes. You will never see a full empty bottle of anything, however, Moonlight Path is the scent they keep coming back to again and again.

Virgo: Sea Island Cotton

The clean personality of a Virgo must be matched with the clean scent of Sea Island Cotton.

Capricorn: Cucumber Melon

Another clean scent of Cucumber Melon is the exact thing a Capricorn needs. The balance and calming scents are what make this scent so attractive to a Capricorn.

Scorpio: Paris Amour

The light scent is what you would expect from an extreme sign like a Scorpio. The scent lightly washes over the wearer in almost a cloud that

Sagittarius: Cashmere Glow

Cashmere Glow is a perfect scent for the winter sign. The vanilla and golden peach scent is just the mixture that creates the perfect accessory in the chilly months.

Pisces: Warm Vanilla Sugar

This lovely scent accentuates the lovely personality of a Pisces. They can never get enough of this scent so they just keep buying and buying until they have a full stockpile.

Cancer: Velvet Sugar

Velvet Sugar is the perfect blend of red velvet and strawberries and a Cancer is always changing their mind. The wearer can tell if it is a more red velvet or strawberry kind of day, and that is the balance that they need in their lives.

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