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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Kate Middleton is basically a household name by now, and how could this not be the case when she has the gorgeous hair, kind smile, and incredible fashion sense. With her constantly in the spotlight looking so put together, we sometimes forget that the Duchess was actually all of us in college!

Here are 18 times that Kate proved she was just like all of us.

1. Going all out in the name of school spirit

There is nothing like breaking out the war paint and screaming for your home team. Like Kate, we all love to get a little messy and make some memories with our friends.

2. Hanging out with the roomies

Some people may not get lucky in this area but for those who are best friends with their roommates, they understand the love. It's a dream come true for everyone who has always wanted to live with their best friends. It's like a sleepover that never ends.

3. Dressing up cute on the first day of school...

You got to make a good first impression on your way to school. Whether it's during your 7 A.M or 4 P.M., it's always best to dress to impress.

4. ...and wearing yoga pants for the rest of the year

And this goes all the way until the last week of school when you don't bother getting out of bed to wear pants at all.

5. Going grocery shopping and throwing in cookies, ice-cream, and every type of Pringles because your mom isn't there to say no

You'll probably regret that in a few months when the Freshman Fifteen kicks in.

6. Walking for miles from your car to your dorm carrying groceries

We can't park by the apartment for a solid five minutes to carry our groceries up to the kitchen or we will risk a ticket, but we can walk a few miles carrying food that gets heavier, and heavier, and heavier with every step.

7. Going out for a night on the town on a Friday night

Dancing, laughter, and fun? Everyone in college has been to a party or two. It's a classic part of the college experience. Sometimes you just need a distraction from all the essays and tests.

8. Being so late to class you threw on whatever your hands grabbed next

We've all been there. Our alarm doesn't go off, we press snooze a few too many times, or forget to even set an alarm and next thing you know we are running around the dorm room like Taz from Looney Toons. You throw on whatever, then run to class.

Unfortunately 9/10 times our outfits don't turn out. Although, Kate can certainly pull off this look, no matter how mismatched.

9. Pretending your walking to the same building as the cute boy you met so you have the excuse to keep talking to him

I am very guilty of doing this. Although I missed my class, at least I got to talk to the really cute boy who has class at 9:45 in the STEM building. It was worth it.

10. Sitting on the floor or standing because you're a poor college student who can't afford chairs or tables

Eating on the floor? Always. Being a college kid is tough and sometimes you have to sacrifice some things to obtain the others. Such as choosing chocolate milk and Halo Top over vegetables and hair conditioner.

Judging by Kate's beautiful locks, she chose the conditioner.

Probably the vegetables too.

We should just all follow her example.

11. Going on cute date with the boy you followed to class-turned-boyfriend

Now my short-lived romance may not have extended farther than us talking and walking to his class, but Kate and William obviously had a better ending. Nevertheless, college is the place to grow and date and possibly find the one.

12. Keeping your hair long and growing because you can't afford to get it cut

Don't trust your roommate. No matter how many times she begs you to let her cut it. Don't.

13. Turning 21 and getting dressed up and going out with your best friends

While this one probably doesn't apply to Kate, since you can drink at age 18 in most countries, all my people in the United States know the sweet freedom of turning 21. It's an iconic time in a students life and marks a huge milestone as well.

14. Passing out flyers for some type of movement or protest

Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger - which is why college is the time to stand up for what you believe in. May that be RedforEd, Planned Parenthood, anti-Abortion, Trump, the Wall, pizza bagels, it's all an exercise of the first amendment.

15. Ranting to your friends about the professor that just "doesn't understand you"

You know your thinking about that professor right now as you read this. And you know that that's your reaction whenever they give you a bad grade or say something you disagree with at the tiniest degree.

16. Getting glammed-up for those senior photos

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17. Walking out of your last class knowing you'll never have to write a single paper again

And purposefully not thinking about how you will be going into the real world in less than a few days.

18. When you've graduated and realized you have no idea what you're going to do with your life

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Cover Image Credit: Laura Warshauer

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Bart Starr passed away at the age of 85 in Birmingham, Alabama. The NFL lost a great player. The Green Bay Packers lost a hero. And, the world lost a true gentleman. Starr's legacy has surpassed his accomplishments on the gridiron. He inspired not only his peers but the generations that have come after him. He is — and always — will be remembered as a Hall of Famer, a champion, and a Packer.


Bart Starr was a Packers legend. Starr led Green Bay to six division titles and five world championships. As the quarterback of Vince Lombardi's offense, he kept the machine going and executed the plays like no other. His mastery of the position was a large part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Starr was also the perfect teammate for the perfect team. His leadership put him in command of the Packers. Starr's time in Green Bay will not be forgotten by former players, coaches, and the fans.

Bart Starr's resume is rivaled by few in NFL history. He played in 10 postseason games and won 9 of them. He led the Packers to victory in Super Bowls I and II and won the MVP award in both games. He was the MVP of the league in 1966 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1960s. The Packers retired his number 15 and Starr has been inducted into the Packers and Pro Football Hall of Fame.


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One of Starr's last visits to Lambeau field was on a cold November night in 2015. Starr and his wife attended a ceremony in which the Packers retired Brett Favre's jersey number. Starr was the perfect personification of what it meant to be a Packer. His most heroic moment came in the 1967 NFL Championship Game. The Ice Bowl came down to a third and goal in Lambeau Field's south endzone against the Dallas Cowboys. Starr came to the sidelines and bravely told Vince Lombardi that he can sneak it in for a game-winning touchdown. Lombardi then replied, "Run it, and let's get the hell out of here." Starr ran a quarterback sneak for the game-winner and the Packers were off to Super Bowl II. Without Starr, Green Bay would not have won a second straight Super Bowl. His leadership in big game moments will live with Packers fans for a lifetime.

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Starr leaves behind his wife Cherry, his son, and three granddaughters. Packers fans will have a tight grip on the memories Bart Starr and the 60s teams created. Starr left behind a template for being a Green Bay Packer. He also left a template for being a good man and a gentleman of the game of football. He was a competitor and a leader. Packer nation mourns for the loss of one of the finest human beings the game has seen.

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