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A Counterculture Rooted In Anger

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Young men walk down the urban streets bopping their heads to the music that has been etched there through time and recitation. They murmur lyrics of drug wars, the "bitches" they've slept with, and the men they've slain. The music blaring from nearby car speakers verbalizes images of mansions and endless women; cars and jets; sexual promiscuity and violence. Gathering money by any means necessary is a way of life for them; they look to the music videos on the television for role models and guides to life's secrets, but so few of them turn to the school books for direction. They will preach to anyone who will listen about the revolution that has already begun and how far they are willing to go to do their part in that revolution, but what does this misguided nation really know of mental and spiritual revolution?

When asked, "Would you call your mother a 'bitch', and exploit your sister by asking her to shake her behind in a pair of barely-there shorts?" most would answer "no"; I find it difficult to conceive how so many men exploit their own, selling out to the power of the American dollar. These are the same people quick to yell, "Sellout! Sellout!" to any of their fellows who commit to schooling or moving up the corporate latter, and the same who do not realize that, in fact, they are the betrayers for they have swindled their own race while the other simply tries to better himself. This is what rap music has been reduced to in the last decade.

Every music video, whether the song is about money, sex, or violence, depicts women as exotic dancers, pumping their bodies against men they hardly know and their material possessions. These lyrics are demeaning to the women that they are directed towards as well as to the women who are exposed to these venomous assaults on the ears. These lewd lyrics also significantly take away from the original message that Rap set out to deliver in the 70s. There are so many variations of ways that these lyricists demean women. The verses in this song, as well as others of its genre, degrade women, reducing them to sex toys and mindless objects to be had then disregarded as is noted in Mike Jones's Bounce Dat Ass:

I blew up quick up in the game

Now these sluts chasin'

I fuck em',

Leave em',

And send em' home with some fuck faces.

While many artists actually make an attempt at educating the populace, African Americans in particular, the vast majority sell a message of sex and drugs, violence and poverty. In a world where poverty is the norm, a voice of hope is needed to uplift and educate. This is exactly what Rap music started out as, but the sharp turn it took has afforded African Americans nothing but an excess of excuses for why we as a people can not progress.

With high school completion rates so low and death rates so high in minorities ages 16-25, the last thing the African Americans need for inspiration is someone telling them to go out and "get on the grind". It seems as though we, as a people, have learned nothing from the lives already lost to the "street life". And if we are going to choose to learn a lesson from anyone it need not be the common thug on the street corner selling cocaine to the neighborhood children and spitting vile lyrics to young women walking past.

Not only do Rap videos present images of near-naked women, but their combined presentation of lyrics and images give young children a false sense of what should be worked for. After seeing mansions and cars, all delivered in a manner that makes "thug life" seem so easily attainable and maintained, many young men and women turn away from the books and towards the rough streets in search other this easy money, this perfect lifestyle. It presents a false



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