What role does hip-hop play in the youth and how did “gangster rap” create a new perspective/era of hip-hop?

Pictured above is Kendrick Lamar

By: Ethan Tong

In the past few years Hip-Hop music has taken over the music industry, and completely taken over the billboard charts. Hip-Hop has been very popular within the youth and affected a lot of the culture, including the way the youth dress, act and speak. The youth are attracted to Hip-Hop because it brings people energy, is often relatable and is also a strong unique form of art. Because this genre has taken the youth by storm, youth have begun to closely follow many different artists and producers looking up to them as role models. This new “generation” of youth and artists/producers is especially tightly knit as they are in the same age range, ranging from 16-25, creating an instant connection. This creates a culture in which these creators and their fans can meet on a mutual level and interact and participate within this group. A great example of this connection can be linked to Young Thug. Known as one of this generation’s greatest hip hop influencers, he originally burst into the hip hop scene with his popular album “1017 Thug” in 2013 which attracted a large amount of fans to this genre. 6 years later he released “So Much Fun” with new younger artists that have generated lots of popularity amongst the youth like Lil Uzi Vert, Gunna and Lil Baby.

All music genres can be relatable but there has been a special connection between hiphop and the youth for a while now. Recently artists have been implementing their political views into there music which so far has been very well received by the public. A large amount of rappers these days have come from a tough upbringing which is a huge influence in their music. An example of one of these hip hop artists is Kendrick Lamar Duckworth or Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick Lamar witnessed his first murder at age five outside his apartment. “A guy was out there serving his narcotics and somebody rolled up with a shotgun and blew his chest out. Admittedly, it did something to me right then and there. It let me know that this is not only something that I’m looking at, but it’s something that maybe I have to get used to.” Three years later, Kendrick would see his second murder. This time it was at the Tam’s Burgers on Central and East Rosecrans which was an iconic compton hangout spot that is now closed.

It’s extremely sad and unfortunate that people go through these ordeals on a daily basis but that’s also what makes Hip Hop so powerful. The story that was just shared by Kendrick is just one of the countless examples of senseless violence in the world. With power and fame, rappers such as Kendrick, might inspire others  to share their stories in different ways and one of which is rap. Of course there’s another part of the culture which is the rich “fun” lifestyle side. Artists will often “flex” and show off their wealth with jewelry, money, luxuries most can’t afford and women. With this, I believe it would be a great topic to cover in an episode or half of one because I feel like not a lot of people realize the meaning behind certain songs or albums and we could be teaching lots of people about this. We want people to see past the negative concepts of hip hop and see that it is actually a form of art and expression. 

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