Please watch this video before jumping to the remainder of this post. It’s 12 minutes long, but you’ve got the time (you know you aint doin’ nothin’ that important).

OK, what you’ve just watched was a video that’s a little less than a year old featuring a Brotha named Lavoisier (aka “The Rap Terrorist”) addressing some middle-schoolers about Hip-Hop music, its creators and its influence on young people (i.e. them).

A novel idea, as nobody ever really talks directly to the kids about their opinions on the music many think is so bad for them, and I applaud this cat for doing it; but I’m not feeling everything he had to say.

I could pick this video apart and point out what I see to be its pros and cons, but that’s been done. What I have the biggest issue with is his discussion of the music’s influence. He asked the class if the music effected the way they thought or spoke; to which they almost unanimously replied “yes.”

What he didn’t do is ask the children how it effected them. He tells the kids they said it effected them negatively, but they didn’t.

From what I could see, that looked like a classroom full of bright-eyed, well-spoken and well-thinking kids, so if they indeed had all been effected by the “evil”, “fake” and “dangerous” music of Hip-Hop, it seems to have been kinda positive.

See, kids are really, really smart — much smarter than we give ’em credit for. A kid with parentally-instilled common sense knows that what they see and hear on radio and TV is not to be blindly emulated, especially if what they see and hear are the often harsh words and images of Hip-Hop.

Music is, always has been and always will be entertainment. That’s not to say that it can’t be more than that, but at it’s core it is meant to make you do nothing more than sing and/or dance. Homeboy made it a point to assure the kids of how fake the rappers making their favorite songs were because they didn’t presently live the lives they rapped about, and then called the MCs liars for saying in interviews that “it’s just entertainment.”

It’s a double-standard.

I never understood why what rappers do is looked at so differently than what other entertainers do, and why they are constantly put to task about their product. Is an R&B singer a liar for singing about love they used to be in or that they’ve seen but never actually experienced? On “Apologize“, Timbo’s group OneRepublic sings about killing themselves after being heartbroken, but them whiteboys are alive like a muthafucka. Are they liars, too?

And what about actors? I just watched Angelina Jolie shoot 10 people in the head with one bullet the other night, but all you hear in the news is how she’s saving the world through adoption. Nobody calls her “fake” for not being a real killer. Martin Scorcese has been making nothing but gangster movies for the last fuckin’ 20-somethin’ years, but he’s never been considered a menace.

I understand that much of Hip-Hop is predicated on the idea of “realness”, but for people as successful as the ones named in this video to really do the things they spit about would be just plain stooopid. That’s real.

And as far as its influence, bottom line is this: Make sure the young people in your life have some damn sense, and you’ll never, EVER have to worry about what they watch or listen to. I’ve been listenin’ to that hardcore shit for long as I can remember and today I’m college-educated, gainfully employed and brutally handsome, to boot. 😉 My nieces, aged 12 and 9, watch R-rated movies with their father all the time (they would listen to rap with me if they liked rap, but they don’t like any rapper who hasn’t a done a song with Chris Brown – they looove them some Chris Brown), and they’re two of the brightest, sweetest non-curseword-using children I’ve ever known.

So I guess I said all that just to say this: If you don’t like it, don’t listen to it — but stop hatin’!! If rappers have more influence on your kids than you do, that means that YOU fucked up somewhere.

OK, I’m done venting now. Be back soon.


1 Comment

  1. “I never understood why what rappers do is looked at so differently than what other entertainers do, and why they are constantly put to task about their product.”

    “Rap is different because much of it sells on the credibility of the artist. When 50 mashed on Ja Rule and made him look like a sucker, Rule’s record sales dropped because his credibility was destroyed. Arnold Schwarzenegger NEVER ‘claimed’ to be a Terminator in real life. Al Pacino NEVER said he was a drug kingpin in REAL LIFE (Scarface). But buy ANY Smack DVD or any hood DVD and you’ll see some wealthy rapper flashing guns and saying how REAL they’re music is. I saw a member of Dipset on a DVD a while back claiming to have just bought whole arms shipment of Mac-10s, Tech 9s and even grenades!!! Grenades fam? C’mon. I NEVER heard Nicholas Cage (Gone in 60 Seconds) say that he stole cars in REAL LIFE. So that to me is a futile argument.”
    -Lavoisier in an Illspot.net Interview

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