Rap As It Really Is

By Damon Long

Rap music has grown in popularity over the last decade, and with that popularity has come the power to reach the impressionable minds of teen-agers. For the most part, all that "Rap Role Models" do is glorify themselves, put down other rappers, and talk about making money.

All of this was trivial at best in the beginning, but now rap is a multi-million dollar "big brother" telling teens that without money they're nothing. There are a few exceptions in the business, such as Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Kool Moe Dee, and Public Enemy, who use their influence to teach as they entertain.

There are many positive messages to be found in rap music, along with some of the most innovative, colorful lyrics ever written, but much attention is focused on such negative things as the vulgarity and violence of Easy E and N.W.A., or the 1987 arrest of L. L. Cool J for possession of crack.

Although these events are unfortunate, why dwell on them? Why not focus on the song "Self Destruction" (a USA for Africa-type effort, speaking against drugs and violence) or Run D.M.C.'s effort to promote voter registration on their last tune.

Rap is just like any other part of the music industry; it contains both positive and negative, but regardless of what the media tells you, always remember that there are two sides on every coin.