There is a great misperception of hip-hop by the mainstream community that I propose gets adjusted properly, by spreading awareness in some manner.
As a hip-hop artist and musician, I don’t feel comfortable telling people that I am a rapper because of all the stigmatisms that come with that label. You hear it all the time: “Rap glorifies violence, it objectifies women, etc.” I don’t understand how anyone could make generalizations like that. Rap doesn’t objectify women, people do. Our culture has been objectifying women for a while now, and hip-hop is neither contributing nor subtracting from that.
When I do tell people that I rap, their standard response is, “Yo, yo, yo,” which is offensive, for a number of reasons. The fact that people believe that’s what the hip hop genre amounts to is deeply upsetting. And yes, there are ignorant rap songs. But every genre has ignorant music.
There just seems to be cultural “truths” that the majority of Americans hold valid without any need for confirmation, and rap being “garbage” is one of those truths. The ignorance penetrates our culture so deeply that on one occasion Bill O’ Reilly referred to Jay Z’s and Kanye West’s music as “gangster” rap– likely never having had listened to either of those artists, both of which are far removed from gang culture as any musician could be.
I propose that we provide people with a questionnaire on hip-hop and show them what queries they got wrong. Along with the questionnaire could be a pamphlet informing the person of all the positives regarding rap culture. Making hip-hop music has provided youth growing up in poverty with alternatives to turning to crime. Rap actually stands for “rhythm and poetry”, and the genre has always been about being poetic–as well as pleasant sounding. Furthermore, the wordplay showcased in rap is unprecedented in any other music genre.
Additionally, I’d like to perform in-depth studies to trace where people’s negative views of hip-hop originate from, and eradicate that source. I’ve heard so many simply false statements from those who refuse to actually listen to the genre, and it is quite troubling to know that so many people believe an incorrect thing.
Ultimately, my desire is for these actions to solve multiple social issues. One time I was playing a game with an elderly man where we’d have to come up with oxymorons. The one he came up with was “Rap Music”, as though saying rap isn’t music–which is so disrespectful to the people who’ve dedicated their life to the art form. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t make it irredeemable.
Eventually, I want this proposal to:
-help stop the deprecation of hip-hop as an art
-educate people on something which they very well may know nothing about
-help hip hop artists to be respected like other musicians in other genres.
-have rappers not to be thought of as simpletons, as they are made out to be, and I want rappers to be recognized as intelligent, literate people with expansive vocabularies and quick minds.
...I just want to be able to tell people I’m a hip-hop artist without feeling ashamed.