A doctorate thesis by T.M. Scholtes
Rap. Hip-Hop. R and B. To some, these words are straight poison in the mouth, a pharaoh’s curse upon society, the creepy multi-legged insect lying in wait beneath that huge rock you have to move every time you cut the grass but are forced to deal with regardless. To others, the phat beats and smooth lyrical flows are equivalent to the HD photographs from the HUBBLE telescope, the feel of an iced cold Corona in hand on the private beach of an exotic Latin masseuse, or the sensation of receiving an “A” on that test you didn’t study for and thought you completely bombed. Whoever you feel invented the style now played on iPods, computers, and boom boxes worldwide, you cannot deny its impact on the music world as we once knew it.
Music is not something you can see; it is not something you can smell. You cannot taste it; you cannot physically touch it with your hand. You only perceive it through you sense of hearing and the interpretations of your brain, and yet music has the ability to make your body react to all of these stimuli. Whether you are being moved “from the window, to the wall…” or taking some time out of your day to “Make it rain on these hoes…” rap music is there to comfort you. There was a study done in 2011 by the Oxford Society of Music on when and why people listen to certain music. Rap and Hip-Hop were most common when preparing for high-stress environments, such as athletic competitions and social interactions, such as dances, beer pong tournaments, and HALO 3 LAN parties [insert fake source here]. These people were much more prepared to take shots and make fools of themselves after jamming out to some “Big Pimpin’” and “Lollipop,” and were 30% more likely to commit misdemeanor offenses while singing along to the choruses of said songs. These are proven facts that rap music has set up youth culture to be more successful and outgoing then their parents were.
And yet some parents do not condone the playing of this “offensive” music. Hearing women called “bitches” and the word “fuck” being used as a noun, verb, AND an adjective all in one line has them calling for the ban of all similarly stylized music. They will let their children watch Spongebob tear his eyes off his own face and eat them while laughing, but freak out when they hear Nas rapping about how black people were slaves in America. Just like every tv show and movie is different, so is every rap song and rapper. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there for everyone. Each artist speaks to each person in a different way; much like you can stand in front of the Mona Lisa and think it is a painting of a rather ugly woman, and the artist couldn’t even line the background up correctly, yet when you see a water color of a dragon spitting flames upon a medieval castle, you must purchase it and put it above you fireplace. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but rap music will make you feel like you dropped acid and stood in a black hole and all your bones and muscles drifted apart from one another and then were hurriedly put back together by chimps.
Sorry about that last sentence, but I’ve been playing “U Can’t Touch This” for sixteen hours straight and I’m not entirely sure of what I CAN touch anymore…Now, across the globe, people are downloading and sharing rap music (and all kinds of music) faster and more frequently than ever before . I’m pretty sure that guy PSY was rapping in the song “Gangnam Style,” but if not, I’m sure he was influenced by it somewhat. Everyone reading this has an article of clothing financed or explicitly designed by a rapper, from Sean John to Roc-A-Wear, and Rick Ross was even an ADIDAS spokesman before his lyrics about date rape got some people mad for some reason. People can lie and cheat and do all sorts of terrible things IN REAL LIFE and no one cares, but when a rapper makes a made-up reference, it causes such turmoil and dispute. Anyone remember when Eminem first hit the scene, and everyone blamed him for their kids committing murder and doing drugs? If there is a band you like, chances are they have a song about sex. Any song that says “Let’s make love” or “I want to love you” or “I’ll love you in the ass all night” is about sex, and it isn’t fooling anybody. If you play “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” for your kids, you are equivically telling them Santa Claus isn’t real, only finding out about sex is much more fun than realizing your parents are the ones buying you presents.
What was the topic of this paper again? Oh right, rap music. Take these hot lyrics for example, from the one and only Tupac Shakur:
“First off, fuck your bitch and the clique you claim/ West side when we ride come equipped with game/ You claim to be a player but I fucked your wife/ we bust on Bad Boys niggas fuck for life/ Plus Puffy tryin’ to see me weak, hearts I rip/ Biggie Smalls and Junior Mafia some mark ass bitches/ We keep on coming while we running for your jewels/ steady gunning keep on busting at them fools, you know the rules/ Little Ceasar go ask your homie how I’ll leave you/ Cut your young ass up see you in pieces, now be deceased/ Little Kim, don’t fuck around with real G’s/ Quick to snatch your ugly ass off the streets, so fuck peace/ I’ll let them niggas know it’s on for life/ Don’t let the west side ride the night (ha ha)/ Bad Boys murdered on Wax and kill, fuck with me and get your caps peeled…” – 2pac
What a role model? 2pac teaches kids to stick up for themselves, to not let bullies hold them back, and that Biggie Smalls was just a mark-ass bitch (true story) . Hell, if we are taking dodgeball out of schools, at least let them listen to rap so they don’t grow up to be total sissies.
In conclusion, rap music is not a fad, and it is not going away anytime soon. Whenever you get drunk at a party and someone plays LMFAO, you will be singing along with the rest of them, whether you want to or not. Rap and Hip-Hop are just a part of our culture now; everyone born in the last 30 years has lived with it and gotten used to it, and will be blasting it for the next hundreds of years to come. It has affected what we wear, what we eat, what we drink, what kind of sustainable energy to fund, the situation in Darfur, and showed us that anyone who enjoys large asses is trustworthy (since they cannot lie). So grab your iTunes, and make sure it has Dr. Dre, Run-DMC, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, Vanilla Ice, and Nicki Minaj, and if it doesn’t, be sure to tell everyone you know how much you hate America. And Freedom.
Thomas Michael Scholtes (Guest writer for our special Improv issue) has been trying to make people laugh ever since he sharted at Pizza Hut in 1994. He has done improv comedy for the past 10 years, from the University of Maryland to The Comedy Pigs in Frederick, Maryland.