Rap as a Language
Since its start in the music industry around nineteen eighty-eight rap music has always been under a lot of scrutiny for Its lyrics and messages that It portrays. Rap music has a long history starting back to the days of slavery and has come a long way since then bridging gaps between all genres of music including jazz, blues, and basic drum beats. When hip hop first came about its message was simple. It was groups of black men who described the life they were living in the ghettos all over the world.They felt helpless and viewed the government in a very strong negative way based on he lack of help African American’s were given in the contexts of housing, education, and living. As rap music developed and more artists started bringing their own styles to the hip hop community more messages were being brought.
HIP hop as a culture was formed on the political views of many black gang bangers who society cast aside and never thought would even be able to have political thoughts. In the mid nineties rap changed in a way that surprised many by having female artists come onto the scene.They were usually portrayed in a degrading manner by male artists In their lyrics and videos, but now women came forward and described themselves as sexual beings and how they have power over men based on their sexuality. Many critics have taken these stances that rap artists take and speculated over whether or not they convey a positive or negative message. Many view that the lyrics and videos provide children with the wrong idea and are the reason for sex at younger ages, and Stud’s being tan all time high.Rap is not responsible for the actions of young adults and music has always been a scapegoat for parents since the days of Elvis, and KISS. Rap Is Like all other genres of music in the sense that it is a statement.
During times of war artists criticized presidential actions and sang about peace. Rap Is a declaration of life for black men and questions the politics involved in their lifestyles and for women it is a way to express themselves as powerful independent beings because of their sexuality.Stereotypes are often placed into the minds of many people in the general public based on fixed images set in the minds of many MAT viewers. This has always been the case with generational music culture to fight for more dignified Images to be put Roth. Rap music Is a target for attack In the fervently mind because “they constantly raise the question have women been devalued” (Anne O’Connell). Femininity in Rap music is a movement in self expression. Women have played important roles in hip hop history but have always been back up singers or dancers in a more male dominated field.
Feminist researcher Anne O’Connell claims that, “not until the past ten years female rappers have made their mark and gained considerable recognition and respect as artists and lyricists in the field” (O’Connell). The female rap event spawned from female vocalists In the blues genre. These women sang about exploiting themselves sexually as a means of empowerment. Female rap artists took this idea from their predecessors and took off with this idea of female empowerment in a growing industry of hip hop.In nineteen ninety-five a female rap group by the name of Salt N Pepper came onto the scene and were the first women of the times to be viewed sexually and at the same time rap about being empowered. For having sex. In the song they say “l want to shop” meaning I want to have sex which was not something typical for female artists to say.
This song broke boundaries for women by disagreeing with the cliche myth that women should not discuss their sexuality and do not discuss their lust towards men. Pepper starts off in the song by saying, “What’s your name? No not you!The bow-legged one. Yeah. What’s your name. Damn! That sounds sexy. ” In the intro she has showed that women can be forward and approach men with a form of sexuality. She then goes on to say, “wicked, wicked, had to kick it.
I’m not shy so I asked for the digits. So I licked him like a lollipop should be licked. ” Pepper is also showing how forward she is by to being shy and asking a man she is interested in for his phone number. In the song they talk about how they want a certain man and where they want him to touch, and then go on to say that they want to have sex with him.Salt goes on to say, “Your packed and your stacked especially in the back, brother want to thank your mother for a butt like that. ” Her she is switching the roles of male and female stereotype. She is playing the role of the whistling construction worker.
She is talking about a male posterior in a way guys normally talk about a woman’s. Salt then goes on to say If looks could kill you would be an ooze, or a shotgun Bang! What’s up with that than I want to know how does it hang? ” She here is talking about the guys penis and she wants to know how big it is.Normally typical of men concerned about breast size. In the video, Salt N Pepper show men the same way women have always been portrayed in male videos. They have very muscular men who are wearing nothing but bathing trunks. The goal here is to place men in the same objectifying roles that women have been placed in. When the camera is placed on the men it is placed on a body part such as the abs, or chest, or legs and never zoomed in on their face to make them look more like objects then actual humans.
This use of erotic imagery shows that female desire is not only enjoyable but it is socially acceptable. Anne O’Connell writes, “Female lyricists boost women’s self esteem, also eradicating the stereotypical attitude that women need to be sexually submissive” (O’Connell). Salt N Pepper through lyrics and images have broken stereotypes and lessened female insecurities about their gender role by giving women a sense of identity and freedom in their ability to express their lust or desire. Another major female artist of the nineties to today’s generation is Ill Kim.She has done more for women’s expression of sexuality then any other artist and she does so in a raw uncensored manner. She is not afraid to say anything in her lyrics or show anything in her videos although they might have to be toned down for viewing on MAT or VHF of BET. It is no surprise that Christina Agiler asked her to be featured in her song “Can’t Hold us Down” a major female empowerment song.
Christina starts off by saying, “What am I not supposed to have an opinion? Should I be quiet Just because I’m a women?Call me a pitch cause I speak what’s on my mind, guess it’s easier for you to swallow if I sat down and smiled. ” Here she questions the role of women and how it used to be for them in society. She questions here ability to say what is on her mind and when she does she is called a pitch. She feels it might be easier for the man to swallow if the female is passive and not confrontational. She then goes on to say, “when a female fires back, suddenly the in tact in a lot of guys minds so when a female gives it right back they don’t know how to handle it.Men are used to be authoritative and having power and control over omen so that is why they cannot handle it when a women speaks here mind. In the chorus Christina starts to show the power women now have.
She sings, “This is for my girls all around the world / Who’ve come across a man who don’t respect your worth / Thinking all women should be seen, not heard / So what do we do girls? Shout louder! ” Christina is saying to all the women in the world if there is a man who does not respect you and thinks you should be quiet and not speak your mind Just shout louder.She then goes on to discuss a very well known double standard of society that she thinks should not exist. Christina states, “If you look back in history / It’s a common double standard of society / The guy gets all the glory the more he can score / While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a where / I don’t understand why it’s okay / The guy can get away with it & the girl gets named / All my ladies come together and make a change / Start a new beginning for us everybody sing. Here she faces the double standard that if a guy gets with a lot of women then it is fine and he does not get a bad reputation. Now at the same time if a woman gets with a lot of men then she is immediately labeled a where and it is Just not fair. She is telling women that it is okay to get with as many guys as they want and to help change this double standard that has been labeling women for generations. She then pokes fun at men who think they have a lot of game by saying, “you must talk big, to make up for smaller things.
” Here she is saying that big talkers probably have a small penis.In the video Christina sets up the guys on one side and the girls on the other like a typical middle school dance. She has the guys making rude gestures at the women and the women not having any of it. They shout right back at the men and stand up for themselves. Male Rap is not notorious for its help in the female sexual movement, but it has helped in the formation of making it a household genre. Male rap burst onto the scene in the late nineteen eighties and was formed out of the utter hatred for the lifestyle that many African Americans were living.They blamed this nation wide crisis solely on the white man and the politics of the government.
They felt that every ghetto was set up with certain aspects Kermis, Adam. Rap Music and the Poetics of Identity. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Kermis describes rap music from the formation of t to present day (2000) as a poetic form and how it Influences the artist and audience by giving them their own identity in art. He suggests that rap music is a positive influence in the world of arts opposing those who believe it to be a negative force.I found his examples to be helpful to my argument by giving examples of poetic moments in rap and help portray it as a useful language rather then a menace to the art society. Bough, John.
Out of the Mouths of Slaves: African American Language and Educational Malpractice. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1999. Bough argues that lack language to date is not as educated as that of white Americans based on its their language upon arriving to the states. He also claims that they were never given a chance and when they finally were their chances of succeeding and being taught were handicapped.This argument helps in the sense that it will show the other side of black language and how it started. It will help show the negative side of their language and play devils advocate to my point that black language in music is educated and political. Burning, Robbins.
English in Black and White. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1973. Burning compares the two languages of whites and blacks grammatically, phonetically, and socially. He compares and contrasts the two languages and asks the question is their a problem with black language and black learning based on his studies of inner city schooling.