Rap Good for the Soul

By Oscar Villalva ’16

Rap music is known for its vulgar lyrics and content, which attracts many young people today. But many people tend to overlook the other side of rap. A side that speaks out on issues.

This particular kind of rap has seen a rise within the last year police brutality against citizens has been increasingly  caught on camera. Artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar have spoken out against police brutality and how they and society are affected by it.

This has been going for a long time with artists such as 2Pac and N.W.A speaking out against police brutality. Their music didn’t only shed light on the issue but also gave people a voice. Along the way, they also caught the attention of the police. N.W.A’s F The Police, off of their debut album Straight Outta Compton, spoke out against the Los Angeles Police Department. This caused outrage among many. It eventually caught the attention of the FBI. This shows how one issue can cause another issue, such as the 1992 Los Angeles riots following the acquittal of four police officers who had brutally beaten Rodney King.

Apart from causing a negative reaction from the people, rap has also shown a positive reaction. Students at Cleveland State University and protesters at the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March chanted “we gon’ be alright”, the chorus to Kendrick Lamar’s song Alright off of his album To Pimp A Butterfly.

This kind of rap just doesn’t stop in the U.S. Daughters for Sale by 16 year old Sonita Alizadeh in Afghanistan decided to speak out against arranged marriage upon hearing that she would be sold into marriage. Although it was released over a year ago, it has recently caught media attention. Strongheart Group, “an organization that helps individuals directly impacted by social issues,” according to CNN, reached out to Sonita and offered her a student visa and scholarship to attend Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah.

They show how rap, if not music as whole, can give the unheard a voice, make a change in society, and motivate others. Rap isn’t just about making money and living a flashy lifestyle. We should look at rap as stories of those who have been through difficulties, who make a change and prevent others from experiencing what they went through.

Many will argue that rap isn’t a form of music, but there is a side that touches those who experience difficulties in their everyday lives.

Music as a whole is a huge influence that can push our society towards safety.

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