Harm of Rap Music Rap Term Paper

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The first is a test that is spelled out in Electric v. Public Service Commission which states that 'commercial speech obtains a lesser degree of protection from the First Amendment than that of "pure' or 'core' speech. The second of the tests was established in the 1969 Brandenberg v Ohio case involving a Ku Klux Klan leader who was found guilty of advocation of violence and a crime syndicate and on appeal to the Supreme Court the conviction was overruled when the court stated that:

It was held that the constitutional guaranties of free speech and free press did not permit a state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation, except where such advocacy is (a) directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action, and (b) was likely to incite or produce such action."

Another case cited in this article is McCollom Records, Inc. In which the court stated:

Merely because art may evoke a mood of depression as it figuratively depicts the darker side of human nature does not mean that it constitutes a direct "incitement to imminent violence." The lyrics sung by Ozzie Osbourne may well express a philosophical view that suicide is an acceptable alternative to a life that has become unendurable -- an idea which, however unorthodox, has a long intellectual tradition.

The article last cites he following court ruling in Davidson:

t]he constitutional protection accorded to the freedom of speech and of the press is not based on the naive belief that speech can do no harm, but on the confidence that the benefits society reaps from the free flow and exchange of ideas outweigh the costs society endures by receiving reprehensible or dangerous ideas"

The courts have restricted access to explicit content by minors through the Recording Industry Association of America's rating system under the Parents' Music Resources Center act. However, lacking any specifics the label does not tell exactly what explicit content the music contains. Citizens and activists are pushing for a rating system in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission that would spell out the degrees of severity as to the content of violence or sex within the lyrics for labeling purposes.

Critic Achin Rogers states the following about rap music:

Gangsta-rap, more than a pressure release, is a reflection of the horrendous suffering, pain and frustration of ghetto life in the hood.... Instead of censuring the messenger for creating an art form out of "urgent alarm," we need to be up-in-arms in opposition to the conditions this art form is reflecting.... [if Americans were] sincerely concerned, they would work towards changing the conditions which have birthed these lyrics instead of seeking the typical American cosmetic fix of cover-up and silencing the voices which tell of [those who are] disadvantaged, discriminated against, ignorant and violent."

In an article titled, "Hip Hop Summit on Social Responsibility" written by Yvonne Bynoe, stated is that the Reverend Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network organized this summit to address the people concerning 'social responsibility' in Hip Hop. The writer states that as usual, nothing came of the meeting and states the following as well:

Over and over again, so-called community leaders bemoan the state of rap music and Hip Hop, as if they are powerless to change. In a capitalist society change comes when you tap into corporate wallets. In reality they know this, but they are uncomfortable with the prospect of taking actions that will affect young black artists. However, at this point in time, rap music and Hip Hop culture has become corporate entertainment, whereby many Black rap artists get paid not only for speaking their individual truth but for performing the roles of ganster, pimp and ho' for the enjoyment of the white audiences. Black communities have to decide what they want for themselves and their children and then convey that to the local radio station, cable networks, their advertisers

In the article entitled "Rap, Black Rage, and Racial Difference" written by Steven Best and Douglas Kellner in the publication Enculturation, Vol.2, No.2, Spring 1999 the authors state that:

Some rap singers cultivate the outlaw and rebel image through their clothes, their life-styles, and in many cases their crimes, serving as a warning of the rage and violence seething in underclass ghetto communities. But other rap artists engage in political rap or 'conscious rap' seeing themselves as knowledge warriors and spokepeople for an oppressed underclass. "Organic intellectual (Gramsci) of the underclass, political rap artists articulate a variety of black cultural styles ranging from Afrocentric black nationalism to cool and funky urban hedonism. Rap thus points to the diversity of African-American communities and is itself a musical genre that makes its audience vividly aware of the difference between the various social groups in U.S. society and the oppression of the underclass. "

In this abstract it lists the objective of the 10-year study as being the review and research of literature published over the last ten years in relation to the impact of media on children and adolescents. The methodology used was computer research as well as television, movies and videos. Results of the study show that "children learn behaviors shaped by media." Conclusions were that:

The primary effects of media exposure are increased violent and aggressive behavior, increased high-risk behaviors, including alcohol and tobacco use, and accelerated onset of sexual activity. The newer forms of media have not been adequately studied, but concern is warranted through the logical extension of earlier research on other media forms and the amount of time the average child spends with increasingly sophisticated media. (J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc Psychiatry, 2001, 40(4):392-401.)"


There are detrimental effects to children and adolescents that listen to violent and sexually graphic lyrics. The posture of disrespect for others is blatant in much of the rap music of today. Although all rap music is not the same, and although there exists rap music with a "consciousness" the detrimental effects of rap music on the development of children is a factor in today's society and does seem to affect the behavior of children exposed to the lyrics glorifying the use of drugs and alcohol, violence, disrespect for authority and other negative influences and factors.


Sullivan, Rachel E. (2003) "Rap and Race: It's Got a Nice Beat, but What about the Message?" Journal of Black Studies, Vo.l 33 No. 5 605-622 (2003)[Online] located at: Connecticut{http://jbs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/refs/33/5/605

Best, Steven & Kellner, Doug (1999) "Rap, Black Rage and Racial Difference:" Enculturation, Vo. 2, No. 2 Spring 1999 [Online] located at http://enculturation.gmu.edu/2_2/best-kellner.html

Bartleby Online Dictionary (2004) Def. "Gangster Rap" [Online] located at http://www.bartleby.com/61/66/G0036675.html

Freeman, Lauren (2000) MC Timz Editorial Con: "Rap does more harm than good" Michigan Chronicle 11.21.2000


Mizal-Archer, Michele (2001) "In Search of Solutions From Rap Music to Relationships, Teens Tackle Community Issues" the Virginian Pilot; 4/8/2001 [Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:73008295&num=5&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Anyanwu, Evans C. (2004)" Let's keep it on the download; why the educational use factor of the fair use exception should shield rap musci from infringement claims." Rutgers Computer and Technology Journal; 3-22-03


Krotoszynski, Ronald J. Jr. (2000) "calibrating the cost of harm advocacy: getting beyond Brandenburg." William and Mary Law Review; 4/1/2000; [Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:62519992&num=7&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Comer, James P. (1990) What makes the new generation tick? Psychiatrist cites history, automation, "integration" and pop culture. Ebony Magazine 8-01-1990 (Special Issue - the New Generation of the '90s) [Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:9205085&num=46&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Hinkley, David Coalition of women's groups declares war on 'degrading' rap music. Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service 8-27-93 (Originated from New York Daily News)[Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:13238395&num=30&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Tergesen, Anne E. (1995) the Record: Protestor Rap Time Warner [Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1P1:22476440&num=11&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Katz, Larry (2003) Study: Violent Rap Videos Make Kids More Violent the Boston Herald; 7/22/2003;

Chen, Vicki (1994) "What's the matter with rap?" The New York Beacon,; 6/24/1994;[Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:105687410&num=9&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Bazzini, Doris G. (1999) Genre of music and lyrical content: expectation effects. Journal of Genetic Psychology; 12/1/1999; [Online] available at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:58119453&num=25&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Dee, Juliet (2003) Communications and the Law: Discouraging "objectionable" music content: litigation, legislation, economic pressure, and more speech. 4/1/2003 [Online] located at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:104440660&num=23&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Villani, Susan (2001) "Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-Year Reviw of the Research." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 4-1-2001

Adapted from chart in report of Bazzini 1999

Bazzini, Doris G. (1999) Genre of music and lyrical content: expectation effects. Journal of Genetic Psychology; 12/1/1999; [Online] available at http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc3.asp?DOCID=1G1:58119453&num=25&ctrlInfo=Round9a%3AProd%3ASR%3AResult&ao=

Comer, James P. (1990) What makes the new generation tick? Psychiatrist cites history, automation, "integration" and pop culture. Ebony Magazine 8-01-1990 (Special Issue - the…[continue]

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