Positive Message in Hip Hop When Most Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Positive Message in Hip Hop

When most people think of Hip Hop, they will often associate it with strong lyrics and the message it is sending. Its roots date back to New York City during the 1970s, as DJs would play various forms of music at different block parties. At the same time, some kind of rap is included which offers listeners with an underlying message they can connect with. These elements are combined with popular lyrics and sounds to create a unique style. As it tears away and deconstructs mainstream culture. (Lewis, 2009)

This is used to communicate about lifestyle choices and offer a way of thinking / behaving. These ideas have been utilized to provide a positive message to large segments of society through the challenges they are facing and how to overcome them. Most notably: escaping poverty, discrimination, an abusive family life / household and dealing with helplessness. (Lewis, 2009)

Two classic examples of this are Eminem and Nas. In both cases, these individuals grew up in abusive households, with poverty, chronic unemployment and are from broken homes. In the case of Eminem, he was from a family with a mother who suffered from mental illness and had trouble holding a job. While his father, abandoned him as an infant and refused to acknowledge any attempts to reconnect with him while he was growing up. This resulted in him changing schools every two to three years. These issues eventually resulted in him dropping out of high school after failing the ninth grade three times. ("Eminem Biography," 2013)

Whereas, Nas grew up in the Queens Bridge Projects and was from a broken home. He had trouble adapting academically and dropped out of high school in the eighth grade. However, despite these challenges, they were able to overcome these issues through the message that Hip Hop provided. Rapping, helped them to have a form of escape and refocus their frustrations into something more constructive. ("Biography of Nas," 2013)

Two songs that illustrate this are Not Afraid (by Eminem) and I can (by Nas). These were selected, because they highlight the difficulties each person faced in their personal lives and how they were able to overcome these challenges. This is illustrating the positive message that Hip Hop is providing and how it can change the way someone will see the world around them. As a result, the optimistic messages the listener will receive from them are: one of hope, determination, overcoming adversity and never losing faith in themselves.

Not Afraid by Eminem

The message in Not Afraid is talking about overcoming your challenges regardless of the situation in life or what is happening. This means having the strength to face any adversity and rise to the top. A good example of this can be seen with the lyrics which say, "And I just can't keep living this way. So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage. I'm standing up. I'm a face my demons. I'm manning up. I'm a hold my ground. I've had enough, now I'm so fed up. Time to put my life back together right now." These insights are telling everyone not let their situation in life negatively affect them. Instead, they need to change their focus and concentrate on improving themselves through dealing with their challenges and overcoming them. This is how they will have more empowerment and can take control of their situation. ("Eminem Lyrics," 2013)

Moreover, the song is showing everybody that they all face similar challenges when it comes to the adversities of life. The key is learning how to work through them in order to become stronger. Evidence of this can be seen in the lyric which says, "I'm not afraid (I'm not afraid). To take a stand (to take a stand). Everybody (everybody). Come take my hand (come take my hand). We'll walk this road together, through the storm. Whatever weather, cold or warm. Just letting you know that, you're not alone. Holla if you feel like you've been down the same road (same road)." This is showing how everyone is facing the same kind of adversities and challenges in life. ("Eminem Lyrics," 2013)

These underlying messages prove that each person has the ability to address them. The way this affects the listener is to connect with them on emotional and intellectual level. As they can see that they are not alone and have the power to rise above these issues. This gives everybody a sense of determination about becoming something more than who they are. ("Eminem Lyrics," 2013)

The way this inspires others is to let them know that they are not alone and none of their problems are permanent. Instead, they are temporary setbacks which will help to make them stronger over the long-term. This is what allows them to connect with and understand these two positive messages. Most notably: overcoming your challenges and that you are not alone. ("Eminem Lyrics," 2013)

I Can by Nas

The song I Can is about self-empowerment and being what a person chooses to be. This means that regardless of their circumstance, everyone must remain constantly focused on their dreams. These rewards are great, but the challenges along the way will test them. A good example of this is in the following lyrics which are saying, "I know I can (I know I can). Be what I wanna be (be what I wanna be). If I work hard at it (if I work hard at it). I'll be where I wanna be (I'll be where I wanna be). B- boys and girls, listen up. You can be anything in the world. In God we trust. You can be anything in the world, in God we trust. An architect, doctor, maybe an actress. But nothing comes easy it takes much practice." This is showing how everyone has the power to control and determine their own lives. The way that this is accomplished is through setting their minds to the challenges and making positive changes for the better. However, in the process, there will be obstacles along the way as nothing comes easy and they must continually focus on maintaining a certain amount of discipline in order to achieve these goals. Those who are able to do this can create empowering lives that will have a positive effect on themselves and the world around them. This is when they will become a role model for others to follow based upon the example they set. ("I Can," 2013)

The second message from the song I Can is words of caution about becoming caught up in corrupting influences. This is what can hurt most people who have the talent to be something more than what they really are. Yet, they will engage in activities that will harm their ability to deal with challenges and address the root causes of the problems they are facing. This can lead to other difficulties down the road which will negatively impact their future and overall ambitions in life. Evidence of this can be seen with the lyrics which say, "I met a woman who's becoming a star. She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe. Sing songs, Lena Horn, but the younger version. Hung with the wrong person. Got her strung on that heroin, cocaine, sniffin up drugs all in her nose. Coulda died, so young, now looks ugly and old. No fun cause now when she reaches for hugs people hold they breath. Cause she smells of corrosion and death. Watch the company you keep and the crowd you bring. Cause they come to do drugs and you came to singe. So if you gonna be the best. I'm a telling you how. Put your hands in the air and take a vow. This is for grown looking girls who only ten. The ones who watch videos and do what they see. As cute as can be, up in the club with fake ID. Careful 'fore you meet a man with HIV. You can host the TV like Oprah Winfrey. Whatever you decide, be careful, some men be rapists. So act your age. Don't pretend to be older than you are. Give yourself time to grow. You thinking he can give you wealth, but so young boys. You can use a lot of help you know. You thinkin life's all about smoking weed and ice. You don't wanna be my and can't read and write. Begging different women for a place to sleep at night. Smart boys turn to men and do whatever they wish. If you believe you can achieve, then say it like this." This is showing the negative influences that can impact the most promising individuals. Those who understand these potential road blocks can be able to avoid them and will have a strong as well as prosperous future. While anyone who chooses to walk this path; will lose whatever talent they have to these lurking dangers. The key to being successful is to realize them…

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