John Herschend, in Cooper and Patton’s ‘‘Writing Logically, Thinking Critically’’ presents a number of issues about Rap Music in ‘Raps Takes a Bum Rap’. His central idea is that unlike other forms of art, and contrary to popular opinion, Rap Music is a powerful creativity and an attractive way of expressing real problems and moral decay in the society. Historically, Rap Music which is now economically attractive and quite entertaining began is the ghettos. At its inception, it was meant to demonstrate a DJ’s ability to spin and was predominantly of entertainment value. Overtime, Herschend observes that Rap musicians focused on issues affecting society in order to work on solutions. As a result, Rap Music was categorized into, gangster and hip hop, with the latter focusing on roughness in its expressions about violence and the former being more complex and organized in offering solutions to everyday problems. However, awareness-creation value of rap is rarely appreciated, even though, it both exposes and cautions against violent experiences to the kids and tendency to committing crimes. While acknowledging that not all Rap Music offer positive alternatives as some of them just worships violence in their expressions, he agrees that it is not necessarily the cause of violence but simply the expression of the existence of that reality. Despite these beliefs, society is ambivalent in appreciating it, yet it praises violent movies created around emotional appeal, both of them expressing the same reality notwithstanding. In any case, Rap Music as ‘violent’ it is anchored on it expression reality- both positive and negative emotions. He concludes that people should stop prejudice, and relate with deeper expression of social issues in Rap, away from the surface of its violence appearance.
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In my view, the author seems to get some things right and others wrong. While he documents the historical development of Rap Music, and acknowledges that most people only evaluate Rap Music on the basis of its violence, he fails to realize one thing rooted in psychology: that human beings are quickly judgmental and often times judge things on the surface. Interestingly, he appreciates that people can only acknowledge Rap Music when they assess the deeper meaning in its expressions. This is ironical because the question would then be: How can kids in their early years that are programmed to easily pick what they see know that and can they see the ‘‘deeper meaning’’ beyond the violent expressions for example? This is even more compounded by the fact that most Rap musicians themselves do drugs, were criminals or are doing drugs even today.
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