AP 11th English
Ms. J.E. Stroh
Dec. 10, 2014
The Detrimental Effects of Music What is music? For hundreds of years, music has been defined as an art that produces beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion through the use of instrumental sound. During the latter half of the twentieth century, music evolved into many different genres including country, rock and roll, pop, hip-hop, and reggae. These genres are seen, by most people, as harmonious and a way to release emotion. People go to work or school in the morning listening to the radio that gets them motivated to have a positive day. However, certain genres of music like metal rock and hip-hop that are popular to the general public have caused widespread controversy in society, mainly in America. Teenagers can easily access any type of music with their smart phone or computer. These teenagers are exposed to music that is not beauty of form or harmonious or true expression of emotion. They are exposed to music that creates a horrible image of life and a distraction from school. While many people think music is harmless, they have been oblivious to what music can really do and how it has affected them. Many genres of music in today’s world negatively impact society with their questionable lyrics and raucous beat. One popular genre of music, hip-hop, harms the community by using offensive lyrics to create a negative image to the people, mainly teenagers, who listen to it. According to John H. McWhorter, author of “Hip Hop and Rap Lyrics Contains Gratuitous Violence and Cause Harm,” confirms that hip-hop is dominated by rappers with criminal records who brag about their desire for lawlessness, materialism, and antisocial behaviors whom many young teenagers, mainly African Americans, idolize and emulate (1). These teenagers are being brainwashed to believe that violence is not so bad. This encourages them to follow in the rapper’s footsteps. In Matthew Robinson’s article, “There Is a Link Between Violent Lyrics and Violent Behavior,” the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation suggests that the teenage listeners are more likely to commit violent acts and abuse alcohol (1). The last thing society needs is a generation of violent, alcoholic, and abusive teenagers.
Rap artists use several repulsive themes in their lyrics and music videos that can be heard or seen anywhere by teenagers. For example, Robinson writes: The following themes, which are featured prominently in some lyrics, can be particularly troublesome:
Drugs and alcohol abuse that is glamorized.
Suicide as an “alternative” or “solution”
Sex which focuses on control, sadism, masochism, incest, children devaluing women, and violence toward women. (1)
Not only do these “musical artists” create this horrible image with these lyrics, they also spread their message around by making music videos which appear on television. McWhorter asserts that the music videos feature rap stars flashing expensive jewelry, exotic cars, and dancing with near nude women (1). This makes teenagers believe that this is the high life. They are made to believe that if they get a college degree, never did drugs, or have a family with an income not more than a million dollars, they have not accomplished anything in life. As a result, a drastic change needs to transpire. If society does not want these young teenagers to become violent or abusive, parents need to take action for any improvement. By the time a teenager turns fifteen, that teenager starts to take responsibility of him/herself. However, their minds are not fully developed and are susceptible to being brainwashed by this rap music. They learn from what their role models do and say. Robinson asserts that the parents are not paying much attention to the music and videos that their children are listening to (1). Thus, Robinson believes, “Parents can help their teenager’s purchasing, downloading, listening and