Hip Hop Isn’t to Blame for Your Kids’ Acts of Violence

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Since its sudden emergence in the late seventies and early eighties, hip hop has been controversial. The explicitness, language, and substance abuse are just some of the themes that exist within the lyrics. These cause some parents and guardians to worry when their children listen to hip hop music, and for decades there have been debates on how hip hop influences teens.

On a social media post in May 2017, a Florida teen threatened to bring a firearm to school and use it, if Lil Uzi Vert did not drop “Luv Rage 2” soon. So, does rap and hip hop music truly influence teens to be more violent, or do we use rap and hip hop as an excuse for teen violence?

Hip hop is far beyond a music genre; it represents an entire community, culture, dance moves, and fashion, not only to the African-American community, but to other races as well. Not all of hip hop music is “bad” as some people like to describe. Hip hop is much more than expletives and “thug life,” that’s just a stereotype people like to combine with its culture. Although the genre of music often contains drugs, violence, and includes sexual content, hip hop is much more than that. Hip hop tells a story. Hip hop artists tell their listeners about their fight against the system that cripples the African American in society and puts targets on their backs. Hip hop artists often tell the story of what they witnessed in their neighborhood: the drugs, the misogyny, and the gangs.

Hip hop is a freedom. Hip hop gives someone a chance to spit their true feelings on their fight against the U.S. system that is meant to protect all people. The U.S system meant to serve all people equally, but is certainly happening for the brown-skinned community.

Hip hop spreads love and pride to listeners. Hip hop is not the only genre of music that speaks on violence. Hip hop is not the only genre of music that uses expletives. Hip hop is not the only genre of music that has a strong bias against women. For example, heavy metal and rock music do too. So, why does hip hop take the blame for teens acting out, harming themselves and/or others, when clearly hip hop and rap is not the only genre that speaks on women, drugs, violence, alcohol, and firearms?

“Correlation does not imply causation,” is a saying used in statistics to emphasize that a correlation between two variables does not imply that one causes the other. There may be a statistical link (the link being teens listening and enjoying the music) between hip hop and teens, but this does not mean that teens are going to grow up and go around towns causing trouble, taking people’s lives, joining gangs, or using drugs simply because of a genre of music they listen to.

There is obviously a third party cause, and that is something in the person or in their DNA, because if it were that easy – just by hearing or looking at a rap music video or just the music itself – everyone that listens to hip hop would be going around using violence on other people, alcohol, and using illegal drugs. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just not that simple.

Parents, teachers, and guardians claim something along the lines of “whatever the music says kids do,” and that again is another misunderstanding. I’ve listened to hip hop and rap music, and I’ve never touched any illegal drug, any alcoholic beverage, and never targeted anyone with violence due to hip hop or rap music lyrics. If I ever purposely tried to lay a hand on anyone, it was due to my feelings or emotions, not because of any hip hop lyrics.

I’m not the only person to have ever felt this way or experienced this. There are tons of other people in this world who are just like me. We do not agree with people saying: “hip hop is a cause of violence within teens or children.” Some kids just want to fit in with others. Some kids just love to be rebellious. Some kids just want to act out. Some kids might do it because they grew up and witnessed violence in their own home. So, before you point the finger at hip hop and rap artists, maybe you should point the finger at yourself, parents. What does your child witness in their own home?

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