how to listen to hip-hop .

We constantly praise hip hop artists for their charisma and supposed “swag”. Their witty lyrics and controversial lines leave numerous adolescents and young adults in awe. I have to admit, hip-hop is one of my biggest vices. I call it a vice because it consumes a big portion of my life and I have a lot of ethical problems with it. One, it is not of God. I don’t like to be so loyal to something that contradicts my connection with God. Two, the constant idolatry of money is problematic for me (hence the love of $$ being the root of all evil). Three, the degrading and self-hatred implications of blacks found in some songs frustrate me.

I have been battling with this balance of my morale and hip-hop music for a while. Now, I realized my main issue with hip-hop … the blind influence that it has on African Americans. Women have now embraced the word “bitch” and feel as if their most valuable assets are the only ones that can be squeezed, licked, or sucked. What used to be a temple of God is now degraded to “beat it up”, “I hit that” and “I’m tryna smash”. Therefore, women do not understand how valuable their bodies, reputation, and soul is. Men, as an effect of hip-hop, now worship (and I do mean WORSHIP) money. I believe I just heard a song in which Diddy so eloquently put, “I got so much money, my money counts money” (rolling my eyes). To be frank, things like humility and humanity are virtually non-existent in a lot of mainstream hip-hop songs. This really affects the larger population.

Although I express these problems with hip-hop, I love it. When I hear songs like “Flashing Lights” by Kanye, “Ex-factor” by Lauryn Hill, “Bonnie & Shyne”, “Anti-matter”, and “She lives in My Lap”, my life shifts like an earthquake. The extended metaphor in “I Used to Love Her” and Lupe’s “Gotta Eat” keep me inspired as a writer. With songs like “Bittersweet”, “Song Cry”, and “Karaoke”, I fell in touch with some sincere, festering, untouched emotion that I never felt before. Let me leave you with this advice: just because the lyric is witty, does not mean that it needs to be internalized. Yes, “f*ck niggas, b*tches too, all I got is this money … but this’ll do” is a catchy line, but it doesn’t mean it’s accurate. If we internalize every clever line we hear, we will not recognize the people we turn into. Brush off hip hop lyrics and stop idolizing rappers. I’ll never understand why 25 year old men are letting 17 year old rappers influence them so much. RAPPING DOES NOT EQUATE WITH WISDOM. The only lines we need to hold on a pedestal are the ones found FROM Genesis to Revelation.