You know I was never a big fan of rap until I moved to Jersey. Now I think I understand it a little better… it’s like poetry set to rhythm. However, the content is usually equivalent to fecal matter – it reeks of pride, victimization, materialism, promiscuity and violence all flying under the banner of honesty and “soul”. Now I know I’m not supposted to say this because I’m not black and I haven’t been raised in the projects, but I DID teach in Plainfield, NJ for three years and got a chance to see the mindset of many of the kids, and I saw how much this music effects them.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love freestyling. We’d (they’d) freestyle in English class just for fun. And I also realize that not all rap music suffers from moral starvation. But in our discussions about rap music in class, most of my students admitted the moral issues with much of rap. I asked my 9th graders to characterize Jay-Z and Tupac. They’re exact words: Jay-Z is the womanizer, Tupac was the thug. They had alot to say about these guys when I started discussing their personal lives, lots of background information; they knew everything there was to know about them. The only time they didn’t have something to say was when I asked them why they’d want to have a thug and a womanizer as their heros.