Social media has promoted a celebrity motivated culture in which the youth begin to become attracted to the life of those they follow. They become so interested in a celebrities’ life because of how much more interesting it may seem rather than their own. Kids will begin to imitate a celebrity by their fashion, what they glorify, and behavior. In todays modern day, I see many kids admiring the lifestyle of hip-hop artists. Most of these artists promote a very explicit lifestyle, resulting kids to become more exposed to things they shouldn’t be exposed to at a very young age.
Rap and Hip Hop is a type of genre that contains rhythmic music that is followed with rapping. Since it had a huge impact in the music industry, this genre became essential to the Hip Hop scene. Rap has evolved through the decades as part of Hip Hop’s culture. It started as a cultural operation between urban teens in New York. Ever since then it expanded around the world and has become a mainstream genre to the audiences, guiding a variety of generations with its lyrics and rhythms.
Music isn’t the only thing artists are promoting. Other than their own music, they stay up to date on the newest fashion. The appearance of hip-hop artists is also a big factor on what teens look up to, Fashion has always been essential to hip-hop culture (Guan). Artists dress in expensive brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Louis Vuitton on the red carpet and in public. Not only do they promote these brands by wearing them constantly, they also promote these designer brands in their own lyrics. One popular song titled, Gucci Gang by Lil Pump, an 18 year old Florida rapper, consists of the Rapper repeating the phrase Gucci Gang throughout his song. Lil Pump is well known for always wearing the designer brand Gucci by Guccio Gucci, besides the fact that he made his popular song. When artists promote these expensive brands to their audience by including them in their lyrics or dressing in them, it makes those watching want to dress in it even if they can’t financially afford it. This then causes teens to go broke trying to wear designer brands like their favorite artists, just to try and fit in. In result, they later end up developing a bad spending mannerism. A person’s fashion shapes who they are and how they live their lives, and when teens see the lifestyle their favorite artists have in regards to fashion they want to dress like them regardless of the cost.
Many teens are fascinated by the things these hip-hop artists speak about, and what they glorify, often approaching them theirselves. If you really take the time to listen to the lyrics and analyze them, they often glorify criminal activity and shame women. Though this is just musical lyrics, this type of genre is often known to be the reason behind the rise of violence in communities. Many young people look up to these artists and mimic the behavior which these artists glorify. The encouragement of drug use is often established through rap lyrics and constantly glorified. Rappers fail to demonstrate the consequences of using and doing drugs. A common societal image of a rock star is that of a young performer addicted to drugs and sex, living the glorified lifestyle of a musician-celebrity. (Ritchie). One will listen to songs and hear how they trapped on corners to live and to eventually reach wealth. Teens that are a part of the ghetto are more vulnerable to this and are amazed by what these artists brag about doing to survive in the hood and how they gained fame and wealth. One song that stood out to me that brings this into play is a song called, Welcome to the rodeo by 20 year old Pennsylvania rapper Lil Skies. In the lyrics he states, Long nights I sold drugs just to hit the studio, Now I’m eatin’ steak and shrimp, bitch, I ain’t eatin’ sloppy joe  I came up and made it happen, I was trappin’ by the store  19 with a bag, I got rich by myself rather do this shit alone, I wasn’t askin’ for no help, they keep askin’ how I’m winnin’ with the cards that I was dealt boy I worked hard for this seat and I ain’t bucklin’ my belt (Skies). This artist explains how he struggled financially to follow his dream so it resulted him to do illegal acts to get to where he is at now, which is wealth and fame. When kids are exposed to things like this, they want to follow in their footsteps to achieve the same things. Based on a 12 month study made by the American Journal of Public Health from 1996 to 1999 on African-American teenage girls participants who were exposed to rap music videos, Over the 12-month follow-up, 37.6% acquired a new sexually transmitted disease, 4.8% hit a teacher, 12.1% reported being arrested, 14.8% had sexual intercourse with someone other than their steady partner, 44.2% reported using drugs, and 44.4% consumed alcohol. (Wingood). Based upon this study, we can take note on how this music can cause people to make poor decisions after they have been exposed to music that glorifies negative actions.
The behavior of these Hip Hop artists is not the best either, many of them ending up in prison for awhile or appearing in court. When artists that the youth look up to commit crimes, it only influences those looking up to them to follow the same behavior. There are many popular artists that have ended up in jail, are still currently imprisoned or even dead, that people see as role models. Artists that influence this kind of behavior shouldn’t be role models to others or should also avoid doing crimes if they know they have an audience who finds them as being their role model. East Atlanta artist, Radric Davis also known as Gucci Mane, has been involved in many illegal situation that have ended him in a jail cell. Throughout his career he has been in and out of both jail and court fighting for his freedom due to his constant bad behaviors. Most recently, He was arrested in September 2013 and spent three years in an Indiana federal penitentiary for drug and gun charges. The rapper grew up in a rough area in Atlanta and had quite the rap sheet, filled with drug and assault charges. (Wynter). Gucci was convicted of these charges on May 13, 2014 after he ended up pleading guilty. After he is released he needs to be under supervision for three more years. The rapper was also ordered to give up all the weapons that were found during his arrest. Due to his plea agreement, Gucci will also need to search for mental health treatment once he has been released from prison. Gucci isn’t the only artists that has been in and out of jail constantly. Artist, Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy also know as XXXTentacion was also very know for being in and out of trouble from a very young age. With things such as home invasion, robbery, and aggravated battery. At the time of his murder in June 2018, he was also awaiting trial for a 2016 domestic-abuse case, in which he was charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering. (Burford). Artists like X and Gucci have committed a lot of crimes during their musical careers, and have also developed a huge following due to their music. Many teens at this young age have no sense of good and bad, they should look up to people who actually promote peace and love like Jesus, John Lennon once said he thought The Beatles carried more clout in the world than religious figures- and that continues today. (qtd. in Cusick 433). When artists are involved in illegal crimes, it only influences those around them to become influenced by their actions as well.
Rap music includes lyrics filled with slang and explicit language, which has caused some worry among parents because of the interest their kids have in it. Rap videos often show bizarre and dangerous illusions. The role of this genre is a big factor in the music industry causing teenagers to mimic the fashions, interests and behavior of these popular artists they look up to.
Burford, Corinna. The Complete History of XXXTentacion’s Controversial Career. Vulture, 19 June 2018, www.vulture.com/2018/06/a-complete-timeline-xxxtentacions-controversial career.html.
Cusick, Jonathan. Do Benefit Concerts Affect Political Decisions?. Dreams and Inwards Journeys: A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers, edited by Majorie Ford and Jon Ford, Pearson, 2012, pp. 431.
Guan, Frank. How High Fashion Won Over Rap. Vulture, 17 Aug. 2017, www.vulture.com/2017/08/how-high-fashion-won-over-rap.html.
Lil SkiesWelcome to the Rodeo. Genius, 12 Jan. 2018, genius.com/Lil-skies-welcome-to the-rodeo-lyrics.
Ritchie, Anne. Creativity, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Dreams and Inwards Journeys: A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers, edited by Majorie Ford and Jon Ford, Pearson, 2012, pp. 437.
Wingood, Gina M., et al. American Journal of Public Health, ?© American Journal of Public Health 2003, Mar. 2003, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447759/.
Wynter, Dontei. Why Did Gucci Mane Go to Jail? How Long Was Gucci Mane in Jail? Earn The Necklace, 20 Mar. 2018, www.earnthenecklace.com/gucci-mane-go-jail-long-gucci-mane-jail/.
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