My mama always used to tell me: ‘If you can’t find somethin’ to live for, you best find somethin’ to die for. This quote was said by the late great Tupac Shakur. A world famous rap legend and poet. If you think of rap and hip hop what is the first thought that comes to your mind? Lyrics of drugs, violence, gangs, and guns? Well if these are the thoughts that come to your mind then you are halfway right. The talk of drugs and drug abuse and vulgar lyrics are more common in hip hop music than rap. The difference in the two is that rap is an acronym for rhythm and poetry and hip hop is the more dancing and club song type of music. Hip hop is the upbeat catchy genre of rap. What makes people attracted to the catchyness of music is a region in our brain, called the nucleus accumbens, determines how much we value the song. And that could be why suburban white kids are so drawn to this genre of music. Another reason to why these kids are attracted to this music is because rap is a window into a different type of life that other people live.
Rhythm and Poetry or rap on the other hand is music that the lyrics talk about the artists struggles or the artist’s life. They talk the real problems and struggles in the ghettos, from gangs, drug dealing to provide for themselves and family, or police brutality or even politics. Rap gets the message and point of their main focus of the song across. Rap started at the end 1970’s and was also rap’s first DJ, DJ Kool Herc. Herc was a jamaican immigrant who started to deliver his simple raps at his parties. Then in 1979 a rap group called the Sugar Hill Gang from the east coast, who had the first rap single to make the top 40 hit on the hot 100 billboard, called Rappers Delight. A few years later in 1981 another rap group came out called Run-DMC from new york. The 80’s had a lot of the pioneers of rap who paved a way for newer generation rappers, like the late 80’s gangsta rap group called N.W.A, who was one of the biggest influences for gangsta rap and the style of 90’s rappers like Snoop Dogg, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G, DMX, Ice Cube, Mike Jones, and more. These artists talked about the real struggles of living in the hood and dealing with gang violence, drug dealing and section 8 housing and how to make money to provide for them and their families without a good paying job.
Then came the hip hop and southern rap era in the 2000’s. These songs were the popular club songs that had a club type beat and southern flow, then in the early 2010’s we had more hip hop artists coming out with more club hits and a few artists who talked about real stuff with real rap. Nowadays we have artists who are considered “mumble rappers”. They are called mumble rappers because their music is very hard to understand because of the amount of auto-tune and reverb on the track. These artists talk about the use of drugs and selling drugs like its a fashion, but luckily we still have artists who make real RAP. For example we have, Kendrick Lamar, YG, Nipsey Hussle, Joyner Lucas and more.
So in conclusion, the reasons to why suburban white kids listen to rap/hip hop music is because it is very catchy, some think the lyrics about drugs is “cool” and others are just drawn into a window into another life that they don’t live. From how life really is in inner cities and in the ghetto.