Rappers are the entertainment industry’s answer to the used car salesman. If they believe you are slightly interested in whatever they are selling, they’ll gladly talk your ear off about it. But be warned; like the used car salesman, a healthy part of the rapper job requirement is being full of shit. Such a talent in the wrong hands can be dangerous, or even fatal, like a driving instructor with a drinking problem. Even the most trustworthy rapper – like Common or Drake – has to inevitably twist the truth to ensure the purchase, otherwise they don’t get paid. If you’ve ever bought a used car, &/or a rap album then you understand.
Rap music also unintentionally serves as a manual for all types of things, making the rapper an instructor of sorts.
When I started rolling blunts, I practiced according to Redman’s “How To Roll A Blunt.” In the KRS-One, X-Clan, Public Enemy days, this was a positive thing. Today’s rapper, though, is more concerned with getting higher than higher learning. To an impressionable listener (because let’s face it, “dumb” has no age limit) this can be a recipe for disaster, because most rap songs sing praises of reckless behavior. For instance, of all the songs where Lil Wayne achieves maximum ‘tang intake, I’ve never heard him talk about wearing a condom. Wayne, much like most rappers, doesn’t get paid to spin advisory yarns of responsibility, though, similar to how the used car salesmen isn’t really there to help you find reliable transportation. They’re simply doing their job, providing a service, etc. It’s up to the customer whether or not they’ll be taken for a proverbial ride.
When dealing with Rap Music, some points to note are:
Rappers have been bragging about themselves since the beginning of Hip Hop. In fact, I’m pretty sure that “I” is the most overly used word in both RnB & rap lyrics. Not being honest about one’s possessions or lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with the bragging. No matter how fly they seem, do not be fooled into thinking your life equates to theirs, whether it’s genuine or fabricated. There’s a strong possibility that you simply can’t live like them, & there is nothing wrong with that. If you must keep up with a set of Jones’, pick your actual neighbors. Not people who get “paid” to lie for a living.
A lot of rap songs make it a point to let you know who much sex they get. In most cases, they are probably telling the truth, because they are (somewhat) employed & are (sorta) famous. This affords them the luxury of treating women any way they choose, assuming they can afford to purchase another one. You, on the other hand, are not a rapper. Calling random women “bitches” & smacking them around unnecessarily may work in the rap world, but in the real world there are consequences. You may get assaulted, divorced, arrested, surgically modified, etc. Aside from that, groupies carry diseases, & babies alter lives. (Not for nothing, but I tell my kids “Think twice, ‘cuz you only live once.”)
2 of the most bothersome substances ever “discovered” are drugs & alcohol. While entire rap songs (& sometimes albums) rotate around abusing them, very rarely is cognition bent towards the end result of said abuse. Some years back, when all rappers rapped about was weed, it was permissible. Now, with so many recreational drugs just a phone call away, it’s easy to hear a rap verse about Ecstasy, for example, & get one’s hands on some. Rappers used to rap about selling cocaine, & now they rap about doing it. But, don’t let the smooth taste fool you. Aside from the illustrious glow that certain songs emit, the truth is that those things will kill you.
Just like in the movies, crimes on record look good on paper, but in real life, aren’t going to get you far. I’ve seen people literally go from mellow to menacing just by listening to a specific song. Speaking of which, take Freddie Gibbs’ “Rob Me A Nigga.” While the song itself is quite entertaining, the wrong message(s) is easier to pick up than a $100 bill on the sidewalk. The composers make it known that this is a last resort, but nobody hears that. (Remember, people, God is in the details.) For me to make a correlation between rap songs & crime rates would be futile, but the writing is on the
When used as directed, rap music provides a soundtrack to life that no other genre could possibly capture. It takes a combination of cognition, wherewithal, & common sense to truly appreciate it for it’s core value. But, for all those who scream “It’s only entertainment!” there are 2 more who yell “Keep it real!” So perhaps, the battle continues…