The original form of rap music was not ground for political expression but rather an arena for entertainment and competition.
Rap music, as well as graffiti, eventually moved into the political sphere with the appearance of groups such as Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy. Very few issues were left untouched, however as one may assume, issues related to the Black community were predominant. Rap was used as a means of expressing ideas and realities with the hope of educating the listener. As the rappers moved into this arena, they faced many contradictions within the hip-hop community and society as a whole. KRS-One, for example, released many songs about unity in the Black community, education, and peace. Perhaps the most famous was the song, "Stop the Violence". Yet once after the release of these songs, KRS-One rushed the stage of a PM Dawn show and pushed the lead MC off stage for a remark he had made previously (Nelson, 104). The infamous 2-Pac released a song called "I Get Around" which is self-explanatory. He then released a song called "Keep Ya Head Up" which discussed the treatment of African American women by African American men and issues of respect. The two songs completely contradicted themselves, as did the actions of KRS-One. It is impossible to explain why they did what they did without speaking to them personally but people must understand that rap did begin as a form of entertainment, which often spoke of random topics. People must also understand that presently, many rappers are classified as political although this may not have been their intention.
From it's beginning, rap endured a lot of hostility from listeners. Many, but not all, white found the music too harsh, monotonous, and lacking in traditional melodic values. However, millions of others often, though not always, young African-Americans from underprivileged inner city backgrounds, found an immediate connection with the style. Here was poetry of the street, View More »