Gangster Rap, a style of music associated with urban street gangs of America, portraying gang culture (violence, drugs, guns, women etc). It is often criticised for glorifying messages of violence, homophobia, misogyny and racism. But rappers defend themselves by saying all they are doing is using music to make people aware of the reality of inner city life.
An example of art reflecting life. Rappers are both praised for their incredible lyricism and criticised for the messages they perceive.Gangster Rap is thought originated from the West Coast of America. Ice T, born in L.
A is credited as the first gangster rapper, producing his first songs around 1987. During the early 1980’s Hip-hop was dominated by the East Coast in places such as New York and Philadelphia, while Ice T gained underground fame in the West and soon had success all over America. Toward the end of the 1980’s gangster rap dominated Hip-hop.At the start of the 1990’s gangster rap was huge and in 1992 Dr. Dre released his album ” The Chronic” which established West Coast gangster rap and his record label Death Row Records.
Also at this time Snoop Doggy Doggy Dogg gained commercial style and success with his more chart-oriented music. But on the other side of America East coast rappers such as Notorious B. I. G and Busta Rhymes pioneered a grittier sound of gangster rap and as a result gained more chart success. Because of this the stakes between the coast intensified and the rivalry was born.But in fashion with gang culture rappers weren’t happy with just selling more records than their rivals and resorted to violence toward other rappers and in 1997 Tupac, one of Death Row’s major artist was shot and killed and a year after so to was Notorious B. I. G.
Violence is still very much involved in gangster rap today, and the rise of rappers from Middle America such as Eminem and 50 Cent have created new rivalries. Almost all rappers rap about violence, guns, crime etc. which is all reality to people living in urban ghettos where the majority of gangster rappers originate.This is evident in their lyrics, for example lyrics from Coolio’s song ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, “You better watch how you talking, and where you walking, Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk” This plainly shows the level of violence involved in the industry and that violence and death are results of rivalry. Another example, “Death ain’t nothing but a heartbeat away…
” This once again shows that he is aware and making others aware that death occurs regularly in the industry and Ghetto life. In rappers lyrics they speak about stopping the violence and crime in inner cities but for most of them they are causes of it.Tupac was seen as a contradictive character, on one side he talked and rapped about stopping the suffering and on the other he admitted he turned to crime to survive his so called ‘Thug Life’. Tupac, as many rappers are, was criticised for they way he conducted his life. The violence, crime and hatred earned him the title of a ‘Thug’.
Some saw him as a cautionary tale and others saw him as a martyr, or a Black Jesus. Tupac felt his life reflected America, built up on gangs, for example he described the police as a gang as well as political groups such as the democrats.Tupac Shakur was one of the ultimate Gangster rappers, he was a Thug revolutionary, and he loved the violence but fought to stop it. But was he a good guy or a bad guy? On one hand he was a criminal, spending time in prison and was used as an example as to why black killed black and was blamed for the hatred for women. On the other he was a talented musician and an idol to many people because of his cause, he believed he had a mission in life, which was to make people realise how hard Ghetto life was for his people.A simple cause but he spent his life fighting for it but many people believed he fought for it the wrong way.
Rappers today still rap talk about ghetto life and the struggle but also brag about the money they make and the women they can have. Nowadays they are more idolised by people for the things they have achieved, for example 50 Cent a gangster rapper from the ghettos of New York is now a multi millionaire and can afford to move out of the ghetto but he still lives the ghetto life, he is still involved in the violence and rivalry which comes with the status.But because he has risen from the ghetto and made millions he is an inspiration for not just people that live in the inners cities but for higher-class people. Because of this Gangster Rap nowadays appeals not just to black people but white people aswel in particular white teenagers and because of the huge following of white teenagers they are now a huge target audience for artists.