Can Hip Hop lyrics be Blamed for the Promotion of Violence?


Gangsta rap emerged in the late 1980’s.  Messages were portrayed through conscious hiphop which caused political uproar.

Lyric Dissection

“Violence in rap music has proven to be pervasive in how the youth identifies with it. Lyrics in rap music are a reflection of an oppositional culture and aids in the shaping adolescents into a  violent social identity. This sharing of symbols, language, norms projected to teens causes them to adopt this false construction of reality and to internalize it to a point that alters their own social identity and compromises their social behaviors.”

Rachel Durgin, University of New Hampshire

“Talkin’ out his neck, pistol to his throat. Blow this motherf*****, he gone choke.”  

Chief Keef, “Faneto”

“Talk talk bad man, come get murdered fo’ fun. The Gucci Mane, man I murder fo’ fun”

Gucci Mane, “Murder for Fun”

“I’m Chewy, I’m some hot nigga. Like I talk to Shyste when I shot niggas. Like you seen him twirl then he drop, nigga. And we keep ’em nine millis on my block, nigga. And Monte keep it on him, he done dropped niggas. And Trigger he be wildin’, he some hot nigga. Tones known to get busy with ’em Glocks, nigga. Try to run down and you can catch a shot, nigga”    –Bobby Shmurda, “Hot Nigga”

Lyric Dissection

“I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense. I shot the sheriff, and they say it is a capital offense. Sheriff john brown always hated me; For what I don’t know. Every time that I plant a seed He said, kill it before it grows.

Freedom came my way one day. And I started out of town. All of a sudden I see sheriff john brown. Aiming to shoot me down. So I shot, I shot him down.”        -Elton John, “I Shot the Sheriff”

“They thought I only rapped about murder and pistols. I’m tryna feed my family, I ain’t being political. …

Ayy, f*** that other side, we gon’ shoot up your Sprinter. I used to sell that crack and spray that MAC out that rental. Niggas run and hide when we roll down the window. Got a extendo and a hoodie, he can’t wait ’til December…

Lost his faith in Jesus Christ, he prayin’ to a bandana. Police gunned his brother down, this shit too hard to handle. Loading up his chopper, he gon’ show ’em Black Lives Matter”    –21 Savage, “Nothin New”

Social Behavior

In one of his songs, xxxtentacion refers, to his ex-girlfriend who accused him of punching, kicking, strangling and imprisoning her during pregnancy.  While denying the allegations, the rapper went around promoting his album by sharing violent stories of his life. In an interview he gave an account of beating a gay cellmate half to death and smearing blood on his face because he caught him staring.

Social Behavior

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