Hip hop has a long and diverse history. From happy rap to political; and from gangster rap to the party jam, the music of hip hop culture has influenced every musical genre today and continues to be one of the most popular methods for self expression in the black community. Although there are many great rappers and all flavors of rap there is a disturbing trend of negative, violent and misogynistic rap getting all the airplay on the airwaves.
There's a lot of rap about the club life and a lot of rap about the gangster life, both of which are garnering a lot of negative press about the rap game. Some of the criticism is undeserved (like the foolishness from Fox News about Common's White House performance), but some of it is completely justified. Many rappers today rap about killing, shooting, and pimping women between jail sentences and court visits. Other rappers (like Maino or X-Raided) develop or master their skills while behind bars. With so many rappers in jail today, the question of the day is whether this coexistence between rappers and jail is good or bad for hip hop?
|Big Lurch||Cool C||Ja Rule||Numskull||Turk|
|Black Rob||DMX||Lil Boosie||Remy Ma||T.I.|
|C-Murder||G Dep||Mac||Steady B||Twisted Black|
|Chi Ali||Gucci Mane||Cassidy||Bilo Da Kid|
One rapper in jail is too many
I have never been to prison so I cannot personally comment on the conditions, but from visiting friends and others in prison I can tell you that every single one of them said they would rather be out than in. Prison is no joke, and getting locked up for years is a waste of valuable time and a definite waste of talent for anybody, including young rappers.
I know a lot of material comes from personal experience. I also know a lot of it does not; it is just an image to perpetuate stereotypes and myths about being the hardest gangster, the tightest pimp and the best hustler in the hood. All this is good, but too often this line between rap and reality is crossed and unlike in a song, the consequences in life are real. Talk trash on a record about pulling a gun on someone and in 3 minutes the record is over. Pull a gun on someone in real life (like Flesh-n-Bone did) and that's 10 years . Throwing a woman out of a car because you're a player is fine on wax. Do it in real life (like Gucci Mane did) and you got problems . Too much of today's rap makes it sound like we are savages. The amount of rappers in jail in 2011 suggests that to some extent society is right. People shooting and killing each other at the club, on the street, and at the cookout hurts the victims, the jailed perpetrators and the whole community that just wants to live in peace.
I'm not saying there is no place for this type of musical expression, and people have a right to know when a recording artist engages in criminal activity. With that said, young rappers need to know this:
Record companies are using your misery to sell records. Rapper jail time increases sales
The news media is exploiting you; just waiting to post another mugshot of a "savage black rapper" in jail doing some thug foolishness.
The radical right is begging for you to shoot somebody so they can justify not having a black president (or a black anything).
The police are watching the rap entourage enter the club and is waiting for any excuse to throw you in jail. and Finally,
know that the general public AND the black community is increasingly getting tired of seeing some of our most talented members rotting in jail.
Nobody of good conscience wants to see people who have the world and their bright future in their hands throw it all away behind ghetto games and gangster foolishness.
Note: For those who came to this article looking for a page full of mugshots showing sad black men behind bars, I am glad to disappoint you. This website is not about displaying blacks (or anyone) as caged animals for the amusement of the public. The Black Man Survival Guide is about uplifting African Americans and sharing knowledge so that nobody has to be in jail.
Instead of looking for a page to gawk at images of other's misery, try finding some young, impressionable rap artists and point him to a counselor, a mentor or somebody who can steer them on the right path away from guns, violence and prison.
Note2: The list in this article doesn’t include artists like Lil Wayne, Mystikal, Prodigy, Shyne and Da Brat who recently finished jail sentences and others like Kid Cudi and Waka Flocka Flame who narrowly escaped jail time. Including these and the names of successful rappers who have been in and out of jail in the last 10 years alone would bring the list to hundreds. This is a serious problem on a large scale.
Note 3: If you just got out of prison and are looking for work check out this article: "How to find a Job if you have a Prison Record"
"I'm asking you guys to take heed to my situation and better yourselves to live a positive and productive life." - C-Murder doing life in Angola State Prison (Feb 2010)
"I just made a big mistake, and there's consequences to those mistakes." - Chi Ali doing 14 years for manslaughter
"Some days I'm maintaining, but I'm missing my family and the life I had out there," Boosie told the website. "My first seven months I was in population, but since June, I've been on 23-hour lockdown."- Lil Boosie (2010 SOHH jailhouse interview)
"It's not a party. It's not fun," Pimp said. "Jail affected my whole family. My family got locked up. My group got locked up. I lost when I went to prison. That's something to be ashamed of, and that's not a badge of honor. My youngest son was 8 years old when I went in. I came back and he's a teenager. I can't get them years back." - Pimp C who passed away in 2007 sippin on "sizzurp"
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