The Negative Influence of Southern Rap Music, Conclusion

Continued from Part 2,

So what is it about Southern rap music which feeds some of the most negative elements of current pop culture? It could be the gratuitous levels of raw sexuality. “Artists” such as Trina and Nicki Manaj both exude and typify this aspect of Southern rap in spades. With their explicit lyrics and their over-promotion of their own sexuality, Southern female rappers often seem to lack originality or novelty of content; how original are sex-laden lyrics in music? Granted, sex may sell music, but true talent sells itself. Packaged images of ever-ready-to-romp sex vamps who lyrically brag about their sexual experience or “how ‘wet’ they are” do nothing in the way of promoting what should be an outlet for cultural expression…not sub-cultural expression.

And on that particular note, Southern rappers in general not only have nothing in the way of positive messages (except one or two token gestures that one or two of them may actually create as an incidental way of portraying themselves as “socially conscious”) coming from their music, but they simply lack the lyrical talents of either of their Old School predecessors or their East/West Coast counterparts. Part of this can be attributed to the proud butchering of the English language. As I listen to the music coming out of the South, I actually find myself marveling at the way in which Southern rappers routinely manage to force two disparate-sounding words to rhyme in a song (which under normal circumstances shouldn’t be grammatically possible). Take for example the following lines from Gucci Mane’s “Sex in Crazy Places:”

I wanna do you at cho momma house,on the couch,
Do you in the bathroom or the air-o-plane.
Do you on a balcony, in the taxi,
Cause I can't get enough of that thing

If you missed it, Mane actually made the words plane and thing rhyme—you have to imagine a strong Southern dialect on the word “thing” (read: “thang”).

For those who would defend such a mangling of proper English, this is not “talent”—it is a distortion of verbal communication which plays to and supports every negative stereotype of both blacks in particular, and Southerners in general. It’s almost farcical for the undereducated and unsophisticated to pass off what they do as “going hard” (slang for “an incredible rhyming display,” again, for the un-hip among readers). As a personal addendum, most of these lyrics sound dumb as anything, and their simplistic verbiage seems better suited for Sesame Street, not praise by those who are too young to have a frame of reference for what good rap sounds like. This caterwauling is not a “style” or a “change in the (rap) game.” It is a dumbing-down of what was once a praiseworthy form of artistic and cultural expression. How can anyone with an ear or sense of appreciation of true art put today’s crop of “rappers” in the same vein as Chuck D., Heavy D., Rakim, or even Eminem? Simple Sesame Street or Leapfrog-level lyrics hiding behind heavy, occasionally semi-catchy beats are not the stuff of good or true rap music.

So what is it about Southern rap music which makes it more of a deleterious influence on modern pop culture over its previous other-regional incarnations? Is it the heapin’ helpin’ of the use of the word nigga is its lyrics? Well, it obviously has an impact on the kids who listen to it. Without active parental rearing teaching them the negative history of the word in historical America, the at-risk teens I work with tend to use the word so often in an average day that I find myself preferring to paid by its use rather than by the day or the hour—I’d be able to retire in a year. And given how much I personally hear the same kids intermingling the lyrics of the current “hottest” track amongst their overuse of the racial epithet daily, you get a near-indisputable picture of where their lack of sensibilities comes from in part (that and the sub-culture of the ‘hood).

Even without the overuse of the N-word, Southern rappers evidently lack the talent as well as an appreciation for the pragmatism of creating “clean” versions of their songs. Many the times I myself could remember being able to purchase (or download during the early days of the Internet’s popularity) singles of some of my favorite old rap songs in both adult versions (i.e., “uncut edits”) and less explicit “clean versions,” which would often be heard being pumped at clubs. Not only did having these different versions make sense from the perspective of un-denied airplay by radio stations/television music programs, but was a way of generating more potential profit for the artists and their labels. More importantly though, it provided a sense that certain aspects of our culture—some would argue questionably—were still not meant to be exposed to young people. Today, we have an unhealthy merging of previously (and responsibly) segregated adult ideas/concepts and impressionable but no longer closely-monitored teenagers, an environment created by greedy music executives and reckless “artists” who contribute to creating the modern ethos where teens think that they are the equal of adults…and we adults wonder where their defiance comes from.

Now, I have already steeled myself for the catcalls of “hater” and “shut up old mans” that are sure as sunrise to come from chronicling these views. However, I probably sleep better than those Southern rappers whose massive bank accounts allow them to “make it rain” in clubs knowing that I have produced some food for thought for those who haven’t given any thought as to what is happening with our young people today like those I work with.

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Comments 22 comments

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neeraj.agrawl 6 years ago from India

yes you are right artists are selling their music by their sexual image that's totally wrong. it should be corrected

the south 5 years ago

lol you mad cause don't nobody wanna hear that wack ass new york music... we didn't hate when the north dominated the game... we learned from it, and put our own southern twang on it to fit us... you sound bitter... better get wit it or get left behind... like the so called "lyricists" of yester-year... the smart ones got with the program... the real players adapt to the game... and guess what, the south is going to dominate the game for the rest of its days... because we actually have rappers w/ southern dialect... tip, jeezy, andre, big boi... and that's just in atlanta... the list goes on and on... the problem w/ northern "hiphop" is it aint funky... the funk its what's winning right now... so if you aint funky, oh well... and yes, you are a hater...

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Beyond-Politics 5 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

The fact that you sound young, and therefore have no frame of reference for a time when rap actually used the English language instead of the 'bama butchering of words you call "going hard" says a lot about your lack of sophistication. I could just sit here and write pages of insults about your lack of intelligence and lack of musical discrimination (taste), but I think the way you defend the insanity and lack of talent so prevalent in Southern Rap speaks a lot more eloquently of your stupidity than anything I could write. Constant "partying like a rock star," drinking, smoking, the glorification of killing, shooting, and other negativity which is bringing so much counter-productivity within the black community is NOT something to celebrate...moron! I guess what they say IS true...youth is wasted on the young!

sagewise 4 years ago

peace, much respect on your post, i agree with you 1000 percent! Thing is most of these young kids will never learn, they are blinded to the nonsense that is portrayed by these bubble gum rappers and all the negativity they bring. Keep doing what you doing, education is the key!!!!!

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Thank you. And sadly you're right. I have been working with kids for the last 10 years, and if there were ever a lost generation, this is it!

The 11th Letter 4 years ago

Real talk right there. Your article put in words what I've been thinking for quite some time. It's a shame the majority of the youth today don't respect where the music comes from and are so eagerly to accept today's rubbish as "real" Hip-Hop, when in fact, it couldn't be farther from it.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Thank you for reading. This Southern rap makes my ears bleed when I hear it. I can't believe we've come from the likes of Rakim, Intelligent Hoodlum, X-Clan, Paris to "Gucci Mane," "Lil Whoever," or "Wocka Flacka" (WTF is a "Wacka Flocka" anyway?)

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The 11th Letter 4 years ago

You're welcome. I agree, for the most part anyway. Although most of the Southern rap is garbage, there are a few artists who don't fit that description.

I find it hard to take serious any grown ass man that dresses in leopard skinny jeans and refers to himself as "Lil", even if he wasn't wack.

It's a shame youth today don't know who Paris, X-Clan, Lakim Shabazz, Poor Righteous Teachers, King Sun, Intelligent Hoodlum, etc. are. Poor Righteous Teachers' "Pure Poverty" & Paris' "The Devil Made Me Do It" were two of my favorite albums in high school. A lot of the young cats today should listen to Paris' album, it was real talk even back then.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Well, they'd have to have a sense of history as well as an awareness of current events and news of events outside of the 'hood to appreciate anything those teachers on wax would say. I don't listen to anyone with the prefix "Lil" or "Young/Yung" in front of their originality, not even when it comes to naming themsvles.

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MundaneMondays 4 years ago

First thing i noticed was the guy who said you're a hater classic !! I never knew the south to take over anywhere, 98% of their artist's are trash ...I'm a New York cat...and all the things they do is bite take music under the low end theory which makes it trash's so bad that rappers from other places have to choice but to work with them, on the upside it takes no intellect to be a rapper in the south ..even if you add T.I. and Jeezy, they're still idiots who rap about nothing ...Outkast, Scarface, j Electronica, and Little Brother ..are the only southern rappers who i dig... ...people think that rap is rap's not rap's pop music ..what the **** happened to good music ? the south has taken over the game commerically lyrically ? they're still in 1833, rapping like slaves and rats....rats don't rap lol

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

A-Men!!!!!!! Couldn't have said it better myself. Sagging pants, unsophisticated lyrics hiding behind heavy beats....plantation/slave mentality!

KMP123 4 years ago

I agree 100%! I am 19 years old, and I will admit I am embarassed by today's rap and refuse to listen to it at all on the radio or anywhere else PERIOD! Southern Rap is a disgrace and I am from North Carolina, with the exception of early Outkast. I use to be suckered into today's crap until early 2011 when I heard "Check The Rhime" by A Tribe Called Quest and I thought to myself "My gosh I have been missing out, it sounds so dope" and ever since then I haven't been back to current stuff, nor do I ever plan to. I can't live without my iPod system in the car with some of the greats like Rakim, KRS-One, Run-DMC, De La Soul, ATCQ, EPMD, Guru, 2Pac, Biggie,etc. I still support these greats also by buying their albums. My my did my parents had it made! Also Yo! MTV Raps over 106andPark! My 24 year old brother is a sucker for today's rap and i bash it, and he bashes mine, oh well his lost, a GIANT lost.

Aria 4 years ago

Your disgusting for thinking all rappers sing shit .....How can ANYONE say this?!? Rapping is a talent is what I believe and you don't have to be bitter 'cause you cant do it ....... I have south friends so don't you dare insult them you horrible man !

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

KMP123 - It's so nice to hear that younger people appreciate the classics...real lyrical gymnastics, using actual words, sophisticated language, and deep thoughts.

Aria - I will pray for you (or such as an agnostic like myself can hope to do). You really think all that yammering about guns, drugs, strip clubs, and sex rates are true hip-hop? It's not rap. Its crap. How much "talent" does it take to rap about killing someone of sexing someone? Your friends can't be wrong? If my own brother robbed and killed someone, he might be my brother, but he's still wrong. Just because you have friends in the South doesn't mean they can't be wrong for embracing that 'bama noise you call "rap." And as for calling me "horrible," I've been called worse by better, more mature people. ;)

Devincey 4 years ago

I do agree with some of your points, but it seems to me that you are putting a stigma on southern hip-hop as a whole. There's bad rappers on every side of the nation. The only KNOWN bad rappers are in the south. But don't try to put us in one box and make it seem like southern rappers are retarded. You become blind to the real rappers we actually do have. Such as Jay Electronica, Big K.R.I.T., Curren$y, Little Brother, Ludacris(underrated), T.I.(underated), B.o.B., Outkast, Wax(very underrated), J. Cole, Pusha T, Scarface, UGK, Bun B, the list goes on. Not to mention southern rappers have the most positive lyricist in the game too(rappers who don't rap about drugs violence, and money). Lecrae, a christian rapper, is not to be messed with on the mic. As goes for the rest of his label (independent by the way) Trip Lee, Tedashii, and Derek Minor. Not to mention the south was the most successful in creating independent record labels. And our production game is not sloppy either, especially 9th wonder(very underrated producer). So it would be very ignorant to say the South as a whole sucks just because of what you heard, aside from what's actually there. Your bias is another subject. But i'll end it right there.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

We can agree to disagree. When you are my age, and you've seen how rap has gone from the likes of X-Clan, Paris, Intelligent Hoodlum, and even Nas speaking about cultural and individual awareness, to "making it rain" and "getting high," it kind of puts things in perspective. The people you name are NOT the ones getting's the "Lil" and the "Youngs" getting the airplay (everybody is a "Lil" or "Yung." Even their names aren't original). A lot of the Old School cats (like Scareface you name, along with Goodie Mob and Yin Yang Twins) don't fall into the insanity that a lot of Southern rap has denigrated into.

LilWaynesucksass 4 years ago

As a young Black woman, I have stopped listening to the radio because of the CRap Rap that is played. CRap Rappers like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Drake, Tyga, Waka Flocka, Wiz Khalifia, Soulja Boy, Plies, 50 Cents, Kanye West, new Jay Z suck ass! Their rhyming skills are lacking, their music is vulgar and usually about partying, drinking, smoking, doing drugs and living the ''fast life''. All it has is a beat and plus all the ''artists'' I listed use autotune and cuss way too much in their crappy ''songs''. These idiots shouldn't ever be considered legit artists more like CRappers and that is what they are. Another thing, many of the CRappers who are sellouts that ''rap'' for their White corporate media bosses so that these records can be distributed and sold in White communities. That is why we have stupid, suburban White kids who don't know crap about Rap listen to this garbage! Plus they pretend to be Black and show interest in our culture when they damn well know that the dominant culture hates and demeans Black people! Stupid wigglers!

Hip Hop was created for inner city Black and Hispanic youths to express themselves through Rap music about their problems on the streets in the late 1970s/early 1980s. RRap music was a good type of music that had deep lyrics and unique sense of style. Rap didn't become mainstream until the early to mid 1990s and that was around the time that mainstream music and the quality of mainstream Rap music started to deterioate slowly. Rap music became consumerism and more popular to listen to as well as the popularization of Hip Hop culture and that is what lead me to believe that Rap music started to lose it's path and way.

That is why we have sellouts like Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj are major Rap stars right now. They are willing to sell their souls for money and to please their White corporate media bosses. They don't want to rap with deep lyrics about issues that matter because they know it wouldn't appeal to the dumb and brainwashed teenage audience who don't know what real Rap sounds like.

The real rappers don't get recognized such as J Cole, Eminem, Lupe Fiasco, BOB and Common. There are good rappers out there but a lot of them are underground.

Many of the underground artists and Rap artists who don't get the shine they deserve wouldn't sell out to the corporate media.

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Beyond-Politics 4 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

With the rare exception (Outkast, Ghetto Boys/Scareface, Ludacris...sometimes, and a few others), there are very few Southern rappers or artists that I can stand. I feel like I'm being mind-raped every time someone pulls up beside me blaring that insanity! I'm from the North (Chicago) and even I can't stand Kanye West. Jay-Z has sold out his lyrical ingenuity for HE sucks (actually, I think he was overrated for quite a while). Kind of makes me wish the South had won the Civil Ware...that way, most of the rappers would still be enslaved, and we wouldn't have to listen to that (c)rap!

LilWaynesucksass 4 years ago

I agree with some of your points but it is not Southern Rap that killed the mainstream Rap music. I am from the North as well, well New York to be exact and I believe that popularizing and makinf Rap a commericialized is what killed Rap. Corporate media bosses took over the business and they controlled what artists can rap in their songs. Before Rap music was mainstream, Rap music was a good form of music, where us Blacks can express ourselves through.

The quality of mainstream Rap music has been slowly deterioating since the late 1990s into the CRap Rap that we have now in mainstream.

Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne etc are only doing what they are told to do by their White corporate media bosses which is to rap about sex, drugs, hoes, drinking etc to make our Black culture look bad and make money. If any one of these CRappers I listed made a deep Rap song about life and it's struggles, the song wouldn't appeal to the stupid teenage and young adult audience because they have been brainwashed to accept the crappy CRap songs they hear on the radio as true Rap.

guest 2 years ago

"Kind of makes me wish the South had won the Civil Ware...that way, most of the rappers would still be enslaved, and we wouldn't have to listen to that (c)rap!"

Way to turn yourself into an idiot with a few keystrokes there Professor. I agree that most new rap sucks ass, but this was easily one of the dumbest comments I've ever read on the internet, which is quite the dubious distinction.

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Beyond-Politics 2 years ago from The Known Universe ( Author

Obviously, you don't get sarcasm. And if mine was the "dumbest comment you ever read," you must don't read much beyond the comics section of the 'net. Once again, another youngster is out to "prove" he/she knows more about the world than those of us who've been here longer. DO try to think beyond your limited beliefs.

nate 21 months ago

What makes southern rap great is how each rapper pronounces the same word differently. Each rapper rhymes differently, whereas in other styles, each rapper rhymes more similarly. That's what's so great about southern hip hop.

Furthermore, you cannot condemn a genre because you think it's full of average rappers. By definition, each style of hip hop will have mostly average rappers.

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