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How Rap and Hip-Hop plays a major impact on Youth, Society and American Culture

Updated on April 22, 2017

Nas - It was written

Nas | Source

Rap makes it's presence felt

For many years I been writing rap lyrics for the sake of getting stuff off my mind, & as a cool hobby to add for my poetry writing. My version of rap is something quite different to that of the more well known type of explicit lyrical rap, which has been used by many people in the music industry to get known, as well as becoming very wealthy & famous.

I never really took any of it seriously until I was in college, and the rapper Biggie Smalls aka Christopher George Latore Wallace had gotten murdered back in March 9, 1997.

This moment marked a time period where rap had wen't from cool joking, and wise cracking on people in music form. Then suddenly transformed into a very sad display of horror, and human tragedy, which made many people like myself truly sad about it all.

This unfortunate event eventually made global impact, which turned into a graphic news story that had stretched all across the entire surface of the globe using the media. What a price to pay for fame, fortune & glory I thought to myself back then.

Somehow this sudden tragic occurrence had inspired me to become a conscious rapper someday myself. Especially since this sort of happening started to become a new trend of criminal behavior of many inner city youth, that were feeding off of these turn of events, dramatic displays of wrongful acts being done to others in real life, and not just on the silver screen.

In memory of Biggie Smalls R.I.P.

Hip-Hops Origin- Hollis Queens

Rap's Humble Beginnings, Bumps & Bruises

Growing up in the inner city of New York was tough, many differing things had occurred throughout the years, anywhere from people loitering in the streets, to people buying and selling drugs to feens, robbery, and much worse crimes.

My personal youthful experiences were definitely not a pretty sight to envision for a child that's for sure. As for the music that developed out of that sorta boiling pot I grew up in, has become known worldwide and originated in a little place called Hollis Queens, New York.

All the negativity in Rap music wasn't present back when it all started many years ago with African Bam Batta, Jam Master Jay, Run DMC, and Cool & the Gang. All the madness that was breaking out in differing occurrences in the city itself, was the fuel that brewed up this negative form of rapping to eventually sprout itself onto the music scene. Many of the rap artist that seemed to turn up around those times appeared to be displaying a sorta anger, or frustration after a while with the way the World was responding to it's new uprising into the music industry as a whole.

Public Enemy #1 - Flavor Flav

Many Conscious Lyricists

The Inner City made them rebellious it seems

Some of the rap artists actually were tough young people trying to display hatred towards others like them, some showing resentment towards the state & local law, and some disgust towards the government, which had appeared to not care much back then about poor folks. There were also many artist that seemed to go with the consumer trends of our society, and actually were reason for some trends getting started in the US and eventually worldwide.

Now I wasn't like that myself, I figured that all those trying so hard to fight against something that was out of their reach, and in a negative way would only land them into a self destructive resulting life. There was a few rap artist that every now and then, would come out and create their songs filled with positive conscious lyrics, but unfortunately it wasn't many or enough to put a stop to the abundance of negative gangsta rap that was surely to storm the music industry. I tended to lean towards the more positive lyricist, and towards those who always seemed to leave a great message to the people.

My favorite artist of all time is Nas or Nasir Jones he's one rapper that transcended from the negative to the positive form of rap. He and Biggie both were friends and grew up in the City as well. As for Biggie's arched rival Tupac Shakur, was also slain for reasons undetermined according to police reports. His life story turned out to be the opposite of the cinderella type, yeah he wen't from rag's to riches, but it sadly ended in tragedy just as Biggie Smalls fate was. At the same time these two guys were at odds with one another I also grew to love Wu Tang Clan, they were a powerful lyrical group that made their mark felt in rap.

The Triumph - Lyricism Evolved

Tupac cared a great deal

Tupac's Life - the truth is always far from being told

Tupac's life, was one that ended in rebellion against the world itself and tragedy as well us as Biggie who appeared to be his enemy to the rap scene, but it was definitely associated to him becoming anti-american in many ways through his lyrics & social movements he got started. Him and Biggie Smalls we're actually friends long ago and we're going to unite their music movements prior to being persuaded, and misled by instigators on the ground to begin waring and fighting verbally in lyrics against one another back in the late 90's.

He began a movement of his own through his music which stirred up a huge uproar from as far as the west coast of the US, to the East coast, from inner city to inner city, and even reached many rural communities.

His music was very serious at times, and was loaded with tremendous passion about many deeply embedded inner city stories of lives that were shaken by poverty & harsh living conditions. He was angry for sure, and after getting shot in the head by who he thought had shot him, which many falsely accused Biggie of doing as well as him. His once strong alliance and friendship of him & Biggie had been severed.

Many people never knew that Tupac grew up in a nice educated family who were once members of the Black Panther Party, and he was into drama as a child and young adult. He was trying to become an actor, but eventually turned towards a rapping career. I watched his autobiography movie, which details this footage of his many decisions he made to change his life.

For some odd reason though the negativity of his social counterparts seemed to gravitate towards him, and I think it's because of all the social activism he was engaging in, besides the stardom he was gaining progressively. There was also hidden jealousy between people who never had the taste of the high life, and becoming rich, or viewing a peer actually become one in such a dramatic way as Tupac was becoming, and eventually did become.

My generation will make a change

Rap Today after the 90's- Millennium 2000 'Y2K'

Fast forwarding to today's rap music which was a stem from the obvious spoils that occurred in the late 90's and heading into the early to mid 2000s. Many artist sprang into action after the ruins of rap's most abrupt developments and growing pains, Artists like Little Wayne, Nikki Minaj, Common, Mos Def,Talib Kweli, Busta Rhymes, Drake, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West & many more.

These newer artists for some reason had learned from the past rappers mistakes and all trended away from only focusing on negative theme's and today are on the top of most music charts each time their songs get released. Today the music industry pretty much depends on the online users to make artists or break artist, which is a sorta dilemma in many ways for both the artist and the record companies that push them all fourth to stardom.

Words he never said - Powerful Rap Lyrics

Lupe Enters the Stage

Today's rap artist have seemed to really discover innovative way's to make statements, whether it's political in nature, philosophical, for self recognition, party songs, attracting the opposite sex, ego driven, or plain old just for fun to get rich. The songs that tend to get played the most are the one's that spark the most controversy it seems.

One rapper that has taken it all to the next level is Lupe Fiasco, in my opinion he has achieved the full expressive level of freedom of speech. He use's positive words, but focuses currently on what's the climate of the current world views.

Just look at what he's stating in his latest video he launched on Vevo & Youtube. Amazing is all I can say with lyrics such as this, he's definitely on the way towards the top of the music industry, but unlike his predecessors, he has been consistent in his artfulness of positive messages & the delivery of spoken word or rhyme scheme. Now that's a "Rapper"

Nas & Damian Marley - Historical Rappers


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    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      Hi Lou's wife, I'm glad you enjoyed this hub article I wrote on hip-hop. Its not easy to see what's been going on all these years, and what has been the major hidden motivations behind such a movement, but today we can come to appreciate all the efforts of countless music artist who've come and gone such as Tupac, and Biggie.

      Mainly because they left a legacy behind them, and made a huge dent in the American culture, and the way we all see music, as well as ourselves.

    • profile image

      Lou's wife 

      6 years ago

      that was very enlightening to me! I always ask my husband why things changed so much in the music he loves, why it is so violent, u kinda cleared that up for me... thanks

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Thanks @ KrystalD for sharing and reading, I work hard at it all which I'm sure we all do here, & I'll keep trying my best to bring great content to the hubpages community.

      @ Taalib, hey my brother hows things going, thank you for vising my hub here from FB, and I truly appreciate your support for what I'm doing online as well as on hubpages. This means a great deal to me, to finally be able to get these idea's, thoughts, and words out my head finally.

      Also to find such a great place such as hubpages here, to interact with many others like me worldwide. I love the communications and can't wait to see what you can bring to the stage as well bro.

    • profile image

      Taalib Abdur Rahim Pugh 

      7 years ago

      Wow! bro. great job on bringing a good historical view and shedding light on each artist that was part of the process in influencing many listeners, fans and critics of Rap Music alike.

      You know me,I have grown up with you as your brother and we both together experienced the influences and impact Rap made on our society in America first, let alone the world.

      So Bro. i'll be shedding some light on this subject as well of course adding to what you have already stated hopefully soon. Good job Bro. keep up the good work.

    • KrystalD profile image


      7 years ago from Los Angeles

      "Sometimes it makes me I keep from going under?" :) Seriously, when I think of the history of rap, how it started really as an outgrowth of the Black Arts Movement of the 60s-70s, I wonder, "What went wrong?"

      I am someone that feels that it has lost its focus (as a whole). The stereotypes that a perpetuated from rappers that KNOW better simply for the mass appeal and the money, it disturbs. There just seems little sense of social responsibility!

      I appreciate your versatility as a hubber and you are an inspiration! Keep up this awesome work and I am sure success (by whatever meaning you hold dear) will follow. Voting up and amazing.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Thanks again Nialee, I definitely enjoy seeing what ever rapper come up with today in the many creative forms they showcase to us viewers.

    • NiaLee profile image


      7 years ago from BIG APPLE

      coudexplorer, really good hub. I love hip hop and have listened with my uncle and big bro since young. I saw the evolution and the focus on gangsta rap negative and void of deep thought and constructive revolutionary ideas. I turn to raggae and got my band. I found more spiritual and intellectual content there...though it took me 10 years and life experience to start understanding so steel pulse, buju banton, bob marley and others' lyrics!

      Thnaks for the damian marley and nas song, Amadou and Mariam are from my neighbor home country they sing in Bambara... nice to hear voices from home.

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Thanks @ Camille your words are definitely warm and comforting to me to read, because this sort of subject on hubpages gets very little coverage for some reason.

      Well at least there's some people who can find it of interest, and hopefully all people worldwide can finally give rap the actual credit it deserves, because not every rapper is a fool, even if many have seemed to ruin it all year after year for a small few of the great well known rappers worldwide.

    • Camille Harris profile image

      Camille Harris 

      7 years ago from SF Bay Area

      Great Hub, CE. I've listened to rap music since I was 12 and have witnessed the shifts you mention above. Lupe is one of my favorites, as is Nas. Rap has been villianized, but I don't believe anyone can classify the whole genre as 'bad'. Thanks for the follow, and I'm checking for your Hubs, too!

    • CloudExplorer profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Pugh 

      7 years ago from New York City

      Thanks Kiandra for your kind words, I'm getting around to all my hubs finally, I also manage many networks on the web so it's tough to do it all at once. I love rap today, but that wasn't always the case.

      I just hope it continues to help our youth become educated on how to escape the issues we have at home today, at times this was what it was for, to educate one another.

      These days I think the agenda is very different though, judging by the types of songs being released by many rap artists.

    • KiandraRutledge profile image


      7 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Interesting hub. I was never really into rap music like my friends were back in the day. But listening to the 80s rap compared to now, I would take the 80s rap, lol. Back then it was fun, now it's too dark. I did like Tupac. He had his moments of social awareness, I think he just got hooked up with the wrong people.


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