This song is dedicated to all the happy people
All the happy people who have real nice lives
And who have no idea whats it like to be broke as fuck
I feel like I’m walking a tight rope, without a circus net
I’m popping percocets, I’m a nervous wreck
I deserve respect; but I work a sweat for this worthless check
Bout to burst this tech, at somebody to reverse this debt
Minimum wage got my adrenaline caged
Full of venom and rage
Especially when I’m engaged
And my daughter’s down to her last diaper
I wanted to start this with some fancy line that lives up to ‘the preceding paragraph’ – but I couldn’t. My grandmother doesn’t like rap. In fact she despises it.
“I’m going to cut off MTV and VH1 and BET! I can’t believe they show such foolishness on TV!”
I’m sure her opinion is a popular one. If I asked you to describe rap, what words would you use? It’s a popular misconception that all rappers do is talk about money, sex and drugs. However, even if this were true, wouldn’t you look deeper into it and wonder why?
As I was utilizing dictionary.com, I clicked on rap music: a style of popular music, developed by disc jockeys and urban blacks in the late 1970s, in which an insistent, recurring beat pattern provides the background and counterpoint for rapid, slangy, and often boastful rhyming pattern glibly intoned by a vocalist or vocalists. (I apologize for this side note, but the definition of glibly is ‘readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerely so.’ I wonder why this adjective was chosen. Aside from other problems I have with this definition, why should one conclude that rap is done in a ‘boastful’ and ‘thoughtless’ manner? The generalization seems almost detrimental to the words reputation.) After I looked up rap, I looked up slang which was defined as: very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language. I don’t know about you, but I think those two words just contradicted each other. How can something be thoughtless and metaphorical? I don’t think it’s thoughtless, I think it’s brilliance that’s incapable of being measured. It’s an innate brilliance that a chosen few posses. I think I’ve made my point… but hey, that’s what happens when you try to define indefinable words… Anyway, that’s the story of how I looked up hip-hop and ended on elliptical. “Pretty accurate, huh?”
If I were to define the concept of rap by comparing it another form of art, I would compare it to Virginia Wolf’s stream of consciousness. When you hear a person speak slang, do you think of how intelligent they are? ‘Obviously, not’. When someone speaks slang, we all make an assumption that the person is uneducated, or doesn’t know any better. Is this true? If a person chooses to switch between two different “language codes”, is it wrong? Are teenagers who speak slang communicating in a dialect, or are they simply a group of ignorant people consistently making grammatical errors (according to the ‘standard language’, of course).
Rap music breaks convention, and this is what makes people scared. What happens when a minority group actually creates a form of art? What happens when this art form happens to be beautiful because it encompasses the pain and sweat brought upon its’ creators by oppression? What happens when people listen? What happens when the minorities influence popular culture?
Eminem is not only a rap artist, but he’s a person with a story. He grew up in poverty and in his raps, he often tells the story of a person who has been oppressed by society. The above Eminem verse comes from a song called “Rockbottom” from his first released album. When some people hear this song, they only hear the violence, the drugs, and the curses instead of the ‘ugly picture of reality’ it paints. I hope I helped to place this paintbrush on the canvas…The person in “Rockbottom” doesn’t have anything of his own. He works endless hours to earn a paycheck that isn’t enough money to support him. All of his life, he has been chasing success- but he never quite gets there. His child is born and he can barely afford diapers. Sometimes, he has to sacrifice his own meals so that his baby can eat. Rap music is the voice of the minority, and it needs to be heard.
It would be disrespectful of me to the hip-hop community not to mention that Biggie and Tupac were two of the greatest hip-hop legends of all time.
Ironically they were both shot and killed.