What Do You Think?: Gangster Rap Music
Monday, May 6, 2013 at 2:04PM
Lynda Rae in gangs, hip hop, music, rap, self expression, sexuality, violence

What do you think about this scenario?

Arturo is in 6th grade and getting ready to go to junior high.  He lives with his mom and two older brothers who are in high school.  He never used to pay much attention to music but recently he and his friends have been getting into the rap music their older brothers like.  Many of the songs are very graphic, describing gang life in detail from their generally misogynistic views on women to killing rivals and committing various crimes.  Arturo’s mother hates that her boys listen to this music so he only listens to it when she's not around.  One day when he thought she wasn’t home he was play wrestling with his friends when, in the heat of the moment, he called his friend a horrible name he'd heard in one of his favorite songs.  His friends all laughed until Arturo’s mom burst out of the bedroom where she was napping and started yelling at him for saying such a terrible thing.  She asked him where he heard it, and knowing she could tell if he was lying, he told her from his music.

Questions for Discussion:

1.  Why do you think Arturo is drawn to “gangster rap” when he knows his mom hates it?  How do you think it makes him feel?

2.  Do you think the fact that his dad is gone makes him more drawn to the strong male rappers, or does that have nothing to do with it?

3.  Why do you think his mom hates that music, and is she justified in feeling that way?  Why or why not?

4.  Do you ever listen to music that uses bad words or negative/criminal themes?  If so why do you like it?

5.  Do you think the music you listen to influences the way you talk, act, or think at all?  Why or why not?

Factoids:

How Mentors Can Help

Resources:

Study: Association Found Between Rap Music Video Viewing Time and Risky Behaviors

Timeline: The Criminal History of Lil Wayne (Rolling Stone)

"Rap music blamed for teen pregnancy"

" A Prospective Study of Exposure to Rap Music Videos and African American Female Adolescents’ Health" (American Journal of Public Health)

Article originally appeared on Fighting Back Mentor Program Resource Center (http://mentor-center.org/).
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