playItLikeThis what I can take from your post is that you would probably like the Roots stuff. They have more "uplifting" songs like "The Fire" or "Wake Up".

I don't like rap for the following reasons:

1. One bar of music repeated for 3 1/2- 4 minutes. Ususally with some ear-degrading "sound effect" played throughout the whole song.
2. Filthy lyrics.
3. Encourages illiteracy. Fifty Cent/Fitty Cent?
4. Is now more about a culture that is detrimental to a large portion of people who listen to it.
5. Live performances: A bunch of shirtless tatooed dudes hopping around and yelling "lyrics" into the mic which can't be understood.
6. Musicians? They don't need no stinking musicians!
7. Musically flat. No changes in mood, time signature, key. No bridge, climax. Just flat line loud.

That said, there are a few older song I like, such as rapper's delight, walk this way (crossover) , bust a move. Warren G. had a song I liked about 7 years ago but I can't remember the title.
In response to this post though, wouldn't you say that most of those links did not meet the criteria you posted? I was trying to show you that your perception of rap was generalized.

Yes, there was some language. I think it's because of my age (16) that I can bypass the language thing. I filter out the vulgarity so I don't ignore the message the song is trying to convey. I think not listening to music because of that, limits your opportunity to learn.

i.e In Conflict Diamonds:
"Cecil Rhodes sold war and genocide
To the countryside just to get his shine on!
I fear what De Beers and his peers use to do, before the world really knew, just to get their "mine" on!
Making paper with slave labour and hittin little kids with life time bids making em cut and shine stones.
Inflating the price and making em look nice and i wasnt thinking twice when i was putting mine on."

Rap from someone like Lupe Fiasco needs to be analyzed like poetry or literature to be understood because of all the references to historic events, similes, metaphors, and etc he uses in his music. THAT makes me smarter because it causes me to research the material of the songs so I can understand what he is talking about. And it also shows that the rapper is educated.

I can understand why you (and me) wouldn't have a child listening to it. But the lyricism in those songs does not promote illiteracy, and they weren't tatooed or anything and walking around without shirts on while performing. I think it's also worth mentioning that if you listen to some of their live performances, they substitute the language out based on the venue they are performing at. If they are at a club in the city, they keep everything. If they are performing for an award or on something like "Austin City Limits"(it's recorded live on tv) they are very professional and keep the vulgarity to a minimum (no f bombs, "n" words, etc).

In one of Lupe Fiasco's other songs called "He Say, She Say" he talks about how fathers aren't there for their kids and basically tells them that they should be. I don't think that particular song is detrimental to the listeners. Unfortunately, there are not many listeners of songs like that because nobody wants to listen to a song about a mother and her child chewing out the father for not taking care of his family.

Here is what I think: mainstream glorifies the ghetto. Underground (or anything other than the top 100) realistically portrays it in songs like "He Say, She Say".

You are correct in this aspect though, there are WAY too many mainstream rappers glorifying the ghetto. It is not a good thing. There are a bunch of middle class kids, like the ones in my school, who think its cool. They are the ones that hip hop is negatively influencing because they aren't familiar with the culture. I have family in bad areas like that so I don't glorify it or think it is cool. With a genre like this, you need to be mature to listen to it. And not just because of how explicit it is, but because people mimic or favor what they hear in the music. You need to know who you are when you start listening to rap. Most teenagers don't. Fortunately, I did when I began really listening to it about a year ago. I don't try to imitate the rappers like some people do because they think it sounds cool. I take info from rap, I don't let it absorb me.

As for the tone of the songs, you are right. "Dear God 2.0" is my definition of a 5 star song. It had a nice groove, it had good lyrics, it was socially conscious, and was relevant to today's issues. There is a mindset of a victim because that is the background of the artists. Having been to the ghetto, I can say that you feel like a victim there. They come from rough areas and just the general difference in atmosphere between there and the burbs is huge. If they want to rap about the opportunities they didn't have or all the negative things going on because it is an urgent issue to them, then they are justified in doing so. It's amazing that they are as smart and fluent/tactful with words as they are. Personally, I find that appealing. It is more interesting to listen to people from those settings that have street and book smarts, than your average suburbanite who came from the same background as me.
That said, they use their ability of rap to address issues. They don't solve them, they just say, "Hey, this is what's going on. That's a problem. Just letting you know" and people like us are the ones who decide whether or not to do something about it.

My final take:
1. It depends. In the more mainstream music the bars of music are more likely to be looped with some sound effects.
2. With some guys the vulgarity is insane and unnecessary. With others, it is used to convey emotion and censored out when necessary.
3. I can name a good number of rappers who are VERY literate and show it in their music. 50 cent isn't one of them.
4. Mainstream nowadays is negative so it is detrimental. But there is hip hop music out there that is not demeaning to culture.
5. Live performances: There are millions of rappers. You can find a lot of them doing "open mics" just sitting on a stool or freestyling on the street. They are clothed. Even some of the people I listed jump around a little bit on stage but if they don't have a band backing them up, they better be doing something other than sitting down while rapping.
6. The guys I listed tend to have musicians backing them up.
7. It varies. Some stuff can be musically flat, some have an orchestra or a band playing.

If people can't tell by now, I don't like that much mainstream hip hop. I think it is the ugly mask that everyone can see and it does not do justice to the other 90% of hip hop.
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