I will be honest with you up front; I am not pleased with the music industry. The lyrical content from hip-hop songs that promotes these misogynistic, violent, hedonistic, and reckless mentalities is truly disturbing. The disappointing part of it all is that I grew up in the hip hop generation and still feel as if it’s my music, but you can only nod your head to a good beat and a nice flow for so long before the hoes, mollies, and bang bangs start to wear on you. Now, there are some of your industry mates that bring some hope to the genre, but I don’t see the majority taking note. There’s a lot that can be said about rap music (and over time will be said) but in this letter I want to address this common statement I hear from rappers, that their music is “just entertainment”.
At various times this argument has been made where listeners were told to “calm down” or to “not take things so seriously” because again the music is for listening pleasure not a guide to reality. Now some may ask, how can promoting drugs, violence, and exploiting women be viewed as entertainment? This indeed is a good question but one can’t forget about the violent and sex filled movies and TV shows we entertain ourselves with night in and night out.
Now Mr. Rapper, before you think that I’m making an argument for your craft, my mentioning of TV and movies is for a reason. My advice to you Mr. Rapper is to take note of your fellow entertainers from the world of film. For instance, we all know that Denzel Washington is not a crooked cop in LA, or a pilot with a drinking problem, or a high school football coach during integration, or a civil rights activist from the 60’s. We know this because when Denzel leaves the movie set his name ceases to be Detective Alonzo Harris , Whip Whitaker, Coach Boone, or Malcolm X. Once the director says cut, he’s back to Denzel Washington and done playing the part of his characters. When we see him on interviews, award shows, late night TV, or if we even get the privilege to meet him in person, he’s Denzel, his true self. No one will run up to him and thank him for inspiring them when he went to the lengths of holding people in a hospital hostage in order to get his son medical treatment, because they know he didn’t do that in real life.
But with you Mr. Rapper it’s different and therefore quite confusing. When you leave the studio or video shoot, you go by the same name and you stay in character. We see you on interviews, award shows, and late night TV and you still keep the same persona. If it was just entertainment maybe it would help if you came out of character. This will help people separate the reality from fiction. It’s also confusing Mr. Rapper when you stay in character to the point of getting arrested, starting beefs that turn violent and at times deadly, and even go to prison for the same stuff you rap about in your songs. You deserve acting accolades for your performances and praise for the lengths that you are committed to your “entertainment”. So in closing, if it’s just for show and not real, come out of character, use your birth name and real persona. Help people, especially these young kids out here see that it’s not real…unless it really isn’t entertainment. Then Mr. Rapper, I think we have a serious issue on our hands.
Concerned Music Enjoyer
~Stephen J. Taylor