17 Sep

Back in the day (at least, in my day, which was the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s), there was a lot of discussion about the nature and content of rap lyrics, particularly the brash and graphic nature with which they deal with inner-city violence, drugs and alcohol, and women. There were protests, burnings of CDs, and other ways that people voiced their opposition to the lyrics. There were new labels slapped on CDs: “EXPLICIT LYRICS.” But it’s not like any of this was new; some country music dealt with some very similar issues, as did rock music, albeit perhaps let graphically, more shrouded in metaphor or “tame” language. But it was so-called “gangsta rap” that made the most noise in this cultural debate (although the consternation over Marilyn Manson was one of similar proportions, on certain levels).

So here’s the question: What is the influence of explicit lyrics on America’s youth? Is it a debate that was/is overblown? Or is there a legitimate concern about lyrical content, particularly as it relates to the behavior of young people?

Your 150-200 word response to this QOTW is due by Friday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.


25 Responses to “QUESTION OF THE WEEK – WEEK 3”

  1. Ginger Minock September 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    There is an extreme concern over lyrical content of artist when exposed to young people. Kids are very impressionable. Many look up to the performers as their heroes and idolize them. Having lyrical content that talks about killing and degrading women can be and extrememly negative and can affect the way a young mind thinks. Music can convey ideas that sex is cool to have sex with as many people as you can you never hear lyrics mention the consequences like pregnancy, disease. Many of which can have life changing effect.When I was young I never heard about sex on the radio as much as I do now!

  2. Susan Kim September 18, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Yes, there is a legitimate concern over lyrical content, especially as it relates to the behavior of young people. These kids nowadays are so punky, disrespectful and are somewhat out of control, they lack discipline, morals and values. Those are my personal opinions based on my experiences and in comparison to my upbringing. These kids, nowadays, want to be like Hannah Montana, etc. They want to be popular and accepted, so, if these are the shows that Disney and Nickelodeon are producing, what does one except? If kids choose to listen to music full of curse language and sexual content, that is what they will be molded into. I think that these kids parents, should be able to control and/or sensor what their kids are listening to and watching. That is the responsibility as a parent, but then again, if that is what the parents are listening too then that is how they are being raised up, some just don’t know any better.

  3. Ashlie Detiege September 19, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    I really do not think that music has as big of an impact on America’s youth as people are claiming it does. I think that it is the parents responsibility to teach their children right from wrong and the consequences that may become of some behaviors. Parents can take the easy way out and say that it was the music that turned their children into who they are, but in reality its the friends, schools, and neighborhoods.

    I listened to all the music that they say is explicit. Eminem, one of the artists who drew the most attention back in the early 2000’s, was one of my favorites. He sang/rapped about how much he hated his ex-wife and mother, drugs, sex, etc. None of which impacted my behavior. Young people have the ability to filter through what they feel is appropriate and what isn’t. This is an issue that is just completely blown out of proportion.

    I mean lets think about it, a song is not going to cause your child to go out and act like a “thug”. It is going to be the way you raise your kids and who you let them associate with. Peers have a much greater affect on youth than music.

  4. Alex Duenas September 19, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    I believe that there is a correlation between words, music, art, and other sources of media and the behavioral acts of a child. It has been shown that certain music does create psychological changes in some people. These changes can be positive or negative in any circumstance. But the debate with the burning of cd’s was overblown. If you do not want your child listening to certain music then control that as a parent. You do not need the court system to “ban” the music from being made or produced. Just control what your child listens to. And to older youths who have more control over what they listen to. It’s their decision. I chose not to listen to such explicit things when i was younger because I hated the depictions of sex and drugs and violence. Its up to the person listening to make the decision thats best for them.

  5. Chad Koenig September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    I think that people are definitely influenced by what they hear. Whether it is lyrics in a song, dialogue in a movie, or something else entirely. I am not sure of how much our actions are influenced by these things. It might be found in the way we speak or joke around with one another but I don’t think these influences play as much of a part in the choices that we make. I have an 8 year old cousin that watches television shows and listens to music that I feel are not appropriate. The things she says sometimes come strictly from these influences. She is too young to even know what she is saying. I would like to think that they are just words being repeated and that she doesn’t think twice about what it means. We can be influenced by a lot of things in the world but the actions we choose come from our own beliefs and morals.

  6. Norm Vernier September 22, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    The lyrics in this so caled ” gansta rap ” are so explicit and hard core that there should be a concern, Lyyrics that talk about murder, drugs violence and graphic degrading of your ho. Most parents would never talk or use the words that the rapper uses. Honestly I can’t even understand half of what the artist is saying. This music would not be bought for my kids, They will and have listened to rap, I serious doubt if it will have any influence on their behavior. Most rap songs are poorly wrote songs with little thought going into the music.Rap artist spend alot of time trying to be more explicit and raunchy then the next guy.Some of their songs are comical there so bad.Rappers are a negative influence on weak minded people that are drawn in to such nonsence.

    • Ryan Tavarez September 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

      I have to say there is a bit of concern, but at the same time there isn’t. For some music is an escape. A way to tap into those carnal emotions we’re not allowed to express to others. There are plenty of people who listen to “gangster rap” and “hardcore *death* metal” who don’t necessarily portray those images in their lifestyles. There are however, examples of those who do more predominate in the youth. While the debate itself is valid, it’s not as drastic or dramatic as it was made to seem. It’s not an end of the world issue. It’s one of those topics that was picked up by extremists, not unlike the extreme church women of prohibition of alcohol in the 1930’s.

      I don’t know if I have to make my comparison any more obvious, but bottom line, music is a drug. It’s all about moderation.

  7. Ryan Tavarez September 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    I have to say there is a bit of concern, but at the same time there isn’t. For some music is an escape. A way to tap into those carnal emotions we’re not allowed to express to others. There are plenty of people who listen to “gangster rap” and “hardcore *death* metal” who don’t necessarily portray those images in their lifestyles. There are however, examples of those who do more predominate in the youth. While the debate itself is valid, it’s not as drastic or dramatic as it was made to seem. It’s not an end of the world issue. It’s one of those topics that was picked up by extremists, not unlike the extreme church women of prohibition of alcohol in the 1930′s.

    I don’t know if I have to make my comparison any more obvious, but bottom line, music is a drug. It’s all about moderation.

  8. Ryan Tavarez September 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    what the fuck? double post.

    Extra credit.

  9. Cora Grimaldi September 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    I personally believe there is a ligament concern about lyrical content to the young listeners. These songs are coming out with lyrics about killing, drugs, and inappropriate sexual relations with women, and treating women poorly. Young kids look up to these rappers when they go through trouble times, because they can relate. Is this the kind of person you would want your child to look up to? Kids who listen to this music and who grow up in a rough environment assume they will end up in jail, just like their favorite rapper because they are following the same footsteps as them, including gangs, killing, and drug relations. Rappers have a big influence on the younger children who are allowed to listen to this music. Parents need to actually spend time with their children to make sure they know what is right and wrong, and know what is going on in their child’s lives, especially what they are listening to.

  10. Misty Dowlan September 22, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    Although I feel that an artist shouldn’t be censored I do feel there is a worry over lyrical content…to a certain extent. I also believe that people are responsible for their own actions. Yes, kids are impressionable, but aren’t parents also responsible for teaching them appropriate behavior, right from wrong, and positive influence? Parents have that option to not to allow their kids to listen to that “offensive” type of music or watch a certain movie or TV show. That’s why they label CDs/DVDs with stickers like “Parental Advisory Explicit Content”.
    I mean growing up my friends I listened to ALL different types of music. Some pretty tame and classical to death metal, and “gangsta rap” as some would call it, we love it all, but we weren’t out there doing the things they were doing in the songs/music videos that everyone is so worked up about.

  11. Sean M. Williams September 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    This debate has several valid points. The explicit lyrics, especially the ones aimed directly at young people in regards to idolizing drugs and violence, have a severe negative effect on some children and teens. I’m not saying music forces you to do anything, but if I child is not properly cared for by their parents and they grow up listening to music about crime, violence, and disrespect, they are much more likely to think that kind of behaivor is cool. However, I am not saying that I agree with the debate side that says explicit lyrics should be banned. The Constitution gives us the right to free speech. Artists should be allowed to create whatever they want to create, even if its so explicit that no company or consumer will buy it. Regardless of my personal opinions on explicit material aimed at young people, I will not deny anyone their Constitutional rights. It’s the parents responsibility to protect their children from this material and the responsibility of children’s networks to keep their programming and/or music cleanly appropriate. Parents should ensure children learn their values from them, not from music or even tv. Maybe if parents these days payed more attention to their childreninstead of letting them watch tv all day or whatever, we wouldn’t have to worry so much about children emulating what they see or hear in media.

  12. Eunishia Hooks September 22, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    American youth is influenced by all music. Not only the “Explicit Lyrics” but the appearance etc.Today’s music is extremely overwhelming. It sends the wrong message to America. Many young children are influenced by listening to the radio and watching what they see on television “Explicit Videos”. Sex, money, gangs etc are major factors in the world today. Its all about animosity, vengeance, tatoos, gangs. It makes children think that its ok, and thats the way to be. Parents should control what their kids listen to,and watch on television. Young kids are easily influenced by things they see and hear because their minds aren’t mentally developed. But than again you can’t patrol 24 hours so I think it’s best to start them off early. Eliminate what you don’t want them exposed to. But as they grow older you can only hope that it’s the same rules and regulations apply. Parents should surround their kids with positive influences. As a parent I think that it does have a tremendous impact on Americas youth. It can influence the kids in all aspects, mentally and physically.

  13. Amanda Rose Okonowski September 22, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    When it comes to violence in video games related to violence in youth most say that its a joined cause. Researchers have said that after several studies it’s not the violence in the video games that cause the violence in youth but tree basic pschological atributes… So when it comes to the lyrics in a song effecting youth I would assume it would take on the same attirbutes as in the violent video games and youth. So though I might think it’s obscene and disturbing to listen to rappers such as eminem talk about killing there wives I don’t think it it actually effects todays youth and think it’s widely blown out when put under debate.

  14. Julie Blattler September 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    Music influences people all the time and certainly, the lyrics. I think the influence of explicit lyrics is as affecting as any other sort of lyrics like sadder lyrics or poppy party lyrics. Certainly it affects the youth even more because they’re still developing and coming into an more opinionated mind of their own and listening to music that promote violence, drugs and sex gives them those sorts of thoughts even earlier. Certainly mainstream rap and other forms of music affect young kids, as early as elementary school, because it’s all over the radio and tv. I don’t think the debate is overblown but I think the focus shouldn’t be on rap but all forms of media that exploit racy language and ideas to a younger generation that aren’t mature enough to handle it. I think the effects it has on the younger generation is that kids are trying things at an earlier age.

  15. Derek Delap September 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Music is one of the best ways to connect to people. Through music you can inspire, and touch people on personal levels that you wouldn’t be able to reach through conversation. If you think about it lyrics today they are more graphic then they were back “in the day”. The limits have been pushed since the 1980’s and 90’s. Peoples morals and ethical standards are slowly working their way to down the totem pole. I remember when i was kid it was a big deal when a swear word was on a television show. Now words like shit, ass, and others are on national television everyday. Artists like Kesha are nearly artists at all, and are more or less promoting sleezy behavior. Songs now days are more or less for putting everyone into the moment.

  16. Stephen Packett September 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    This question has been asked a thousand times over. Although I feel there is a bit of an influence from lyrics, I really dont think music kills people or makes them smoke drugs and shit. I think that people look for someone to blame besides their own parenting, or just rebellious kids. I think its a bunch of bullshit really. i hate the fact that people get mad at a rapper for talking about guns and violence, when they let their 12 year daughter wear make up and have cell phones and computers. I mean come on. Its freedom of speech, and people can express how they feel however they want. If someone doesnt want the kids to listen to it, dont make it avaible to them-parents. Personally I think its funny and creative music, I dont wanna slap bitches and shoot people- find someone else to blame than the artists.

  17. Kevin Paredes September 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    The whole issue is totally overblown. All the parts of music serve as an inspiration, release, or enjoyment for the listener. How else are supposed to entertain our thoughts of sodomy, gore, and abrasiveness? Those subjects may be present in some music, but it doesn’t drive someone to actually perform those actions. This may have happened before, but those who did were already having problems and would have performed their actions in the first place. It’s up to the listener to control themselves on their glorious musical high.

    We’ve got the rest of the world mandating us, so it’s not hard to know the difference between a song and our reality. This is an issue that’ll exist for as long as music is around. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

  18. Elizabeth Blaszkiewicz September 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

    I beleive that the music that kids and young adults are listening to these days has a very big impact on their life decisions. For alot of teens music is all they have, thats how they express themselves. So when they hear their favorite rapper or artists talk about killing people, going to jail, and sexual content all it is doing is influencing these kids and putting it into their heads that these actions are okay. I dont believe this is overblown because violence and sexual acts and crimes are just way to common these days. And they are starting to happen at a younger and younger age. Not saying that music is the only thing influencing these children, but it is forsure having a big impact.

  19. Briana Lack September 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    I think lyrics to a song, have a very large effect on kids, and the they way they act. A bunch of kids say things in their every day life that they here LilWayne rapping. I who listen to all pop music, never swerar, i dont use any harsh working, or dirty phases. All the older kids are jamming out to thise songs with such vugarity and it makes the kis who look up to them, want to act and be just like that. Enemin says some pretty back things in his songs, and he’s one of the most famous rappers out there; i mean who wouldnt want to be like him. Just by knowing what a person listens to, you know what kind of person they are. Music is a sterotype, people hate to admit it but it is. It affects your everyday life and how you percieve the world. Music has a greater inpact on kids and adults more then we think.

  20. Mary Collier September 24, 2011 at 2:33 am #

    I believe that music lyrics are bad they do make the children these days feel like they can relate to them as if there going through the same things. It’s not ok to make our youth think that music is a way to escape from there lives. Parents also play a great deal in this, we should be paying attention to what our kids are doing and listening to. Which i know is hard with all the newest technolgy out there but teaching our kids right from wrong will help them grasp the concepts that these rap artist arent really telling the truth about life, that its just them making up stories to catch our attention. Yes music is very inflencial but its also how we raise our children.

  21. Matt Knedgen September 24, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    When it comes to rap music, I believe there is a certain influence over the youth of America. Usually this influences them in how they act. Kids that listen to rap for the most part, usually act like they are tough or even “gangsta,” to try to seem cool to their peers. This is because when they listen to it, they take the lyrics seriously and think all these rappers are murderers and hardcore drug attics that are also pimps. I do not think it gets too out of control for the most part.. Personally, I think that most people grow out of this phase when they grow older and start to wise up and realize how stupid it is.

  22. melina vervane September 24, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    i personally do think that there is that much of an impact. people will say what they want when they want. it’s apart of our constitutional rights. freedom of speech is a big deal in America so it is only reasonable that our music and other pop culture reflects this. it would be a violation of our rights and our liberty to not allow profanity to be used in today’s pop culture. sometimes there is no other way to express ones self than “fuck my life”. and that can’t be helped. our teens should know from an early age that we have the freedom to say what we want. it is the parents job though, to teach their kids that there is a time and a place to express your self using profanity.

  23. Mark Ryan Beyer September 24, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Very interesting topic I must say wow! I grew up on real gangster rap, Run Dmc,NWA,EasyE,Tupac,llcoolJ,Biggie,beastieboys,djquick,Wutang,tooshort, and so on. Now, today I produce my own product in hip hop. However, I don’t like to b called a (rapper) that’s an insult to me. I’m a modernized poet that really most people would never guess by appearance. I will bring a sample in to class sometime cause its an amazing gift I have. I could not write about this and hide who I truly am. However, I find 99% of so called rap is garbage. I’m very picky and can also be my word critic, I’m a perfectionist at what I do no exceptions!!! Gangster rap really influenced my I don’t give a F*** attitude. Ive lived on my own since I w

  24. Mark Ryan Beyer September 24, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Continued; was 13 yrs old. Due to a horrible home life. During these young years I was very influenced by this music. I got myself in too deep before I could realize it. I was reckless and got involved with the wrong people and I mean WRONG people!!!!! However this is not always the case depending on the supervision provided by the parents. Music is freedom of speech that’s the true beauty of it. I love all different types of music some is more influential then others.
    I believe kids that have a good support system at home are not as influenced by this explicit material.

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