Greg Oyan: The downfall of the rap industry

Otto Tielemans

The most prolific musical genre of the past decade has been rap and hip-hop. Rap is one of my passions, and listening to it is one of my favorite pastimes. However, I think that modern culture has created a moral monster when it comes to rap.

Explicit content, drug references, alcohol references, and other inappropriate elements have tainted the art form. Rap has the potential to have a positive impact on people, but artists, producers, and society have caused the unfortunate demise of a once admirable art.

Here is an original and sugar-coated example of what modern rap has become:

If I were a rock I’d be my left bicep
Around the clock workin’ on my street rep
If I were compared to stairs I would be the next step
So why you staring at me broseph?
The chasms of my mind are a gold mine
Riches written on my lines, all the time
Genius really isn’t that hard to find
Girl get on over here, you’re pretty fine
The gold mine that is my mind is telling me that you’re mine
So lets California roll past this red stop sign
And maybe you and I will cross the line

Although brief, this example illustrates some of the more unfortunate aspects of hip-hop. Exploitation of women and egotistical statements like, “The chasms of my mind are a gold mine,” are strewn throughout songs that use more colorful language than I used. The point is: rap is going downhill. 

I won’t lie, many rap songs and artists are enjoyable to someone like me who can admire some of the intricacies of the music. I listen to Eminem, Dr. Dre, Tech N9ne, and other artists who frequently utter atrocious comments.

The only reason I listen to these people is because most of the professional hip-hop artists that make quality music are following the current hip-hop trends that infringe upon common morality. It almost seems as though drugs, sex, and ego are seen as acceptable to some because rap artists make it seem normal. It isn’t, and some people don’t understand that, especially high school students.

Kids these days swear like sailors, wear clothes with “swagger,” and live by a detestable tagline that reads, “acquire currency, disregard females.” This mindset is damaging because people forget that money isn’t everything, and women deserve the utmost respect and care. Skeptics might ask, should rap really be blamed for behavior like that? I think it definitely can be. Music videos, the radio, and other forms of broadcasting are supplying the ears of people everywhere with unrighteous content.

Is there a solution to this problem? Yes. Mainstream rappers need to start advertising positivity, and well-intentioned virtues in their songs.

Some artists have decided to diverge from the mainstream including Canadian rapper, Shad. Although Shad may still reflect a “gangster” attitude at times, his music lacks the blatant cussing heard in the rest of the hip-hop industry. Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Tedashi are all Christian artists, and although some people may not enjoy religious components in their music, many of their songs are based on sanguine moral principles.

As a rapper myself, I have performed in multiple venues in multiple cities. Most of the time, I receive positive feedback from listeners. Yet, sometimes I feel like when I say I’m a rapper, there is an expectation that I support the ideals brought forth by mainstream hip-hop musicians. I do not at all support any of the ideals that they present, and I would like public perception to change regarding rappers like me.

Here is more of my opinion, but this time in the form of a rap. I’ve decided to write this to attempt to prove that you don’t have to be a bad person to come up with creative and innovative lyricism through this art.

Recently I’ve been worried about this industry,
But maybe there is hope that we can break free
This tyranny in rap that is immorality
Like cussing, and women, and ego doesn’t have to be a formality
Why don’t all you multi-millionaire thugs come back to reality
It’s sad that many of you guys have eight-figure salaries
You’re burning up the ideals of this generation like Michael Phelps burns calories
So stop making music videos of some Ray Ban 6-pack dude in the pool
Who rhymes about getting girls and ditching school
Maybe you could make a song about how drugs drool
Because at the end of the day you just look like a fool
Start inspiring kids through creativity and upright morals
Instead of teenagers aspiring to rob a local store for jewels
It might be hard work so make it like a mule
For good works my friends you could be a tool
And yeah, my friend it’s okay to have a high self-esteem
But replacing your teeth with diamonds seems mean
Especially when people in the world scream
They don’t have clean food or clean water
These sons and these daughters’ dreams are tearing at the seams
And all you can do is look cool on stage with your shuffle pop and lean
You want to make it like the hulk and be a lean mean killing machine
Wearing tank tops and sagging those pants to the floor
Because it’s so cool that you smoke weed at 20 after 4,
Hopefully this little rap of mine can come closer to settling this score
Because quite frankly if you continue this downward spiral anymore,
The glory days of rap will be nothing more than folklore.

I wrote my rap to illustrate that it isn’t too difficult to come up with creative rhymes and lyrics without adding four-letter words and disrespectful degradations of people. Maybe I’m just dreaming and our society isn’t falling victim to the abhorable values expressed in rap. But regardless, I think we should throw some optimisim and inspiration into a very important modern art; it couldn’t hurt to try.

What do you think?