The Hip-Hop Connection

This morning I perused the front page of, hoping to find out if Greg Oden would make the jump. But instead of finding the answer, another article caught my eye. In the article, Imus shouldn’t give hip-hop a bad rap, columnist Todd Boyd claims that hip hop isn’t as bad as some may think.

Imus and hip-hop really don’t have much in common. Imus was host of a radio show that focused on the real news of the day, while hip-hop is a fictionalized form of cultural expression. Imus is real, featuring real guests and humor based on real topics. However loudly hip-hop might claim to be real, it is not real; it is a form of representation. This is why so few rappers use the names on their birth certificates when performing. Rappers are in essence characters performing a fictional life. Though the culture is rooted in the notion and style of authenticity, it is decidedly fictional. If not, the cops could arrest every rapper who talks about selling drugs or killing someone in his or her lyrics. So we should be judging hip-hop the same way we judge a novel, a movie, or a television show, and to do so means we have to afford hip-hop the same latitude we afford any other form of artistic expression.

According to Boyd, there is no connection between what the lyrics say and what the performers actually do in real life. When they talk about immorality, drug abuse, and murder, we can simply smile and say, “It’s just pretend. Nobody would really want to do anything like that.”

Oh really? I think Mr. Boyd would have a hard time explaining what recently happened in Painesville. Perhaps he should read the front page of The News-Herald today. Here’s what Jason Lea had to say about the connection between criminal activity and rap music.

Narcotics agents, SWAT members and Painesville officers executed a search warrant Friday evening at 180 Michael Court in Painesville, LCNA Sgt. Brad Kemp said. A man was in the basement of the house, which doubles as a rap recording studio. But the primary residents — two adults and a 2 1/2-year-old daughter — were out when Special Weapons and Tactics officers made entry. Agents conducted a search and seized approximately 3 grams of crack cocaine, a quarter-ounce of cocaine, multiple bags of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, several digital scales, three handguns, one shotgun, one rifle and one assault rifle, Kemp said. All but one of the guns were loaded. A 4-inch suspected pipe bomb was found in a metal filing case in the recording studio, Kemp said. Lake County Bomb Squad and Painesville firefighters were notified.

It just goes to show the truth of what the Lord Jesus said.

Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Matthew 12:34-35

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One thought on “The Hip-Hop Connection

  1. uc

    Art is more Real than real to those who “get it.” It claims to reveal truth beyond our perceptions.

    Rap is telling it’s fans that real life means defending your personal honor at all costs, and that other women and men are not as important as you are. Both ideas are not civilized.

    When this commentator minimizes Rap’s influence, it’s like saying alcohol doesn’t cause problems in society because I only drink one glass of wine a day.


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