Throughout the years, controversy surrounding hip-hop music and its culture has been in the spotlight. From the hype of the east coast and west coast rivalry, to the critics who are quick to point out rap’s violent lyrics, it continues to be a hot topic.
A debate around the harmful influence of rappers sparked this week after DaBaby got into an altercation with singer and rapper DaniLeigh, the mother of his youngest child, on Instagram Live. This prompted fans to voice their opinions on social media, asking if hip-hop music influences the way people act.
Oftentimes, people allow the stigma surrounding hip-hop to overshadow the power of the music. However, people may be missing the point of the messages that can be expressed through music. Hip-hop can bring awareness to many significant cultural issues such as racism and sexism, while also evoking emotion.
Kendrick Lamar, who has been hailed as a lyrical genius by some, aims to provide motivation to overcome personal demons. His album “To Pimp A Butterfly” deals with materialism, racism, oppression and above all else, self-love. The album’s title is a clever nod to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and is also a metaphor for the literal pimping of something as beautiful and free as a butterfly.
A recent study done at Cambridge University discovered that hip-hop freestyling puts the brain in a unique “flow state” that prompts “parts of the brain responsible for emotion, language, motivation, motor function and motor processing.”
Cece Valencia, radio host for hip-hop station 93.5 KDAY, said hip-hop takes on daily issues and represents being outspoken and fearless.
“I feel like hip-hop is one of those genres that’s really tapped into what people go through,” Valencia said. “There’s been several times where I’ve been going through it or feeling down and I just turn on hip-hop or a specific song and the lyrics just hit different.”
Victoria Veyene, a USC freshman English major, said she listens to music, primarily hip-hop, on a daily basis. She listens to it as “a way to distract herself.”
“I like to listen to Doja Cat a lot,” Veyene said. “I love her music and the way she is herself. She always makes me feel energized and empowered.”
As for Marissa “Frosty” Frausto, the Mexican hip-hop MC said as an artist, she takes into consideration the way her music influences her fans and those who listen to her music.
“There’s times where just the tone or the passion behind a lyric can really affect the way people interpret it,’’ Frosty said. “You can say the same sentence two different ways and people will interpret them differently just by the tone and inflection of your voice. That makes a huge difference in being heard and having your story or other people’s story being told.”
iHeart Media’s national syndicated radio personality Charles Dorsey, also known as Chuck Dizzle, has experienced firsthand how over the years, hip-hop has had the power to change lives.
“[Hip-hop] drives the market for a lot of different things when it comes to pushing the culture forward,” Dorsey said. “A lot of the reform and changes that have been made the past couple of years, that’s that hip-hop influence. From them putting out messages through the NFL to basketball players having Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts…That’s hip-hop!”
The 2022 Super Bowl performance will be the first hip-hop halftime performance in 10 years. Taking place at the Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, the show will feature Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.
Dorsey said that hip-hop is more than just artists influencing someone to do something; it’s a way of living.
“[Hip-hop] is a driving lifestyle. It’s beyond music now, it’s pop-culture in a way,” Dorsey said. “It’s popular culture and you see an impact all over the world in different facets.”