By Alex Xu
Music is contagious. From the rhythmic beats to the euphoric melodies, music is something that anyone can pick up and become entranced into. Sentimental lyrics reach the deep recesses of one’s heart; a funky beat enters the soul and controls the body as if the song was the puppeteer and the body a marionette. Music is that powerful.
But music does more than just provide sounds for us to listen to; those sounds we call music play an influential role in our lives.
I remember the first time I listened to rap music. It was a CD of all the popular songs at the time that my friend had mixed for me in the sixth grade. When I brought it home, my parents found it and listened.
They were shocked that I had brought home such vulgarity, and convinced that all the songs on the CD should never be called music. They did not want me to listen to the swearing that the songs had, but I ended up keeping the CD anyway.
Whenever someone says, “Rap is not music, it is just someone talking with a beat in the background,” something clicks in my mind. I think they’re wrong, and that they do not understand what rap truly is.
Although I will agree that some artists who consider their songs in the genre “rap/hip-hop” are not music; however, artists like B.o.B, Eminem, and Mos Def are making a positive impact with their music.
The key to their success in the music industry is not about making a number one single, but expressing their feelings in a way that everyone can relate to.
What everyone perceives as rap is someone talking about women, money, drugs, alcohol, cars, and sex. But that is what the media portrays in today’s popular rap music. Most people cannot tolerate rap because of the lewd lyrics and negative vibe it seems to give off.
It was of my own taste in music that had led me to rap. My friends mostly listened to rock, alternative, and pop; I liked those types of music too, but something about rap appealed to me more than the other genres.
What rap does that no other type of music can do, is that its lyrics tell a life story that humbles the listener. For instance, the song My Life Be Like by Gritz is a great representation of this; the song explains how living life can be a challenge, but it is the experience of living itself that makes each and every one of our lives unique. Music does not always have to be about autotune, techno beats, and simple lyrics that are repeated about 50 times in a song.
The actual definition of music is that it is an art of sound in time, expressing ideas and emotions through the elements of rhythm, melody, and harmony. So the next time someone says, “Rap is not music,” consider this: if music is an expression of one’s feelings through emotions and ideas, doesn’t rap fit the guidelines?