“You admire all the number book takers
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them”
Those immortal lines from The Message ring more true today than when I first heard them 26 years ago.
As I was driving home from work the other day, I pulled up to a stop sign. Standing on the sidewalk was a boy no older than 8 or 9. He looks right at me and starts reciting the lyrics to Lil’ Wayne‘s “Ride for my Ni–az”. My first thought (aside from, “where are his parents?”) was, “This kid thinks he’s impressing me with his ability to quote Lil’ Wayne, profanities and all.” I’ll bet he couldn’t even remember what he learned in school that day, but he sure knew those lyrics.
Many (c)rap artists today aren’t too concerned with the responsibility of fame. They don’t care about the message they’re sending to the children who listen to their music (or what passes for music).
“I’m just doin’ my thang. I ain’t tellin’ kids to follow me and do what I do.”
Come on, now! No matter what you say to the contrary, kids will emulate things they see and hear in the media, especially those without a positive father figure around. The more they see their favorite flavor of the month (c)rapper boast about smoking blunts, carrying guns, treating women like prostitutes, disrespecting authority, and disregarding the overall rules of society, their impressionable young minds will follow suit. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron!
Wait, I can hear one of the usual cop outs now,
“My music ain’t fo’ little kids. I make my music fo’ my ni–az that’s keepin’ it real.”
Now, if anyone out there truly buys into that mentality for one minute, I have waterfront property in Arizona to sell. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying by any means that irresponsible rappers are the cause of all society’s ills, but why add to it? Why glamorize the very things that are destroying our neighborhoods? You’re celebrating ignorance and telling young boys that it’s cool to flaunt that ignorance. You’re message to young girls is that, in order to get the attention of a man, it’s cool to flaunt their bodies and degrade themselves in exchange for material things.
WELL IT ISN’T!
Rappers today need to wake up and realize the message they’re sending to kids. BET can play your videos as late at night as they want to, but it will be seen by young eyes. You can put all the warning labels you want on your music, but your product will end up in the hands of a child.
Like that kid I saw standing on the sidewalk. Let’s just hope and pray he doesn’t start acting out what he hears.
That’s just my opinion. But I think I’m right!
7 Year Old Steals Grandmother’s Car To “Do Hood Rat Stuff With My Friends.”