ART

A Musical Rapture: Some rappers still use art to bring attention to social justice issues

Conner Owens
Oxford Stories
cowens2@go.olemiss.edu

Today’s music is more complex with more variety. EDM, or electronic dance music, and rap now reign as the new generation’s music.

Rap started as the voice of a new generation of African Americans that addressed social and economic problems. Now, a lot of rap is about wealth and having a good time.

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I work for Vault Entertainment company, and we provide lighting and sound for many fraternal events on campus. The University of Mississippi fraternal scene is predominantly Caucasian, and they all play rap at events.

The music distracts us from our busy lives of trying to juggle being social, making good grades and working to make connections for future internships.

However, there are still many people rapping about struggles. A famous active voice for social justice is Kendrick Lamar. He has had countless hits, and every song on his last album was on the Billboard’s Top 100 list.

The way he has mixed values of traditional and modern rap has propelled him to the top of his game. His song D.N.A. was written to bring attention to police brutality. Humble was the number one song off of that album, and I think it is a message to himself about staying humble and true to yourself once you reach the top of the mountain.  

J-Cole is another rapper who tries to keep his music current, yet he also holds true to its origins. In his 2014 album Forrest Hill Drive, he reflects on growing up and his roots.

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When rap started, it was about self-empowerment, pointing out issues and giving African Americans a voice. While the aforementioned rappers have tried to make a statement with their music, some in the rap game are there just to make a buck.

The most notable rapper is Wes Walker who wrote the song, Jordan Belfort. This song came out after the “Wolf of Wall Street” movie,  made the name Jordan Belfort a household name, and made Wes Walker a superstar. Wes Walker created this song to make a great deal of money.

Today, the number one song in the United States is Rockstar by Post Malone. It talks about the rapper making it as a real-life rock star. He hypes himself up as a new rap artist.

He wrote another song before this called Congratulations. In it, he says his mom calls and tells him how well he is doing. He realizes he needs to keep pushing himself to do more and take over the rap game.

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Modern music is about takeover and how you can depict your takeover in a catchy manner. There are only a few people that still rap with the same heart and purpose of taking on a major problem in today’s problematic society.

The difference is these few have to find a way to make a point while staying hype and updated on a trending subject so it can be timeless, yet relevant.

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