Music conveys emotion and communicates feelings sonically to induce further emotion into the consumer. This could be sadness, anger, happiness or any emotion the artist is feeling at the time. Hip hop as an art form offers a direct depiction of how an artist may be feeling or what they’ve gone through, and often this comes across as conceited, boasty and in some cases glorifies negativity. The more I think about it, the more I realise that the artist has a right to communicate this glorification, even though it’s supposed to be for more mature audiences and the music might be shit, they have a right to put it out. The problem comes when impressionable listeners only listen to this negative music. Parents should be able to police what children of a younger age are exposed to but with the freedom of the internet and the school yard, it will prove difficult to stop them from listening to everything. The age ratings for music don’t serve their intended purpose and actually act as a badge to entice younger people to indulge in content made for the more mature. Everyone’s done listened to music they shouldn’t have at a young age, but it seems in this day and age the protection of a child’s innocence is secondary to profit. Nowadays any child of any age can go online and without restriction access a whole load of adult content that could be potentially damaging to them.
This isn’t the case every time as there must be cases where a child has seen and heard horrible things but it doesn’t affect them. The same way that different medications have different effects on individuals, music operates the same way. This is why there is such a wide range of artists, genre’s and sounds, because there are different audiences even within music genre’s. Music has moved from an individual focus to a collective one, as people are now making music which will appeal to the majority as opposed to making music which they think is good personally. An example fo this is how rappers have been ‘dumbing’ down their music for years in order to make it digestible for the palette of the ordinary consumer and in doing this the music itself lacks depth and quality. The commercial aspect of the music industry has essentially encouraged the music being made to be seriously diluted. The problem is now we have educated critics, and conscious minds expecting the music to be made to cater to their ears. You never hear the critics talking about how they loved that gun talk, or the way he disrespected women there was great because that’s not for the critics. It’s for the people in it. Or the people who want to be in it. Or the people who think it would be cool to be in it. Or for dumb people. Or for non-blacks.
The difference between violence in the movies and the violence in the music is that most of the time the movie is clearly not for real and the audience recognise that it’s all an act. The music sits in a greyer part of the spectrum because a lot of the time the musician is talking about a personal experience, and if this personal experience involves hurting and killing then the image the musician sets for themselves is for the most part not admirable. I say for the most part because there are times when hood stories are needed and exposure to a harsh lifestyle can be educational. The line between what’s acceptable and what’s not is down to the individual, and you should think about what your forcing your mind to be exposed to. By having a wide range of musical input the negative music may become easier to detach from and can be enjoyable without attaching your personal emotions to it. Knowing what to listen to and what not to listen to is important, and even though an artist may be popular, their music isn’t always good for you to listen to over and over again. There’s a time and a place for everything though, even shit!