So it is that the genre often gets castigated for its heavy use of gangsta rhyme styles, and most of these rappers fall under the umbrella of rap-core, or the newer sub-genres in rap which have emerged from the subcultural influences of hip-hop and dubstep. So when Kendrick Lamar releases his second major album, I Am, and the rapper takes aim at the genre, he is effectively stating that gangster rap is just that – rap music that is too heavy with gangsta elements. But he doesn’t say as much about the way that the genre is used to legitimise and perpetuate the violence and brutality that black people face every day.
In some ways, rap has become as much about making money as it has about speaking out. This could be traced from the ’90s, when rappers would perform and win huge deals. It’s become an industry at this point.
Rap music, like many of its genres, has found its way into American schools via hip-hop, which was very much used to educate young people about the way the world works, and that white people are entitled to it. When Eminem released his first album, he was in a gangsta rapping phase – the very definition of the genre. In many ways, rap has now become such a major platform for entertainment and social commentary that gangsta rap has lost most of its significance.
The most interesting aspect of hip-hop and gangsta rap that I see today is that there is a lot of violence in it. You’d expect a rap genre that has a lot of gangsta elements to have violence, and I think that that’s what makes some people so annoyed – it doesn’t fit the model that they’ve set for how the genre should be. The music, rather than being about making money, has a lot more to do with expressing things.
Gangsta rap used to be about having to survive, but now that it’s become about money it’s much more about survival
Today, in hip-hop and in some of its sub-genres it has found a place in the mainstream as a means to express the same message as rap music was meant to convey: black people in this world live in constant fear of violence and exploitation. Hip-hop is now used as a tool of the capitalist elites in order to make money. It’s a means for black people to escape the oppression that these same elites hold over them because
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