Gangsta rap is a form of expression which uses words with rhythmic
beats to make one point or another. What separates gangsta rap from regular rap is that gangsta rap talks
about gang life and rap usually doesn’t. Lyrics in gangsta rap that cause the most controversy are the ones
that talk about killing people or ones that portray woman as just objects. People like Delores Tucker and
William Bennett are currently trying to censor these “filthy” lyrics because they believe that these lyrics
corrupt minds. But even though gangsta rappers like Tupac Shakur and “Biggie Smalls” might rap about
hurting women or killing people, they are not to be blamed for what people do regardless of what
correlation there might be. And even though it is unsure whether or not gangsta rap causes violent crimes, it
should never be used as a scapegoat for hiding the more important issues.
Delores C. Tucker, chairwoman of the National Political Congress of Black Women in
Washington, D.C., is working with William Bennett to censor rap music because of its harsh lyrics and
disparaging view of women. It is true that rap music, especially gangsta rap, uses vulgar language and also
denigrate women. But rap, like all types of music is a form of expression. Just like poetry or art, it
expresses ones view. It doesn’t matter that rap uses explicit lyrics but, it does matter if you take away the
right to express oneself. Because if ones right to express his or her opinion freely was taken away, then the
expression will not be real. Tucker once stated “Stop producing [gangsta rap] and selling it to our children.”
(95 Emerge) Stopping the production will not stop anything and Tucker obviously has no idea what the
real problems are. Tucker and Bennett should be concerned more about dealing with the more important
issues that plague society than trying to take away peoples !
right to free speech.
In the video “Gangs in Los Angeles” (91 Tom Brokaw), real life gangsters are shown in their own
neighborhood. Unlike how music video’s show gang life, life as a gangster is not as glamorous as it is
portrayed in videos. Many of the children born in these “hoods” are most likely going to become gang
members as well because of their surroundings and how they are raised. These children might not have the
support, love, and guidance of parents or what is more common now, a parent. All they see around them is
drugs, gangs, andcrime. By joining a gang, they gain a sense of belonging and pride. But more often, this is
just a false sense, and eventually, they lose what should be most important to them. Rap music does not
cause them to become gang members or to commit violent crimes, it is just one of the ways gangsters
express themselves. The more important issues that should concern politicians and people like Tucker and
Bennett should be that of figuring out how they will stop the!
cycle of gangs, not going after the rappers.
“Power Rangers,” (96 Courie) a documentary on the banning of a television show because of the
belief that it promoted violence among young children is a good example of how people often use a
scapegoat to hide more important issues. In Canada and New Zealand, a popular television show called
“Power Rangers” was put off air because many people believed it promoted violence. Whether or not it did
promote violence is irrelevant to the problem. The problem was, children appeared to be more violent. The
issue is about the children, not the show they watched the day before. Taking away the show will not solve
anything. The problem concerned the behavior of children and people should have focused their attention
on that instead of using television as a scapegoat like Tucker and Bennett use rap music as a scapegoat.
In conclusion, what people need to do is to stop blaming their own problems on issues that doesn’t
concern them. Even though scapegoating is not a new issue, people should stop and think about the main
problems rather that being quick to blame problems on the small issues. Gangsta rap is not what should be
focused on, but rather the main problems behind gangsta rap. Maybe by actually understanding and
listening to the problems that cause some rappers to become so enraged, they might find solutions to
1. “Gangsta Rap” (handout) Emerge Magazine 1995
2. “Gangs in Los Angeles” Tom Brokaw, 1991
3. “Power Rangers”, Katie Courie. Today Show 1996