Screwston, Texas

What Community Responsibilities Do Rappers Have?

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Kyle Hubbard: I think an artist should be mindful of how his musical output affects the community, but [it] is in no way his responsibility. I think it's safe to assume most artists starting making music as a means to express themselves, and not really to help the tides of change in their community.

One could argue that once they have the ears of the people that they should use that power for the good, but then again I, have never seen the public strongly get behind someone who had overtly positive material. People like to point fingers at rappers and scapegoat the whole genre as the source of the world's ills, but I have yet to see the audience get so strongly behind a Christian rapper that he is ever able to break into the mainstream, or out of the "Christian Rap" genre, for that matter.

Delo: I feel movies/music/television all fit in the same category. Actors never get confronted about movies they make, and they give visuals of violence that can explain or give ideas to do wrong. I never heard a rap song that teaches you how to load a gun, but you can YouTube "how to make a pipe bomb." Music is an expression. I can't blame a song for any act of violence. And anyone who does is reaching.

John Dew: If a rapper has any aspirations to move anywhere past his/her current platform, or in other words if they are enterprising, they must monitor their usage of the freedom of speech. That is where the fine line comes into play, because for all those who are not in that classification are grouped into doing it for the music.

The issue with doing it for the music is complex. You have those that do choose to truly express themselves and would die behind the things they say because it is their true belief. Then there are those [that] will do it as a means of entertainment and narcissistic qualities of it, which inevitably creates a lack of skill in which the art of it is lost and it becomes only a fraction of what it should have become.

Most artists that are on top of the game you will notice have some sort of musical training or at least had some. It is an obligation not to the people but more to yourself, as a rapper, for what you stand for. If your standard of living has a certain perception on it, that is what your music becomes (Art Imitating Life).

However, the issue in today's hip-hop game is, When did life start imitating art? Rap was never intended to be what it is today, but neither were cellular phones. So as the game evolves, so do the rules.

Lil Flip: I can't speak for others, but the way I was raised, I was taught you never steer the youth wrong. But me, a father, I speak grown-man shit. Some artists make music to vent, some make it because they love it, and some make it just to make cash. On all my albums, I speak on real-life situations.

Also, I'll do two club or flossing songs, but at the end of the day, don't nobody care about how much your watch cost.

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Shea Serrano