When the Houston Independent School District goes about cutting arts programs and shutting schools, we hope they take into account the following video.
Presumably created somewhere in Houston's Third Ward, the video shows your average grade-school-age kids --- probably no more than six or seven years old --- practicing the art of freestyle rapping in a profanity-laced display of wordplay.
Freestyling, off-the-dome rhyming, as they call it, is one of the first things you must master as a rapper. We wouldn't know from experience, since we don't rap, but from the looks of this video that recently hit YouTube, thanks to progenitor of violent and shocking "hood" videos WorldStarHipHop, we have a good idea.
Winsto, the kid on the intro, who spells out his name, does have a heartfelt moment here: "This is for the mothers all over the world, trying to make a living just trying to live right. Trying to feed their children just one more night. Trying to make a living in this ghetto life."
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But then he messes it all up with his following line: "I'm a beast in the streets, I'll blow your head off."
Of course, the second young man does make a cute little reference to a frowny face, but when he talks about violating someone's girlfriend in front of his face, the shock meter moves a bunch to the right.
Now, is this illegal? Because if it is, whoever is teaching these kids their lyrics should be arrested; those rhymes shouldn't be applauded (except for the sweet verse about momma). But in some respects, maybe this is a good visual to bring home the point about how arts education, and just education period, is so important for city kids.
For all the special rapper "days" that the city co-signs, we'd think they could do a few workshops with these kids, teach them that rhyming about killing other kids and sexing women isn't the only way to express yourself, even if radio and the rest of the mass media think so.