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#1 Posted by Cheesebob (1249 posts) -

They had a live debate on google, it just finished, on whether hip-hop degrades society. With comments on whether it is an art form, degrading to women/black people/ people in general/ poor people etc etc. On the internet, Hip-hop 'won' by having 70% of people saying that it doesn't degrade society.

What is Giant Bomb's opinion on the matter?

#2 Posted by TheSouthernDandy (3923 posts) -

Saying Hip Hop as a whole degrades society is a bunch of crap. It's like any genre there's good hip hop and there's garbage hip hop. And good hip hop is really damn good.

#3 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2778 posts) -

All music in it's mainstream media brainwashing form is harmful and isn't genre specific. Hip hop just gets a bad rap (huhhuhh) because minorities and greed culture

#4 Posted by iAmJohn (6134 posts) -

I would like to meet that 30% of stupid old people and punch them in the junk.

#5 Posted by Little_Socrates (5711 posts) -

There's some fantastic hiphop and there's some bad hiphop and neither necessarily enhance or degrade society. I'd say that even the worst hiphop is still better than bigotry and real violence, though, so I really don't think it can hurt.

#6 Posted by Turambar (6888 posts) -

I wouldn't say it enhances or degrades society more than most other forms of music.

#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -
#8 Posted by Cheesebob (1249 posts) -

@Turambar: You say that, but playing devil's advocate, there is a very small portion of say Rock music that is misogynistic and glorifies violence. Whilst some of the music than people define as classic, such as Dr. Dre's The Chronic, is exactly that.

#9 Edited by Harkat (1119 posts) -

Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks. Whatever, most Hip Hop is a fucking cartoon and if you're deriving your honest worldview from it, you're an idiot. No need to worry. Anyone with a modicum of maturity and good upbringing can indulge him or herself while keeping reality separate.

#10 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2030 posts) -

Yeah, there is absolutely nothing wrong hip hop. Implying that degrades certain members of society is a poor generalization, as I would guarantee you that there are other pieces of art, music, and literature with much worse messages about society. When such things happen, it isn't an issue with the form of art, literature, or music but the actual artist/author. Saying hip hop degrades society because of some songs' misogynistic messages is like saying literature degrades society because 50 Shades of Grey examined female submission. You can't judge all of literature because of 50 Shades of Grey; you can't judge hip hop over a handful of songs.

#11 Posted by CookieMonster (2448 posts) -

People should read Decoded by Jay Z. Really spells out how big of a cultural movement Hip Hop is/was.

#12 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4284 posts) -
@Cheesebob said:

@Turambar: You say that, but playing devil's advocate, there is a very small portion of say Rock music that is misogynistic and glorifies violence. Whilst some of the music than people define as classic, such as Dr. Dre's The Chronic, is exactly that.

You said some.  Isnt that also a small portion of the music?  
#13 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

I only got into Hip Hop a few months ago when a friend put Nas' NY State of Mind on his car stereo. I was hooked. Prior to that I didn't like Hip Hop. 
 
My views? Yes, I've been saying the N word alot while singing along with Nas/Biggie/2Pac, and it's nothing but a big thug circle jerk, beef, repeatedly referring to women as bitches and hoes, and the impression that black people kill each other all the time.  
So while I'm enjoying the lyrics and flow, I think this shit isn't doing an artistic favor to society.

#14 Posted by Cheesebob (1249 posts) -

You gotta agree though, there are a hell of a lot of young men (predominatly) who believe it is totally ok to call women bitches because it is so prevalent in mainstream hip-hop.

#15 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Anything taken out of context can sound like it degrades society.

#16 Posted by believer258 (12180 posts) -

@TheSouthernDandy said:

Saying Hip Hop as a whole degrades society is a bunch of crap. It's like any genre there's good hip hop and there's garbage hip hop. And good hip hop is really damn good.

That and

@Lunar_Aura said:

All music in it's mainstream media brainwashing form is harmful and isn't genre specific. Hip hop just gets a bad rap (huhhuhh) because minorities and greed culture

that.

Hip hop in general isn't any worse than jazz or metal in general; certain songs and bands are degrading, certainly, but to say that it is degrading as a whole is fucking ignorant. I don't like the genre much at all and even I believe that it has a lot of merit.

#17 Posted by NTM (7540 posts) -

Well, aside from me not liking or even listening to hip-hop, I couldn't care less. I don't know. I'll just say yes so they can get rid of it. Just kidding.

#18 Posted by Cheesebob (1249 posts) -

@the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG: Fair point.

#19 Posted by MeierTheRed (4941 posts) -

I'm not a fan, or really i don't give two shits about hip hop. But, there are a ton of things that doesn't enhance society. Like other genres of music, many movies, tv shows, reality tv, some books, YouTube comment sections.

So having a talk about enhancing society, i think hip hop is the least of its worries.

#20 Posted by BoG (5192 posts) -

@TheSouthernDandy said:

Saying Hip Hop as a whole degrades society is a bunch of crap. It's like any genre there's good hip hop and there's garbage hip hop. And good hip hop is really damn good.

Yup. Degradation of women, explicit sexual lyrics, and other crap are not necessary attributes of the genre. Just because the majority of mainstream hip hop is awful and unisnpired doesn't mean all of it is. There are plenty of great hip hop songs that discuss contemporary issues, especially urban issues. Kanye West has some gems, as does Tupac. On the other hand, I don't think I've ever heard a Lil' Wayne song that really made me think (about stuff that isn't filthy).

#21 Posted by DeF (4975 posts) -

@TheSouthernDandy said:

Saying Hip Hop as a whole degrades society is a bunch of crap. It's like any genre there's good hip hop and there's garbage hip hop. And good hip hop is really damn good.

Agreed.

Add to that the fact that Hip Hop isn't just music and the people making that claim look like big fools.

#22 Posted by Danteveli (1203 posts) -

Hip Hop enchanced society in some way like every other thing does but its just a culture around music that got mainstream. There are tracks with messages positive and stuff talking about drugs and butt sex. Who gives a f? The most interesting part would be its effect on societies around the world like Japan and China.

#23 Edited by ManU_Fan10ne (662 posts) -

there is nothing wrong with it, but most of the mainstream music has given the genre a bad image with the more conservative crowd. the fact that most songs talk about getting high, drunk, and having as much sex as you can is not helping either. it also could be argued that the way women are shown (in a lot of music videos, they are scantily clad, and usually doing obscene gestures) is degrading to their status in society, and is making women look like an object of sex instead of a person.

@Harkat said:

Anyone with a modicum of maturity and good upbringing can indulge him or herself while keeping reality separate.

the problem is that a lot of people listening to hip hop are younger kids (11-13) and they don't exactly have the "maturity" needed to listen to lyrics which promotes drugs, sex, and alcohol. i don't know whether you can blame the music/media industry for all the problems that are happening to society (increased birth rate, more drug use, etc), but the fact that it promotes sex, drugs, and alcohol is not helping either.

but, it could also be argued that hip hop does enhance society by giving people another medium to express their artistic talent, and also, possibly create another outlet to safely express ones anger(?).

i think im just going to stand neutral on this, but i think im leaning towards the idea that some of hip hop is degrading towards society. i don't think the argument that it enhances society is really strong, so basically, i believe that the only two options is that hip hop doesn't do anything (its basically harmless) or it is destructive (degrading).

#24 Posted by Jrinswand (1711 posts) -

My opinion is that you can't just lump all of hip hop under one large umbrella term.

#25 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

i think it's a narrow minded point and argument just to single out hip-hop music. Every type of music can be harmful or helpful in its message. Also to speak for hip-hop on its own, sure there are people rapping about money and fame but there are also people rapping about overcoming struggle and being a voice for a people, a place, or a time that was overshadowed or ignored.

#26 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

No, Hip-Hop music doesn't degrade society. In fact, I think that the degradation of society is caused by many factors; trying to place the blame on one specific factor fixes nothing. However, I do believe that many rappers are so inconsistent with their views of the world around them. Some rappers make music about their struggles of their neighborhood, praying for change to come, yet they still condone selling drugs in that same neighborhood. Another example would be rapper Plies making songs rife with anger towards white people, then he makes a song dedicated to Trayvon Martin about ending racism in America.

The song is terrible and extremely cheesy, but the point I'm trying to make is many of the rappers that people look up to are shitty people. We're at the point where any black person who doesn't act hood/ghetto is instantly labeled an Oreo. It's a disheartening to be ridiculed because you value education over silly things like rims, and shit.

#27 Posted by EXTomar (4940 posts) -

This is kind of like saying "Cheddar Cheese doesn't enhance society, it degrades it". Just because something isn't "high culture" doesn't mean it is bad.

#28 Edited by Pr1mus (3946 posts) -

We all know that Metal is ruining society. Hip hop is for criminals but that's no big deal. On the other hand Metal is the devil's music and that shit's serious.

That's sarcasm btw. I'm sure most people got it but you never know around these parts.

#29 Posted by EuanDewar (5098 posts) -
#30 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8605 posts) -

I wonder, why can't they ever have discussions on tv/etc with people who actually know what the fuck they're on about?
 
Shit like that is degrading society.

#31 Posted by Veektarius (5012 posts) -

The music is an offshoot of a culture. I don't think that the music degrades mainstream society, because mainstream people see it as a fantasy. Urban culture, though, where for some people it's more true than we'd like to admit? Well, it didn't create the problem, but I wouldn't be surprised if it helps to perpetuate it.

#32 Posted by CheapPoison (742 posts) -

I say there is good quality hip-hop that one could even consider art.

But there is a huge slew of pretty had commercial drab. All these texts about being rich, and big booties and bling. That adds nothing.

So there are some that put that culture is a terrible terrible light i think but i wouldn't say it degrades society. Screws up the radio landscape maybe.

#33 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -

Man, I wonder how they had this debate about Rock n Roll back in the 1950s....without the internet and all....

#34 Posted by wewantsthering (1593 posts) -

70% of the people who voted listen to hip-hop and 30% don't.

#35 Posted by Tesla (1944 posts) -

The fact that this question is even being debated shows how little rap is understood. First of all, hip hop is not a type of music, but rather a subculture consisting of four elements. One of these is rap. Call it rap, not hip hop. That's ok though, common mistake.

The real problem with this is how easy it is for people to just lump all rappers together, and assume that they all have the same messages in their music. It's like the losers who were all up in arms over rock and roll back in the day. Only this is way more dangerous and offensive because black people.

#36 Posted by Arker101 (1472 posts) -

I think every genre of music has its ups and downs. Most of the more popular Hip-hop I hear just doesn't suit me, but I do hear one I occasionally do like. I don't think Hip-hop by itself is degrading society, but in my experience, every time I hear loud Hip-hop, it's in the epicenter of a "Gangster" ride and the person driving had a "Gangster" look. I've had this occur to me three times in the past two days.

I could say the exact same thing about dubstep. I can't stand Skrillex and most of the brostep, but there are some great remixes and UK made stuff out there. I haven't heard any dubstep that discusses bitches, hoes, and murder, though.

#37 Posted by cmblasko (1343 posts) -

Based on my limited exposure to the hip hop culture, it would be difficult for me to accept the notion that it couldn't do some degree of damage to society. I realize this extremely generalized statement can also be applied towards cultures surrounding other genres of music, however they are not as affluent as hip hop is at the moment so I don't believe that is the case.

#38 Edited by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4284 posts) -

The new Lupe song is a pretty good example of how rap isnt negative.  He does something real different.  He sounds like a typical "mainstream" rapper and the beat has a mainstream sound to it but it has a message that anyone could understand.  Shit like this shows how great some of this music can be. 
  

#39 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3243 posts) -

@CookieMonster said:

People should read Decoded by Jay Z. Really spells out how big of a cultural movement Hip Hop is/was.

People should read it anyway, it's a great book.

#40 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@Vinny_Says said:

Man, I wonder how they had this debate about Rock n Roll back in the 1950s....without the internet and all....

That's a great point which makes it madding when people try to paint one style of music hurting society. How many rock songs deal with drug use and death does that make rock bad not at all.

Also what about great hip-hop that have great messages such as Naz - I Can.

#41 Posted by Dexter_Morgan_ (314 posts) -

I would say Hip Hop in general does degrade society... in general. Not every single rapper or hip popper is dick head though.

Immortal Technique holla!

#42 Edited by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

www.worldstarhiphop.com tells me yes.

#43 Posted by kumquat (128 posts) -

Anybody who can say that about hip hop as a whole is too ignorant to be involved in a discussion about hip hop.

#44 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@Dexter_Morgan_ said:

I would say Hip Hop in general does degrade society... in general. Not every single rapper or hip popper is dick head though.

Immortal Technique holla!

I would love for you to enlighten me as what do you mean in general and would you claim other type of music degrades society.

#45 Posted by gamefreak9 (2417 posts) -

I dno if it does or not but i've never met someone who prefers hip hop over other music who isn't a dumbass. Though it doesn't imply causality. Dumbasses could just be attracted to it, in which case Hip Hop is just a product that matches a specific demand...

#46 Posted by Samael2138 (233 posts) -

Like all genres of music, games, movies, tv, literature, etc., there are good and bad examples. Its art. Everyone has their own interpretation. Everyone observes artistic expression differently. But, on the other hand, certain "artist" don't care at all about expressing emotion through the medium of music, film, literature, etc... All they care about is money and fame. And that is where, particularly in modern Hip Hop/Rap, you see a marked incline of violent and sexist lyrics and themes.

Because sex and violence sells.

Generalizing any type of art together as a whole and judging them is the same as doing it to people. Saying that Hip-Hop as a whole degrades society, is like saying that a certain ethnicity degrades society.

Compare Mos Def and Lil' Wayne. Mos Def has written some incredibly deep raps about oppression, subjugation, and multiple other modern woes. Just by bringing these issues to light, one could argue that he has improved society. And although he has had a good bit of success, he has never even come marginally close to the astronomical sales figures of Lil' Wayne.

What does Lil' Wayne rap about? "Cash Money Millionaires", and "Hoes". But, who wants to hear something that brings up pertinent issues when you can listen to mindless drivel that everyone else likes? This is the man who declared himself "The Best Rapper in the World", based solely off of record sales. That's laughable. I can think of 5 guys from Cleveland that could rap circles around him. He's also responsible for Nicki Minaj.......so yeah. Enough said

The fact is he sells. Multi-Platinum in weeks. So, record labels promote him, radio stations play him, and Vevo puts his picture next to every video on YouTube. If the music industry as a whole wasn't so obsessed with the bottom line, and making sure they never saw red ink, maybe they would be more inclined to take a risk.

Its marketing. Plain and simple. If the industry promoted more positive and/or meaningful artist as much as their cash cows, more people would listen to them.

You can't blame the genre. If you have to blame someone, blame the Industry.

#47 Posted by InfamousNose (16 posts) -

The problem is that most of the new stuff is crap. I can't stand all of these rappers being crybabies. Whatever happened to wilding out and being violent?

#48 Posted by phantomzxro (1583 posts) -

@gamefreak9 said:

I dno if it does or not but i've never met someone who prefers hip hop over other music who isn't a dumbass. Though it doesn't imply causality. Dumbasses could just be attracted to it, in which case Hip Hop is just a product that matches a specific demand...

Really? I find that hard to believe unless you are around a very select crowd of people. Also i don't think it fair to call people dumbasses so causally when you judging from a wide simple of people solely based on the music they like.

#49 Posted by Tokoname (28 posts) -

@BraveToaster said:

No, Hip-Hop music doesn't degrade society. In fact, I think that the degradation of society is caused by many factors; trying to place the blame on one specific factor fixes nothing. However, I do believe that many rappers are so inconsistent with their views of the world around them. Some rappers make music about their struggles of their neighborhood, praying for change to come, yet they still condone selling drugs in that same neighborhood. Another example would be rapper Plies making songs rife with anger towards white people, then he makes a song dedicated to Trayvon Martin about ending racism in America.

The song is terrible and extremely cheesy, but the point I'm trying to make is many of the rappers that people look up to are shitty people. We're at the point where any black person who doesn't act hood/ghetto is instantly labeled an Oreo. It's a disheartening to be ridiculed because you value education over silly things like rims, and shit.

Really well put. That inconsistency is something that has annoyed me for a long time.

#50 Posted by shenstra (166 posts) -

Talking about all of hip hop this way is a generalization, but as far as generalizations go, it's a pretty reasonable one.

In most genres of music, you actually have to look pretty hard to find some songs that could reasonably be considered offensive, whereas the majority of modern hip hop seems to be rather offensive. Straight Outta Compton is one of the great tragedies of modern art. (I'm only being slightly ironic here.) It was a great album, musically sound, well produced and, arguably, culturally and socially relevant. Yet it inspired generations of talentless hacks to be as sexist, as racist and generally offensive as possible to sell otherwise uninspired records. The fact that the genre has seemingly become more and more successful as it has become more and more offensive also says something about society as a whole.

I suppose you could easily argue that hip hop doesn't and hasn't degraded society, but that excessively offensive hip hop is a product of a degraded society. It's the same argument we all like to use when it comes to video game violence: that violent video games don't make us more violent, but that an existent interest in, or fascination with, violence, leads to the creation and popularity of violent video games. Either way, it's a damned shame that so many people, especially young kids who don't know any better, glorify this culture of misogyny, racism, violence and general amorality. It's corny as fuck, but the world would be a better place if people were just a tad more caring and considerate.