Hip Hop Lyrics: Inherently Destructive or a Necessary Outlet?

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From her 1999 collection of essays entitled When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost...My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist, music writer Joan Morgan explores the notion that while many people condemn the destructive lyrics commonly associated with hip-hop as excessively vulgar displays of masculinity, these musical messages may actually serve as outlets for young African American men to express their pain and depression. Morgan continues in her essay by outlining suggested responses for her audience of young black women to not only discourage this destructive behavior within their male counterparts, but also protect themselves from being victimized by these troubled men. Therefore, as a result of her clear establishment of authority, strategic …show more content…
9). While Morgan does declare her cultural connection to this brand of music within this statement, she is also able to partially distance herself from these tormented African American hip-hop artists in order to establish her objectivity over this issue. Because she shows both her association and distance with this issue, Morgan is able to simultaneously establish her authority and impartiality to the argument, which subsequently augments the reliability of the essay. Furthermore, through strategic employment of the rhetorical device exemplum, Morgan enriches her argument by providing specific illustrative examples of despondent hip-hop lyrics. In particular, from the album Ready to Die by Notorious B.I.G., Morgan cites the woeful chorus of the song "Everyday Struggle", which sings, "I don't wanna live no more / Sometimes I see death knockin' at my front door" (Morgan, para. 13). The author then analyzes these and other lyrics which describe the life of an young inner-city black male, saying, "We boarded with the story of his birth, strategically stopped to view his dysfunctional, warring family, his first robbery, his first stint in jail, murder, drug-dealing, getting paid, partying, sexin', rap-pin', mayhem, and death. Biggie's player persona might have momentarily convinced the listener that he

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