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Music and Culture - Straight Outta Compton

            Within the past decade there has been a surfacing of provocative music in American pop culture. Hip-hop music is an overriding force in the music industry and now more than ever has lyrics that contain violence such as rape, murder, and drug and gun usage. (Toop and Fulton) Listeners, especially the teenage audience, have boosted some of the most violent lyrical records to the top of the Billboard Charts. Albums such as The Slim Shady LP, where rapper Eminem speaks of killing his wife and drowning her in a lake, stayed at the number one spot for multiple weeks.(Toop and Fulton) Does the violence in music affect young minds to act more aggressively or is it the environment the teenager is surrounded by? This weekend I watched the movie Straight Outta Compton, a biographical movie telling the story of a popular music group called N.W.A. The movie was very entertaining and it was very interesting to see how different things were about 30 years ago and also to understand how the music I listened to growing up even came to be. The rappers featured in the film were African American teenagers living in Compton, CA before they found fame. They all seemed to find comfort in music, disregarding the problems of their communities by listening to or making music. A part of the film actually shows the trouble that arose after a very controversial song was produced by the group after they became more well known; a song called "F*ck The Police".
             Clearly, the lyrics of the song only get more aggressive than the title already is. and by aggressive, I mean real. The song brings up crucial social problems such as discrimination and police brutality through verses like "a young nigga got it bad cause I'm brown", "police think they have the authority to kill a minority" and "they're scared of a nigga so they mace me to blind me". ( Goldstein) In the film, the police retaliate by threatening to arrest them if they perform that song in their cities and even the FBI tells them that they are "insulting" the law enforcement department, when they were actually just telling the truth.

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