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Rap Music...Does It Cause Violence?

            Music is prominent in adolescents" lives. Teenagers spend between four and five hours a day listening to music and watching music videos. They name music as their preferred non-school activity (www.mediascope.org). "It forms the background of car rides and social gatherings, and it also informs the adolescent about the adult world through the lens of artists" lives, language and role modeling" (Brown University Child and Adolescent Behavior Letter 2003). .
             No longer are rock stars the ones that young people look up to. Rather they have been replaced by young hip-hop stars and rappers who drive fast cars, wear expensive jewelry, date beautiful women, and fight amongst themselves to see who can come out on top. The lyrics in their songs are harsh. They speak of gang life, life in the ghetto, gunfights, drug use, and they often degrade women. Yet wherever one turns these songs and being played over and over again on the radio and the music videos are being show on TV. As harsh as they may be they are in fact the real lives of many of these stars. .
             Susan Buttross, MD, FAAP, chief of child development and the University of Mississippi Medical Center and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics (as cited by Kirchheimer)says that with any type of repeated media exposure a desensitization can occur that makes these behaviors seem normal. .
             Rap music started in the early 1980's and it is a musical style the came from the hip-hop culture of the streets. Mainly showing up in New York, rapping was simply the rhyming of words and lines over a beat. At first it was a competition to see who had the most creative insults to another rapper through the rhymes. This is what is known as battle rapping, and it is still very popular today. Soon however rap moved beyond the battles and showed up in the pop scene and all over television and radio (hiphopanonymous.net).
             The Sugar Hill Gang was the first rap group to have a song hit the mainstream audience.

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