Can Negative Music Bring A Positive Change?
Listen To The Related Podcast Episode Here: Rebelations Podcast Ep. 16: Can Negative Music Bring A Positive Change?
How did the discussion concerning music and its impact on our thoughts arrive at the point where it is now? Its impact on young people’s minds? Depending on where you are on the earth, we witness a lot more of what is in today’s popular music being portrayed or copied in our communities, to a small or major degree. We can find a solution, but doing so would necessitate a significant change in current entertainment culture.
Ice-T- On July 28, 1987, Ice-T’s debut studio album “Rhyme Pays” was released, becoming the first rap album/cd ever to have a red “Explicit Lyrics, Parental Advisory” warning sticker.
The album consisted of one of rap’s first ever gangsta rap songs, 6 ‘N the Mornin’, the first single to put Ice-T on the map. The album peaked at No. 93 on the U.S. Billboard 200, making Ice-T one of the pioneers of gangsta rap. But let the record be known, Ice-T had the first ever explicit lyrics sticker on a rap album, and it was red. 2 Live Crew’s 1990 album “Banned in the USA” was the first album to carry the Parental Advisory label in its black and white form but Ice-T’s album “Rhyme Pays” was the first rap album to carry a Parental Advisory label.
Imagine that we live in a world where an explicit content sticker is celebrated. People fought for their right to have freedom of speech, just to use their voice to glorify gangsterism.
Westcoast Rappers: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Xzibit, WC, Mack 10, 2pac, Outlawz, Chicano rappers, including Mr. Sancho, Conejo, Mr. Capone-E and many more are important factors in amplifying and glorifying gang culture. NWA initially arose as a voice to try and address police violence in their neighbourhood. However, when the record companies realized they could cash in on the movement, they waved some cash in their faces and made music about killing individuals that resembled them instead.
After doing some study on these men, I can’t help but think that Jerry Heller and Jimmy Iovine may have played a significant role in the state of urban music and the style of hip-hop that is currently being promoted. The NWA set the standard for the glorification of the murder music that currently dominates Hip Hop culture. Nowadays, it consists of drill and trap music.
Reggaeton And Latin Trap: Because I am an avid fan of reggaeton, this subject is particularly important for me. I won’t lie; when I was a teenager and spending my free time doing stupid things, my so-called buddies and I would listen to particular reggaeton songs to sort of hype us up to go and do stupid things on the streets. Songs like Sacala- Don Omar, Hecotr El Father and Wisin Y Yandel, Vamo A Matarno (Remix)-Don Omar, Punto 40-Baby Rasta Y Gringo, Un Sabado Gansta- Lito Y Polaco, Jenga Jenga-Lito Y Polaco. Now we have songs like Jala gatillo-De La Ghetto, Pistolon Yaga Y Mackie, 7D-Noriel and so many more.
Whatever anyone says, the songs about adultery, seizing women violently as a sort of dancing, and other utterly disgusting lyrics were written by people who are still living today. Have you ever questioned the happiness of these legendary musicians decades after they produced the music?
Let’s take a look at one of the original “nasty lyric” reggaeton artists who is also a pioneer of the genre. I’m talking about Georgie of the duo Guanabanas. I confess that I’ve continued to adore the duo’s tunes even now. When I was a teenager, listening to this band’s music at home frequently got me into trouble. Sorry, mom. Hector “El Father” Delgado, a former reggaeton legend who is also a pastor, sat down for an interview with Georgie.
He goes into great depth about how his family was truly being destroyed by the music he was producing.He was constantly using Percocet and other narcotics, and it was advocating a self-destructive lifestyle. He is a father of two kids and soon understood that the persona he was presenting to his admirers was also ruining his personal life. The entire interview is available here if you speak Spanish. Youtube: Hector Delgado destapa los sucesos que llevaron a Georgie de las Guanabanas a casi morir.
According to Noticel.com , in the first 2 months of 2022, there were over 107 homicides in Puerto Rico which is an island with a population of 3.264 million people. To give you some perspective, Toronto has just under 3 million people in it and in 2022 had 70 homicides. The reason why I gave so many statistics about Puerto Rico is that it is the capital of Reggaeton and Latin Trap. Something needs to change in regard to the lack of action from the island’s public figures who are promoting the violence that’s happening in their nation.
It’s also happening in the Dominican Republic and across all of Latin America. Anuel AA, Bryant Myers, Tali Goya, and so many others have to start paying attention to the content they’re putting out. I do think that the lyrics in reggaeton are problematic at times.
But that’s when maturity comes into play. We need to be conscious of the fact that a lot of this music is made for adults. Some music is meant to set a particular mood and vibe, and reggaeton is almost always about extreme sensuality or sometimes “malianteo.” And that’s ok. There’s a time and place for everything. We need to be more conscious of what we are allowing the next generation of children to absorb through the repetition of lyrics and frequencies via music.
Dancehall: Skillibeng Ft Nardo Wick-16CHOPPAis a new song by the dancehall performer from Jamaica. I am tired of listening to music that is meant to be a dance song but instead is about people getting murdered. This may be due to my age, level of maturity, or something else. I don’t want to hear music about killing someone there.
I came across a few articles about this very topic. I found some interesting information.
Vybz Kartel despite the fact that he is serving a life term in jail for murder, his supporters continue to support him. According to a survey that was done, 41% of respondents think dancehall music has a significant impact on criminal behaviour. The reality is that crime existed before dancehall. It’s also fair to mention that Reverend Peter Garth, pastor of Hope Gospel Assembly, said, “music can be a turbo-charged motivator, emboldening listeners to transform metaphor into reality.” Once again, for perspective, Jamaica had 1,498 murders in 2022 on an island of 2.98 million.
I completely concur with the reverend because I experienced the 50 Cent period. In my neighbourhood, a street gang followed every word 50 Cent rapped about. Through their behaviours, they demonstrated their conviction that the only way to live in this world was to have a cold heart. That is not at all the case. That’s not how we are to live. Media personalities like Charlamagne Tha God and a great number of other people have said that “they don’t think that music has any influence on what happens in the streets. The artists are simply rapping about what they have lived.” A lot of their lyrics are in the present tense.
If you learn anything from this post, it is to quit admiring and relying on celebs for guidance and people to admire, and the media as a reliable source of what’s happening on the streets. You need to see what’s on your local media. Get involved in your communities. Do your part to volunteer your time to help people who are seeking some community connection as well.
NBA YOUNGBOY- To close off this newsletter entry, I want to let you know about something I’ve noticed. I just occasionally listen to a couple or three of NBA Youngboy’s songs. You may see from his past behaviour that he hasn’t been a role model for good citizenship or someone you want your daughter to date. He has ten kids in total, including the child he had with Iyanna Mayweather, Floyd Mayweather’s daughter. Darkness has always been a part of Youngboy’s music, as far back as I can recall. Although I believe he frequently sounds overly medicated in his songs, I’m not claiming he creates subpar music. Simply said, at this moment in my life, it’s not what I want to nourish my soul with.
In an interview with Billboard, Youngboy said: “I’m at a point now in my life where I just know hurting people is not the way, and I feel very manipulated, even at this moment,” he says. “I think about how many lives I actually am responsible for when it comes to my music … How many people have put this sh** in their ears and actually went and hurt someone?”
96 of his songs are listed in the Billboard Top 100. Hence, he is a renowned artist in the field. But while he’s been in Salt Lake City, Utah, something has happened. He appears to be converting to the Mormon faith. The Mormon missionaries had been coming to his house, he claimed to Billboard, and one day he gave in and invited them in so they could chat. He claimed it was pleasant to converse with those who weren’t involved in business or who didn’t bring up money. They were there, he claimed, when he simply needed a friend. When he takes off his ankle monitor, he intends to be baptised into the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Let him do whatever it takes to discover the light. This demonstrates to me once more that the music we consume is not something we should take lightly.
As a DJ, I am very aware of the seeming contradiction in my writing this piece. But as I’ve already stated, everything has its proper time and place. If you are completely aware that the majority of this music comes from a less-than-ideal location and that we should not model that behaviour in real life.Additionally, the lyrics are not a justification for immoral behaviour like cheating. At a club or event, be careful to remember not to let the combination of low-vibration music and alcohol (or sometimes drugs) cause you to behave inappropriately. You are accountable for understanding that these performers are merely acting out a character. The majority of them are unhappy. Artists who took home the top prizes in Friday night’s 2023 Grammy Awards are undoubtedly unhappy in real life. Countless of documentaries show us this.
How did songs about erasing one another from this planet switch places with Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”? How can we create strong families when the vast majority of the music that is currently in style encourages extreme sexual liberation and other immoral behaviours? I’ve seen that when writing songs about adultery or binge drinking, genres like country music, bachata, the Motown era, and others tend to do so in a more sophisticated manner. Latin music and other Caribbean songs take on a more aggressive and occasionally violent approach to adultery, how to act when attempting to get the attention of a love or lust interest, or how to resolve conflicts through violence. We have the power to change this narrative.
Are we as a nation in denial to believe that the youth aren’t attempting to imitate what they watch on television or hear in today’s music? The airing of obscene music on radio and television is about to become prohibited in the Dominican Republic and other nations, including Jamaica, which just won this case. “The ban comes after efforts by authorities in the Caribbean nation to halt high levels of gun violence. It follows, “Jamaica had the highest murder rate in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021, according to research centre Insight Crime.”
Will this significantly impact Jamaica’s murder rate? We can only hope that it does, but since we’re grounded in reality, we require workable solutions. Communities that are severely impacted by crime need opportunities.
We must constantly pause to consider why negative music is so prevalent but lyricists with positive messages, such as Rhapsody, don’t receive the same level of recognition. Numerous reggaeton musicians are recommitting their lives to Christ and stepping away from the spotlight. Why?
Latin musicians, in my opinion, have been excessively used to increase sales, and they are sick of being used as puppets and tools by the business world. They have encountered a degree of depravity and evil in the music industry that we average people have never seen and will never encounter. Just be selective about the music you listen to.
Thank you for reading this far; even if you disagree with what I have to say, I hope you were able to see things from my point of view. Perhaps as I go through life, or perhaps as I talk to more people about this, my views may change. Perhaps your perspective will shift. The unknown. Cheers.
You can find all of these songs in this week’s Woke Up A Rebel Playlist on Spotify. Follow it here.
Written By: Mario Funes
Contact info: Info@wokeuparebel.com or via Instagram DM: @Wokeuparebel
Dancehall as crime trigger | Lead Stories | Jamaica Gleaner (jamaica-gleaner.com)
Jamaica recorded 1,498 murders in 2022 | News | Jamaica Gleaner (jamaica-gleaner.com)
“Jamaica’s broadcasting regulator has banned music and TV broadcasts deemed to glorify or promote criminal activity, violence, drug use, scamming and weapons.”