Hip-Hop’s Impact on Youth: Is the Genre Going Too Far?

Hip-Hop’s Impact on Youth: Is the Genre Going Too Far?

Hip-Hop has always been a powerful force in music, but recently, there has been a growing concern about its impact on the youth. A viral video of a young boy named Lil RT rapping provocative lyrics and mentioning acts of violence has sparked a debate about whether hip-hop has gone too far. 

Has Hip-Hop Gone Too Far?

The video of Lil RT, a 9-year-old rapper from Atlanta, GA, performing his latest single, “60 Miles,” on the series From The Block has raised concerns among listeners. 

Managed by his mother and building a following on social media, Lil RT’s lyrics have alarmed many due to their provocative nature and references to gun violence and crimes. One user commented on the video, expressing:

“We have to stop encouraging this type of behavior in our community. This child has no clue what he’s talking about, he’s just trying to emulate what he’s used to hearing in rap. “12 get behind me ima do 60 mph” n*gga you ain’t even break the speed limit on the highway” Another user wrote, “The talent is undeniable but if his ppl truly cared about him/were investing in him from a genuine place they would be encouraging him to use that talent to talk about other things.”

NBA YoungBoy Reflects On His Influence

NBA Youngboy, a rapper known for his gritty and “violent” lyrics, recently shared his feelings of guilt about his influence on the younger generation, which includes Gen Z who are currently 9 to 24 years old, and Gen Alpha, which ranges from thirteen years and newborns. In an interview with Billboard, he reflected on the impact his music has on listeners and his newfound faith in Mormonism, where he stated:

“I think about how many lives I actually am responsible for when it comes to my music. How many girls I got feeling like if you don’t go about a situation that your boyfriend’s bringing on you in his way, you’re wrong? How many people have put this sh-t in their ears and actually went and hurt someone? Or how many kids felt like they needed to tote a gun and walked out the house and toted it the wrong way? Now he’s fixing to sit there and do years of his life that he can’t get back.”  

The Louisiana artist recognized the responsibility he holds and the potential harm his music may cause. This raises important questions about the role artists play in shaping the minds and actions of young listeners.

Chrisean Rock & Lil Mabu’s ‘MR. TAKE YO B*TCH’

The concerns about music’s current state extend beyond Lil RT’s specific case. Former member of Danity Kane, Aubrey O’Day, expressed her embarrassment for the new generation of music.  

The singer commented on the release of Chrisean Rock and Lil Mabus newest song, “MR. TAKE YO B*TCH ” on X, (formerly known as Twitter), which is a diss to Rock’s son’s father, Blueface. O’Day wrote:

“I’m so embarrassed for this new generation. We did not walk so this trash music could run. We need the gate keepers back.. Never thought I’d say it, but everything shouldn’t b [be] allowed to enter the sacred space of real artists who practice their craft with discipline & respect.” 

It’s also important to know that the audience that consumes both Chrisean Rock’s and Lil Mabu’s music, is mostly Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

Many fans echoed her sentiment, where one agreed, writing, “The industry did itself such a disservice when it allowed streaming and TikTok to affect the charts. Anyone with a social media following can be an artist now. It’s sad because real talent is being overlooked for trends. Smh.”

Could TikTok Also Be The Culprit?

One platform that has become a significant influence on young people, including children, is TikTok

With a minimum age requirement of 13, TikTok has become accessible for younger users who are exposed to a wide range of content, including explicit and provocative music. Artists like Sexyy Red, known for her raunchy lyrics, have gained popularity on the platform among young audiences. 

The issue of what young children are consuming is further accentuated by the role of parents in guiding their children’s media choices. 

Regarding Lil RT, one user wrote:

“Sad thing is that there’s actual talent that this child possesses, but the way it’s being cultivated is where it becomes problematic. His delivery, cadence, and how he stayed in pocket is elite for his age. There’s a silver lining in this, I just hope he locks up with someone who can harness his talent in the right way. I’m not with the narrative that this baby is a lost cause.” 

Make A Change For The Youth

To address these concerns, hip-hop must be willing to change and provide a more positive and empowering message for young listeners. Incorporating engaging music that allows young people to express their culture, beliefs, and concerns can be a transformative step. 

By granting them a voice and addressing important societal issues, hip-hop can reshape its narrative and serve as a platform for meaningful expression for the youth.

Juicy J & Wallo 267 Weigh In On Hip-Hop’s Decline

Conversations about hip-hop and its current state are not limited to Lil RT’s controversy. Rapper Juicy J recently pointed out a decline in rap sales, which was backed up by Wallo 267.

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