Rappers and Rap Sheets: The negative impact of shock culture


by Andrew Lyons, Reporter

From 2017-present, “mumble” rap has become extremely popular, with Lil’ Pump as the mascot of this subgenre. Lil’ Pump, who frequently uses a new-age drug commonly called “Lean,” celebrates breaking the law in social media, his videos, and his lyrics.

This is a problem because mumble rap artists show off, and generally advertise, violence, sex, and drugs in their lyrics, music videos, and social media.

This method of advertisement is used by rappers in America to appeal to younger audiences. Lean’s stark purple color and rappers’ brightly colored hair, clothes, and other accessories utilize vivid colors to attract people’s attention.  When will listeners turn away from this kind of shock advertising?

Childish Gambino’s “Feels like Summer” music video was released in September 2018 which highlighted big names in rap, old and new. The rappers all causally interacting with one another to amuse the viewer, yet the true meaning lies in what the viewer is not paying attention to, the lyrics. Behind the video and the beat, the lyrics pertain to the global catastrophe that is global warming.

The whole music video is a metaphor for how we are distracted by petty drama in our culture. We’d rather click on the newest colorful-looking inappropriate rapper’s music video than an article on the dangers of environmental pollution. I’m guilty of this, too.  It’s something as a culture, a nation, as members of humankind we must fix.

Tekashi 6ix9ine is likely the most controversial artist of this generation, he has been charged with crime, and he is scheduled to be imprisoned October 2018.  If he is a criminal, why is he at the height of his popularity, with 26,394,807 monthly listeners on Spotify, 13.2 million followers on Instagram, and 494,853 followers on Soundcloud. His songs and instagram posts aren’t family friendly, so his digital footprint definitely has an impact on some of his more avid listeners. 

On the other side of the spectrum, J. Cole, a popular “old generation” rapper, released his fifth album earlier this year entitled “KOD” which gave advice to new age rappers, especially directing his constructive criticism towards Lil’ Pump. he asks a rhetorical question in the song, “But have you ever thought about your impact?” referring to the new-age rappers’ impact on their audience.

If you are consuming rap music as music, a beat, a remedy to outside noise, then it’s fine to listen. The line must be drawn, however, when artists’ actions affect your actions, when the rapper’s personality becomes yours. Think about how you’re letting the music you are listening to affect you.