Hi. My name is Shane George and I am currently recovering from a very abusive relationship. I was never hurt physically but I have definitely been through a large amount of emotional abuse. I have been told that I am loser among an innumerable amount of other insulting names. I have been told that my girlfriend will be stolen and she will do unspeakable things to my enemy and all of his friends. Even my life has been threatened. Furthermore, my death has been described to me in hundreds of different ways, each of them very twisted in how violently descriptive they are. Who is the guilty party of this relationship? It’s hip hop and, in order for me to recover, I have had to understand, to the core, why listeners much like me put up with such verbal abuse from rappers rhythmically speaking to us through our headphones.
“Greatness I was never in the presence of,
Cause you was fake and never measured up.
You just a nigga on his regular,
But how far am I ahead of ya?”
– Black Thought in “Stomp”
Rappers use very aggressive lyrics and often present their raps by using the pronoun, “you”, as if they are talking directly to their listeners. However, fans of hip hop seldom take the constant barrage of insults to heart because of two main reasons. The first one being that at its core, hip hop is as much of a competitive sport as it is an art form. Much of its foundation was built on battle rap so the habit of putting your opponent down is deeply ingrained in the genre. We listen to raps almost as an audience as if we are viewing any other competitive event. Some of us like to think that rappers are just eternally in a freestyle rap battle, but their opponent is everyone else in the rap game.
“Your bitch texted me, wants it now, so I had to knock her down.
Hurt her bouncing on my balls, slinging dick up from the mouth.
You let it slide, I hit home runs, clean her dugout till I’m done,
I can be her number two and you can be her number one.”
– Schoolboy Q in “Michael Jordan”
The second reason many of us do not take rappers’ abuse to heart is one that is completely separate than the first reason presented. It is different because some fans of hip hop like to think of raps as battle raps but many others, including myself, listen to a rap verse and imagine ourselves as the actual rapper spitting the verse. Instead of taking it in as the rapper speaking directly to the listener, some listeners listen to the verse and imagine that they themselves are the ones with the mic in their hands as they viciously spit a lyrical verse or masterfully flow through the instrumental’s beats and rhythms. This, in turn, negates any negative feelings from rappers’ constant barrage of malicious lyrics. However, the idea of a listener experiencing a rap verse in the point of view as their own can also be a very dangerous concept. Due to the often negative content of some rap, it is very possible that fans that are young and/or naive can possibly take the lyrics of a verse too seriously and subconsciously start incorporating these ideologies into their own lives.
“You can be the last thing these maggots taste,
Tie your feet and hands with tape.
Dead rats stuffed up in your mouth;
Lock you in the casket now you can’t escape.
Homie, you a bitch throw you in the ditch,
Smother you with dirt, with the worms, now you don’t exist.”
– Ill Bill in “Offensive Lines”
So there you go, if any of you out there are like me I hope this helped. I can now say that I have fully recovered from my abusive relationship with hip hop and we can now live harmoniously in a state that is truly altruistic. I hope that all of you and your friends do not continue to take insults from rappers personally and, even more importantly, do not become directly influenced by some of the lyrics that rappers present. Blast it at full volume as you bob your head till it warrants a permanent spinal injury, but, for the love of God, live your life as you have always intended and make sure you are always thinking for yourself.