Consider the meaning behind your lyrics

Alana George, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

I have music interests across the spectrum. As I write this, I am listening to a Celtic Relax playlist (look it up on Spotify). I think Michael Bublé has the voice of an angel and I listen to him when I’m stressed. I saw the second “Mamma Mia” movie over the summer and I love ABBA’s entire discography now. I just saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” over Thanksgiving, so Queen has been on repeat. I know the entire Disney Hits playlist (Spotify again) by heart, and I know all 46 songs of the Hamilton soundtrack. I love supporting singer-songwriters (shameless plug for Liz Longley, a personal friend of mine). Also, my mom exposed me to Bon Jovi, ACDC and Poison at a young age, so I love 80s hair bands too. All in all, I consider myself a very open-eared music consumer. If something has a great sound or a great message (or both) I will listen to it, no matter what genre it is from.

But recently, in the mainstream culture of my generation, I have noticed one genre of music taking over the industry entirely: rap. Look at the big names on the radio: Drake, Kanye West, Cardi B, DJ Khaled, Chance the Rapper and Migos are all rap artists. I have countless friends who pride themselves on knowing all of the words to rap songs, and other friends who only ever seem to talk about how awesome these artists are. Young men idolize the members of Migos for their fancy cars and cash, and young women envy Cardi B for the same reasons, as well as for her body (which men are also attracted to). I do appreciate some rap music. As I said, I love Hamilton, and that show is primarily rap. I love the feeling of intense satisfaction I get when I rap “My Shot” perfectly. I just don’t like rap music that has misogynistic, drunken, sexual, or violent lyrics, and I am hearing much more of it lately than I want to.

I understand that this can happen across any genre of music, but I have just noticed it especially in the current immensely popular rap music. This scares me, because as a generation, we are becoming so desensitized to the lyrics we are hearing. Anything with a catchy beat can become a hit these days, even lyrics that are just disgusting (“Get Low” by Lil Jon, for example). Worse than the gross stuff having to do with various body parts are lyrics degrading women in any way, calling us dogs or portraying us as objects in no uncertain terms. And the vast majority of these artists have mouths I pray they do not kiss their mothers with.

This is why I, as a woman with a normal amount of dignity, feel violated when I listen to music like this. It does not have a good message at all, and it’s mostly just talking really fast to a beat anyway. And yet a lot of the young men and women around me cannot get enough of it. As a Christian, I read in Scripture that the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. If your mind and heart are full of garbage, all that comes out of your mouth will be meaningless garbage. This makes sense whether you use the Scripture to back it up or not. My generation is filling its collective mind and heart with these rap artists, their music and their personal lives, and we are becoming more predatory, profane, and violent because of it. I listen to music twice my age because my soul needs relief from the current market drowning in rap.

Stop and listen to the lyrics of your favorite song the next time you hear it (or look them up). You might have been too intoxicated by the beat to realize what words have been in your head all this time. And maybe try listening to something outside of your comfort zone for a few days. You’ll be well-rounded as a music consumer for it and you might discover something truly beautiful that fills your soul.

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