I have a confession to make, I love rap. I am not talking about socially-accepted, respectable hip hop like Mos Def or Nas. I'm talking about gritty, derogatory, southern rap music like 2Chainz, Rich Homie Quan, or Young Jeezy. Up until recently, however, I never really thought about why I loved this kind of music. I couldn't exactly relate to the subject matter; drug dealing, jail, weapons, gangs, and materialism, so then why on Earth was I so drawn to this particular genre?
I always assumed my love of rap could be attributed to my close connection with the south. Anyone who spends 3rd grade through high school living 30 miles east of Atlanta, was bound to pick up an appreciation for TI and Outkast along the way--but was that a good enough explanation? Lots of people share the same sentiment that I do towards hip hop and don't live anywhere near Atlanta. Take for example the "B-Stylers", Japanese teens who dress as if they are black and attend hip hop parties. Though this subculture is small compared to others in Japan, it serves as proof that proximity can't begin to explain the love that people have for rap music all over the world.
While driving home from the gym the other day I plugged in my iPhone and my gym-playlist on the Spotify app was already loaded. A song called "Type of Way" by Rich Homie Quan came on and it was at that moment that I had an epiphany--I loved rap because of the way it makes me feel; empowered, optimistic, and confident (hence why most of my gym-playlist is rap.) I'm also a huge fan of witty wordplay and rap is chock full of it, "Set it off like Queen Latifiah 'cause I'm living single."
Have an important presentation to give to the CEO of your company? Instead of practicing your speech out loud in the car on the way to work, try blasting "RIP" by Young Jeezy and 2 Chainz. Gearing up to ask the counter girl at your local Starbucks on a date? Instead of spending an hour picking out the perfect plaid shirt, spend that time listening to "F*ckin Problems" by ASAP Rocky on repeat.
Rap may not be the world's answer to world hunger, global warming, or gender inequality---but everyone could benefit from mixing some rap music into their regular listening rotation.
Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media
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