Nobody wants your mixtape.
The rise of Soundcloud as a music-sharing network has pushed many students to pursue careers in music, notably in the rap genre. This is in no way negative; however it becomes problematic when student rappers create songs filled with homophobia, sexism and hate, driving fellow students away from supporting the music.
Promoting their work is, as it should be for anyone serious about a career in music, the #1 priority for these self-proclaimed artists. Many take to social media to gain popularity, posting on Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter whenever a new project is on the way, to gain as many listens as possible from friends, family and followers. What these artists do not seem to grasp is that self-promotion will take you nowhere when you are simultaneously posting offensive and hurtful things, and going on to say those same things in your work.
When an aspiring rapper turns to Facebook to post things insulting ETHS faculty or the transgender community, or to claim to be better than all of his/her peers, then follow up with a post saying that he/she ‘speaks their mind’, or “gives no f**ks about [anything]”, they not only offend those that follow their account, but they drive away possible listeners. As it turns out, there are a great number of people who do care what is said about them, and to those people, all desire to listen to the music, or respect the student as an artist goes out the window.
For young rappers, behaving like their hip-hop idols may seem like a great way to get to fame, but in reality, these idols can only act the way they do because they have reached fame.
For famous rappers, acting cocky and arrogant can, in fact, help their popularity, but this is only the case because they had a fan base to begin with, and actually have some talent to back up their claimed superiority over those around them. But for still-unknown rappers, treating peers as inferiors will only create resentment, not fanship.
There is something to be said about self-expression, it is, in fact, a right protected by The Constitution. But doing so loses all respect and honor when ‘speaking your mind’ means referring to women as b-words, bashing LGBTQ+ people and straight up insulting everyone you go to school with.
Doing the things listed above may make these students feel ‘hard’ or like a “real rapper”, but the fact of the matter is, in order to succeed, the support of your peers is absolutely necessary. Spreading hate diminishes this support.
Musical expression is a valuable outlet for the youth, and this should never stop being the case. What does need to change, however, is the way students express themselves. Instead of spreading hate, why not talk about the actual issues in our community, or about positive things in our lives? Doing so will only increase a rapper’s popularity, especially when that popularity is so reliant on the support of fellow students. So, to all student rappers I say this: drop the ‘F everybody’ persona and focus on making music that means something. That’s how you become famous.