What’s Up with Rap?


photo courtesy of Sarah Meadows

Some apps that play popular rap music include SoundCloud and Spotify.

Sarah Meadows, photojournalist

When driving through the streets of Yorba Linda, one may notice the masses of teenagers jamming to provocative rap songs on the highest volume possible with the windows rolled down for the whole city to hear. For older generations, it is puzzling as to why such unpleasant and rather inappropriate “music” is so popular among teenagers. Nevertheless, for teenagers themselves, this “music” is far more than merely songs on a playlist; it is art.


Why do teens love this style of music one may ask? Sebastian Marquez (10) explained that, “I think teens like rap music so much because many rap artists put deeper meanings behind their lyrics that you can connect to, and the songs have so much energy, they are fun to listen to with your friends when you are trying to have a good time.” This opinion is quite popular among teens. When rapper XXXTentacion was murdered, for example, many young people were devastated by his loss because his lyrics helped them through dark times in their life. It is factors of rap music like this that go unnoticed by the older generations who are not used to the style of rap music. Similarly, it is common for teens to show dislike towards their parents taste in music, as they, too, are not used to the style of music.


Despite much parental disapproval of the lyrics, the genre rap is becoming increasingly popular within the teen community. Many rap songs depict themes of drug, sex, and violence. However, the rappers may also lace their songs with themes of struggling with depression and anxiety. “It’s all about reading between the lines,” Sebastian further explained. For most listeners, they like the whole idea of finding personal struggles beneath the need to act (and in this case, sound) “cool.” Even if the listeners have not experienced some of the elements that the artists rap about, such as gang violence, they find a way to connect the artist’s struggles with their own.


It is not only parents who disapprove of the lyrics, but also those who do not support men objectifying women. Many girls, young and old, refuse to support any rap artist who seems to subject women as anything less than human beings, and human beings only. Nonetheless, for others, this negative factor popular in many rap songs is put beneath all of the positive factors present in the music. Others, on the other hand, interpret the lyrics differently.

Despite the hate, rap continues to grow and grow as more and more kids find love for the energetic, upbeat tunes of rap music. Nonetheless, even for a supporter myself, it is hard to think of one day showing our kids the songs we used to listen to, just as our parents do for us. Even showing our parents causes criticism of our favorite artists, so showing our future kids may do the same. Regardless, our generation is one of living in the moment. Then is then. Now is now. And now, we as a whole, are not going to stop finding love despite all the hatred.