Rap music has become the dominant pop music genre in American society today.
Over the last three decades, it has grown from a fringe form of music to a ubiquitous presence of popular culture.
The trend is seen across a variety of platforms, including music, movies, video games, and television.
Despite the popularity of rap music, there is widespread concern about its harmful effects.
Two notable consequences of rap music have been hypermasculinity and violence
In particular, it is often presented as the kind of music that “encourages” aggression.
Critics argue that the violence in rap music has led to an increase in killings and drug overdoses among youths and adolescents.
For instance, the FBI reports that from 2000 to 2015, the number of homicides involving guns in the U.S. rose from 3,955 to 11,101.
The number of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who died from heroin overdoses also rose during that period, rising from 16,404 to 25,574.
The relationship between rap music and violence is not unique to the U.S. In the United Kingdom, it has been blamed for an increase in knife crime among young men.
In Australia, it has been linked to a rise in drug-related homicides.
Given the widespread concern about rap music’s harmful effects, it is important to investigate its impact on youths and adolescents.
This will help us to understand the problem better and develop a solution.
Some research has examined how rap music affects music listening and artists’ behavior
For example, R. Jacob Wilson and L. Graham Rogers conducted a survey of adolescents to assess the relationship between music listening and crime.
Their study revealed that when rap music was played, the rate of crime was found to rise in a way that was twice as large as the effect of other types of music.
The researchers surmised that rap music influenced people in some ways, including the way they act.
This study, along with others, has shown that youth who listen to rap music are more likely to report poor behavior.
In particular, they are more likely to have high levels of antisocial behavior and the likelihood that they will commit violent crimes.
Notably, this is not a new phenomenon
For example, in 2000, a study showed that youths who listened to rap music were more likely to drop out of school, abuse alcohol, and use marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines.
Additionally, it has been shown that young people are more likely to use violence in response to rap music.
However, other research suggests that these concerns are overstated and that rap music is not necessarily a cause of violent behavior.
For example, in 2011, a study found that the increase in violent crime was not due to rap music.
Instead, it appears that an increase in the “re-emergence of older gang rivalries in some cities coincided with increases in rap music sales.”
In another study, teens who reported that they had listened to rap music in the past month were less likely to report drug use and more likely to use marijuana or alcohol in the previous 12 months.
They were also more likely to report feeling lonely and having low self-esteem.
These effects on these young people did not appear for people who reported that they had not listened to rap music in the past month.
What is clear is that rap music can affect youth behavior in some ways. In addition, it is possible that it can increase the level of aggression.
This makes it all the more important to find out why and to address the problem.
Is rap music at fault?
Research suggests that rap music has been linked to antisocial behavior and violence, particularly among youths.
In this context, there is good news. A recent study suggests that the risk of violent behavior among youths who listen to rap music is lower than among peers who do not.
More specifically, the researchers examined a sample of children, teenagers, and young adults and found that those who listened to rap music were more likely to have a tendency to act in antisocial ways.
However, the relationship was weaker among youths who identified with hip hop, punk rock, and other youth cultures.
For example, rap fans did not rate their own attitudes as being more negative than the attitudes of music fans who did not identify with hip hop.
The reason for this difference is not clear. It may be that the negative effects of rap music are not confined to rap music, but extend to the broader context.
As with all research, this study can only suggest a hypothesis and does not prove that rap music is at fault.
However, it does indicate that in certain contexts, rap music may not be the cause of these negative effects.
The research team concluded:
“Our findings show that it may not be rap music that increases youth violence, but rather it may be rap music consumers themselves, along with their identities and behavior in relation to hip hop culture.”