ABSTRACT

Lyrics such as those of Showdown and Hay by The Final Tic, are explosive and a highly controversial aspect of current popular culture. Many common people as well as professionals in education, the arts, psychology and social commentators believe that rap music, explicitly gangsta and hard-core rap, have a bizarre grasp and influence on youngsters inciting them to acts of violence, the use of drugs, early sexuality, and other social ills. However, rap, with its origins in black music and oral expression, is not new to the black community (Kitwana, 1994). Rather, it is rooted in African history, slavery, minstrel shows, black music (Du-Wop) of the late forties and fifties and more recently, shows up in the work of controversial artists such as 2 Live Crew, the late Tupac, N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude), Snoop-Doggy-Dogg, the late Notorious Big aka Biggy Small, Dog-Pound and others. Does rap music in fact, affect the behavior, thoughts, and actions of adolescents and teens, creating a mystical power over them? Is it responsible for the decline in morality or is it a scapegoat for a variety of social ills? Another aspect of

this contemporary debate is seen in black films such as, The Hughes Brothers' Dead Presidents (1995); F. Gary Gray, Friday (1995) and Spike Lee's Clockers (1995).