Art and Culture # 25: Rap and Criminal Elements

14 Mar

-For the Uncensored!

I know that people have a very narrow view of how hip hop and rap and how they portray criminal culture. Well, the thing is, if you take a step back, Jazz musicians always had a rebellious look to them. They smoked dope, and they weren’t the people you wanted to be indebted to. Well, during the 80’s, in the Bronx, Hip Hop, was born by Kool Herc, became a rising fad in the streets, as people played there music and people danced, had cook outs. This is where Hip Hop started. Now, how did we come to over a forty year legacy where we think about rap as associated with criminals? 

            With a art form that’s born in the streets, the rappers, the talent, were poor. They usually were just hanging out with the DJ’s, listening to the breaks, which is scratching the record with there hands. Which is why you have a lot of records in the 80’s having a large section of the songs, with the DJ scratching the record. It’s the equivalent of a heavy metal guitarist playing a solo in the middle of the song. So, when rappers met the DJ’s, they needed each other. 

            So, once that happened, as an art form born in the streets, the criminals are the money men, to a certain degree. They create the funding for the rapper and the DJ to have studio time. Studio time costs money. Try going to a bank and getting a loan for studio time back in the 80’s for a rap song. It would have sounded like you were trying to rob them. Because most record companies never saw a dime for music that failed in return. Good music requires a studio, with a sound system with a microphone to contain the rappers voice, and it’s not made in the garage. Usually, anything in the 80’s, with quality, needed a good studio. So, the gangsters, gave them money, but also helped influence the culture of rap music. So, if the bank didn’t want to help you, who was going to help when no one else had any money? The dope man, that’s who. 

            Now, who really is the talent behind the criminal, the rapper, and the producer? They all need each other. Eazy E, the founder of NWA, the popular 80’s Los Angeles gangster rap band, wasn’t originally going to rap or perform. As described in the film, Straight Outta Compton, Eazy E becomes a rapper unintentionally when the original rappers fell out of favor. But Eazy-E was originally a drug dealer. After Dr. Dre taught him how to rap, he ended up being exceptionally talented. So, this does tip the balance in who is really more talented? The rapper, the DJ, or the drug dealer who funds the rapper and the DJ. 


            Another example is Kenneth McGriff, a drug dealer, gangster, leader of the Supreme Team, out of South Side Jamaica Queens, helped fund the New York group Murder Inc, with Ja Rule. But like at the end of 50 Cent’s Back down, “It was all cool, until 50 Cent came into the picture.” 


            This gave rise to a new economic art form that allowed rappers to be on par with big rock star bands. It meant that rappers could sell out shows, and some of them used rap as a way of self-expression, escaping a life of selling drugs or dying in jail. 

            So, many will say that hip hop and rap is bad, but reality rap, or gangster rap, was meant to help outsiders see from there point of view on the track. It allowed them to release there pain but also create long lasting music and popular statements in the culture.

            As Eazy E said, “Don’t quote me boy, cause I ain’t said shit.”

-Louis Bruno is the author of more than 15 books, including, The Michael Project, The Michael Project: Book 2: The Lost Children of Eve, Thy Kingdom Come, The Disintegrating Bloodline, Apocalypse Soldier, Hierarchy of Dwindling Sheep. His books can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu. He can be found on Gab,, Minds, and Parler Instagram @lbrruno8063 and @louisbrunoofficialbook. He has written for the Intellectual Conservative and Ephemere. His latest, Come Home, Young One, a dark fantasy novel is out now at Link is here:  His next series, City of Sand, will be available sometime this year.

Note from Louis: Thanks so much for reading my articles and being such a constant reader, and listening to my podcasts. I usually write two to three articles a day during the week, but one to two on the weekends. Also, if you haven’t already, please subscribe, donate, like my articles and comment, buy my books, leave a review. Sharing the articles and podcasts helps above all can help if you can’t donate, too. Thank you so much. 

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