Hip hop music has taken a centre stage among African youths of this generation. Life style is changing and we need to examine the impact it is having on our youths.
Just a few days back a group of three under 20 Nigerian boys told me they want to start selling weed within our student residential area. I was worried as this would likely pose a serious security crisis and bearing in mind that they are illegal residents.
These weed smoking boys are probably taking advantage of these profitable market as their internet scam work isn’t paying.
I was trying to come to terms with this and trying to figure out how I could discourage them from their planned action. I thought about something encouragingly positive to tell them. However, I heard them playing a song.
They play it everyday though but it would be the first time I was hearing a part of the lyrics. This American hip hop artistes I didn’t care to know his name, was telling his story. And one line he said: “I was 20 years and selling weed.” It might not be exactly the words but that is what it is. Most of the prominent rappers promote buying, selling and smoking of weed.
When I heard them play and sing along that song, then I got where their inspiration to sell weed in the private residence came from.
This is a clear evidence the impact audio-visual materials can have on people especially young one. While it is a choice to live a certain lifestyle, most times the choice can be wrongly guided especially when it is coming from celebrated hip hop stars who have become an idol of a sort to millions of young minds who are led to believe these rappers are rich and go free from crime in their countries.
Hip hop lyrics are influenced by the true life experiences of the singer but the question is, is that shared experience or story worthy of emulation to producing a positive impact on the young listener? Is the story one of bragging with a dangerously harmful lifestyle or is it made to serve as a warning example to the naïve generation? I do realize that what we battle against in this world, is between the forces of good and evil.
This is not to say that all rap music is bad. We have good African hip hop artistes especially from Nigeria and Ghana. Most outstanding of them, M.I. Ibaga and Sarkodie, have redefined hip hop in the continent to rather have a positive impact on the continent’s black youths.
Majority of rap music depicting the hip hop culture in America portrays and celebrate a life of crime, violence, sex, rape, abuse against women, rebellion against constituted authority, hard drugs and foul language.
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This is not to say there are no fine hip hop artiste in America. I have listened to some of Tupac and they are indeed inspirational if not spiritual. J Cole makes sense to me in the relatively small verses a friend of mine who is his crazy fan made me listen to.
Majority of youths in Nigeria listen to rap music from America while working on their computers or phones scamming unsuspecting foreigners. Some do while under the influence of hard drugs and weed. Another group associated with rap are college student cultists. They seem to get inspiration that makes them tougher persons. A particular hip hop artistes in Nigeria copies the wild side of American hip hop culture in pidgin English as he promotes vices especially internet scam.
The authorities might not have any legal evidence to ban him but the street understand and relates to his lyrics.
Africa especially Nigeria’s young population are evolving and are desperate to get themselves out of poverty and live a good life because the government and local leaders have failed to address the basic need of a nation whose population demands only little from its leaders.
Desperation breeds a lot of creativity that would be impatient to nurture and a shorter court to Jerusalem is sort for.
Influential hip hop stars can use their wide fan base and acceptability to produce only songs that will further develop the youths for a better life especially the black kid who some so called coloured people want to feel inferior and lazy.
Let the story be made and transformed to a story that will push the black kid to have an education that will make his environment, society and world a better place.