Criminality Of Hip-Hop And Rap  Vs. Rock And Roll



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Criminality Of Hip-Hop And Rap  Vs. Rock And Roll


Herjanai Williams

Louisiana State University










Even though several policies have been put in place to stop discrimination in the United States, it is still practiced in diverse forms. Black males and females are stigmatized in American society due to their biologically predisposed culture and hyperbolism. According to Washington (2018), the continued historical and modern codification of the black community has led to devastating impacts on black male’s lives. Hip-Hop music’s evolution has been among the platforms that have allowed blacks to tell their story and express their concerns. Cloonan, Martin, and John (1997) affirm that music has been affiliated with politics, and due to that, various forms of music have been stereotyped. The criminalization of Hip-Hop and rap music has been the center of attention over the years. The concern about rock and roll also raises concerns to society about the implications of the three forms of music, and their significance is also analyzed.

Racial inequality in the United States exists in different forms, as mentioned above. For example, individuals who engage in rap or Hip-Hop are considered criminals since many such artists are blacks. Dunbar (2018) claims that in 2012, an emerging rap artist known as Jamal Knox was arrested due to possession of heroin and a stolen firearm.

Days later, know wrote a song whose lyrics were interpreted as “terrorism threats” (Scott, 2020).  The different ways in which rap music is interpreted indicates levels of Black criminality. Attitudes towards rap music are thus illustrated by the way different individuals interpret them. Miles (2020) claims that the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and it advocates individuals to respect other people’s opinions. With that, it is essential to note that the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and thus, people are allowed to express it in any way, including music.



In the United Kingdom, grime and rap music is under scrutiny due to the message delivered in such music (Miller, 2019). The disparity between the treatment of rap music and music from other genres, such as rock and roll, is significant, and it illustrates the gaps in the music. In criminal trials, rap music in such proceedings has led to increased scrutiny from the police (St. Lawrence, Janet, Joyner& Doris, 1991). In many instances, rappers have been described as a danger to their communities, a significant factor that has led to discrimination against rap music (Rose,1996). The perceptions directed towards rap lyrics in judicial judgments demonstrate that prosecutors and other people affiliate rap music and Hip-Hop with criminality and violence compared to other genres.

Unlike other music genres, UK drill music is affiliated with allowing youths to engage in criminal behaviour. As a result of criminalizing Black music genres, how the police discriminate against young black people arises. Fatsis’s (2019) report illustrates that rap music and other black music genres have been associated with violence n different parts of London. As such, the discriminatory feature of police officers is highlighted. According to Nielson (2011), The emergence of rap music in the 1880s exposed social and racial inequalities in the United States. A close look at those songs reveals some resistive elements in that type of music.

To a much greater extent, the studies conducted by various scholars included in the document illustrate that black music genres, specifically rap and Hip-Hop, have been criminalized compared to other forms of music. Black music genres have been affiliated with violence and criminality, while rock and roll are associated with modern fashion and current contemporary language.




Reference List

Cloonan, Martin, Street. John .1997. “Politics and popular music: From policing to packaging” Parliamentary Affairs 50(2) 233

Dunbar, Adam. 2019. “Rap music, race, and perceptions of crime.” Sociology Compass 13(10):1

Fatsis, Lambros. 2019. “Policing the beats: The criminalization of UK drill and grime music by the London Metropolitan Police.” Sociological Review 67(6):1300-1316

Miles, Jessica. 2020. “Straight Outta SCOTUS:  Domestic Violence, True Threats, and Free Speech.” University of Miami Law Review 74(3):711-780

Miller, Rudy. 2019. “Rhymes and crimes: Lehigh Valley rap music producer gets 11-plus years for heroin conspiracy” Express-Times 2pp

Nielson, Erik. 2012. “’Here Come the Cops’: Policing the Resistance in Rap Music”

International Journal of Cultural Studies 15(4):349-363

Rose, Tricia. 1996. “Hidden Politics: Discursive and Institutional Policing of Rap Music” Critical Perspective on the Past pp.236-57

Scott, Cheraine Donalea. 2020. “Performing UK Grime and Rap music under routinised surveillance.” Policing Black Sound (75)55-65

St. Lawrence, Janet S., Joyner, Doris J. 1991 “The effects of sexually violent rock music on males’ acceptance of violence against women.” Psychology of Women Quartley 15(1):49-63


Washington, Ahmad Rashad. 2018. “Integrating Hip-Hop Culture and Rap Music into Social Justice Counseling with Black Males” Journal of Counseling & Development 96(1):97-105


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