Does Rap or Heavy Metal Music Promote Violence?
It is high time lovers of rap and heavy metal music reconsidered their choice of music. Research indicates that music influences an individual’s mood, behavior, social interaction, as well as school-related work. Lyrics of rap music have become sexually explicit and violence-inclined over the years resulting in correlated behavior among people, especially youths who listen to the same. Over the years, music has played a role in the socialization of children and adolescents as it integrated into modern youth culture. Explicit rap music lyrics in reference to drugs, sex, and violence over the years, have led to the emergence of violent youths in modern society (Rentfrow and Gosling 231). The situation is worsened by some modern rappers who go to the extent of abusing drugs in their videos, and this has adverse impacts on youths who gradually embrace drug abuse. Sex is glorified in rap songs as highlighted by the fact that women are used as sexual symbols through their dressing, a perspective that has a negative influence on youths regarding sexual behavior.
Studies also show that preference to certain types of music is directly related to some behaviors (Rentfrow and Gosling 394). Heavy metal music has been linked to rebellious behavior, especially among adolescents. By listening to heavy music, adolescents are influenced and feel that it is okay to be different from other people. Such music drives youths to loneliness and solitude and ultimate suicide. Increased cases of suicide have been found among people who listen to the hard metal music because of depression and susceptibility to risky behavior that result from listening to the music. It should also be noted that fans of rap music and heavy metal music engage more in reckless behavior. Sexually explicit and violence-related lyrics also contribute to stereotypic views or perceptions of women among the male listeners of rap and heavy metal.
A recent study conducted with a sample of mothers revealed that 47% of the mothers believe that violent messages in rap music contribute to violence and fighting in school (Rentfrow and Gosling 632). They further attributed the recent school shootings in countries such as the United States to violence instigated by rap and hard metal music. The study found that messages in rap and metal music have a pessimistic view of life, and in support of this fact, it revealed that the percentage of violence in music videos is highest in rap songs at 20.4 percent followed closely by heavy metal music at 19.8 percent (Rentfrow and Gosling 985).
Rappers are involved in irresponsible social lives such as consumption of alcohol, tobacco smoking, and drug abuse. Alcohol consumption is closely linked aggressive behavior regardless of an individual’s gender (Rentfrow and Gosling 394). Adolescents and youth who watch raps are influenced negatively and embrace alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, and drug abuse, and there is no doubt these practices are accompanied by violent behaviors. It is argued that drug abuse jeopardizes a person’s rational reasoning and he or she can become violent in the long run. Several murder and rape cases, as well as suicides, involve people who consume alcohol or abuse drugs, and this is because of frequent exposure to rap and heavy metal music. Studies show that young males exposed to violent rap videos and heavy metal music are more violent towards women as compared to non-lovers of the mentioned genres of music.
On the contrary, rap music might not be considered a principal cause of violence but a form or entertainment among youths. Research and surveys indicate that 17 percent of male and 26 percent of female adolescents prefer rap and heavy metal music as a form of entertainment (Rentfrow and Gosling 847). Supporters of rap and heavy metal music also argue that by listening to these genres of music, youths can discover their talents as they identify with the best rap and heavy metal musicians.
In a nutshell, it is important to note that not every genre rap and heavy metal music is detrimental to people’s characters. This notwithstanding, a significant percentage of rap and heavy metal music have adverse effects on youths, especially when the focus shifts to violence. As discussed above, studies argue that an individual’s personality and level of independence determine his or her preferred genre of music (Rentfrow & Gosling 1114). The argument that rap and heavy metal music instigate violence can be seen in the way most of the musicians involved in the same end their lives unexpectedly. Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osborne, and Metallica are examples of heavy metal musicians who committed suicide in the long run, and this is proof that the genre of music influences youths to engage in violence. Moreover, prominent rap musicians such as Tupac died from shootings stemming from the violent nature and activities accompanying the genre of music. There are arguments that several parents who lose their children to suicide and violence-related incidences often move to court with claims that rap and heavy metal music have a hand to play in the deaths. Although music is widely considered a form of entertainment, selected genres such as rap and heavy metal music promote violence in society.
Rentfrow, Peter J., and Samuel D. Gosling. “The do re mi.’s of Everyday Life: The Structure and Personality Correlates of Music Preferences.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84.6 (2003): 1236.