As a matter of fact, in its early form the genre was created to make money. In its original form the music was very short. It was a lot like a modern day version of the old “Rock & Roll” songs that you hear on TV. Then a few other artists started to make some good money in a short amount of time. Then with a song like “Hands Up,” they started to turn the sound on their heads. They were making money with the long format of the song.
But you said the word “rap” was not a word that had entered the mainstream culture until about four years ago, which is when they started to use this music to make money. But you said people started to get interested in rap after the “Hands Up” lyric. Have you spoken with many young African Americans that use rap?
That’s really up to me, I just want to go to them. I would love to reach everybody. But the word “rap” still has its place in the culture. It’s used to tell a story well. It’s a way of expressing something about your experience. It was a way of making money and to have a good time. It was part of the culture. It existed before the Internet. It was a way of being social. It was being part of this group of people that could tell a story and communicate.
Do you think the term “gangsta” is a negative term that could be used to describe African-American culture in today’s society?
When I was growing up, and for some reason people still don’t think as African-American as I do, when we would say “gangsta,” the first thing on our mind was getting shot dead in Africa. All this stuff. When I was growing up that was the first thing that people would say when I used the term. It’s still with that. It started off in the streets. It’s used in the African-American culture. But now that the culture and the street has changed a little bit, people are saying “gangsta” is a bad thing and it’s something negative. So they start to say it, but then try to explain that to people of African-American descent.
I understand how and why hip hop could still be used in a non-racist manner to describe something, but when you say “gangsta,” does that negate the fact that there could be a certain amount of prejudice that would exist among African Americans when we hear the
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