“Things Just Ain’t the Identical”: Hip-Hop’s Reconstruction of the Gangster Rap Id

Gangster rap, or hardcore rap, is generally regarded a sub genre of the larger class of rap tunes, which alone is a subcategory of hip-hop. Gangster rap is differentiable from other rap songs in that it tends to make use of photos of urban daily life linked with criminal offense (Haugen, 2). According to the Encyclopedia Britannica definition of gangster rap, the leading four photographs related with the style are violence, medications, materialism and sexual promiscuity.

Gangster Rappers as Defining the Hip-Hop Social Group

As the hip-hop movement has gained recognition throughout the United States, it has established by itself as 1 of the quickest increasing social groups anyplace. In the late nineteen nineties quickly subsequent the murders of each Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, two nationally recognized gangster rappers, a propaganda marketing campaign escalated in opposition to rap audio and the hip-hop society (Slaughter). Even though gangster rap only represented a tiny percentage of the hip-hop society at the time, all hip-hop and rap music was immediately stereotyped negatively as getting “gangter-like”. Why? Well, this gangster variation of hip-hop was the maximum marketing and most identified form of hip-hop audio amongst the bulk class. And Hip Hop culture have determined that this is due to the fact The usa is in really like with sexual intercourse, medications and violence (Whaley).

Hip-Hop’s Rejection of Inferior Social Team Standing

Henri Tajfel, a social psychologist who produced a idea of inter-team relations and social alter, argues that associates of a social team considered inferior by a greater part class can both take or reject their inferior place in modern society. If a group refuses to take its inferior position in culture as just, it will endeavor as a team to modify items (Coates, 8-nine). A huge number of hip-hop artists have utilized their musical lyrics to reject the inferior social standing positioned upon them by the majority course.

The Reconstruction of the Gangster Id

I have found that hip-hop artists use lyrics, both musical and poetic, to redefine the negatives traits provided to their tradition by the bulk course, and in the method, reconstruct the gangster identification. By examining these hip-hop and gangster rap lyrics as textual content, I will demonstrate approaches in which the lyrics attempt to reconstruct the stereotyped gangster rap id by inspecting distinct views of violence, drugs, materialism and sexual promiscuity. In the stop, 1 tends to surprise: Who exactly are the true gangsters?


That the hip-hop society represents gangster-like violence is probably the greatest disputed assert amongst hip-hop artists. In purchase to disprove this assert, numerous hip-hop artists have pointed to the violence that exists inside the majority social team, and how it sales opportunities to violence all in excess of the entire world.
In “Violence”, 2 Pac demonstrates his perception that violence was widespread extended just before gangster rap existed:

I instructed em struggle again, attack on culture

If this is violence, then violent’s what I gotta be

If you look into you’ll locate out where it’s comin’ from

Appear through our historical past, America’s the violent one particular

Below, the poet points to American modern society as “the violent one” and that he has to be violent in get to “battle back again.”

In “Who Understood”, Eminem confirmed a equivalent viewpoint by expressing his belief that violence is a typical occurrence in American society, however not challenged in genres outside of the city surroundings:

So who’s bringin’ the guns in this nation?

I couldn’t sneak a plastic pellet gun by way of customs above in London

And previous week, I witnessed a Schwarzaneggar motion picture

The place he’s shootin’ all types of these poor men with an Uzi

Listed here, the poet concerns the existence of violence in a country that permits firearms and violent movies.

In “Casualties of War”, Rakim blames the United States govt, particularly its Head of State, as the group causing the violence in modern society with their war-like methods:

I’ma get again to New York in one piece

But I am bent in the sand that is hot as the city streets

Sky lights up like fireworks blind me

Bullets, whistlin’ above my head remind me…

President Bush said assault

Flashback to Nam, I may not make it back again

In this text, the poet refers to our country’s selection to go to war as an case in point of the violence that exists among the majority social course.

In “The Watcher”, Dr. Dre redefines the negative characteristic of violence by pointing to the law enforcement power as the supply of violence, and therefore, referring to them as “gangster-like”:

Factors just ain’t the same for gangstas

Cops is nervous to place people in handcuffs

They want to cling us, see us useless or enslave us

Keep us trapped in the very same location we lifted in

Then they wonder why we act so outrageous

Operate about pressured out and pull out gauges

Cause each time you permit the animal out cages

It really is hazardous, to folks who look like strangers

Below, the poet accuses the vast majority class of trying to keep them “trapped in the exact same spot we elevated in” and that the perceived violence is only thanks to the introduction of “individuals who seem like strangers.”

These are illustrations of how hip-hop artists redefine the image of violence by displaying how it exists or was created inside of the greater part social team.


One more widespread disputed stereotype of hip-hop artists is their use and distribution of unlawful drugs. In makes an attempt to redefine this unfavorable attribute, several hip-hop artists have pointed at the bulk social group as the facilitator of drug abuse.

In “Justify My Thug”, Jay-Z speaks right to associates of federal government, elevating queries about who has manufactured the availability and use of these medication attainable:

Mr. President, there’s medication in our home

Notify me what you want me to do, occur break bread with us

Mr. Governor, I swear there is a protect up

Each other corner there is certainly a liquor store – what is up?

In this example, the poet inquires as to why there is a liquor retailer in “every other corner” of his community.

In “I Want to Chat to You”, Nas makes use of the same approach to challenge the idea of drug distribution by asking his representatives what they would do in his scenario:

Why y’all made it so tough, damn

Individuals gotta go develop their possess work

Mr. Mayo,r picture if this was your backyard

Mr. Governo,r picture if it was your children that starved

Picture your children gotta sling crack to endure

Listed here, the poet promises that the distribution of medication is not only an effect of the poverty that exists in his setting, but also a implies of survival.

In “Manifesto”, Talib Kweli in fact accuses the government of getting the body which permits drugs into the place:

Like the C.I.A. be bringin’ in crack cocaine bailin’ out of planes

With the George Bush connections, I push Reflection

Like I am sellin’ izm, like a seller buildin’ the program

Offer and the desire it is all capitalism

Men and women do not offer crack cause they like to see blacks smoke

Individuals market crack trigger they broke

In this example, the poet accuses the C.I.A. of traveling medicines into the region, and yet again reiterates the position that it is a means of survival owing to the “offer and demand from customers” of a capitalist culture.

In “Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangster”, the Geto Boys completely redefine the adverse attribute of drug distribution by accusing the President of getting a drug vendor, and therefore, a gangster:

And now, a word from the President!

Damn it feels great to be a gangsta

Getting’ voted into the White Home

Everything lookin’ excellent to the men and women of the entire world

But the Mafia family is my boss

So every now and then I owe a favor gettin’ down

Like lettin’ a massive drug cargo via

And send out ’em to the very poor neighborhood

So we can bust you know who

These illustrations demonstrate how hip-hop artists redefine the graphic of getting drug sellers and customers by once again pointing to the greater part class as the creator of the drug issue in this region.


Hip-hop tunes is also noticed by the greater part class as a style dominated by materialism. Yet again, artists position back again to the vast majority class in an endeavor to redefine this unfavorable attribute.

In “Respiration”, Black Star points to all the wealth surrounding city regions, and how it absorbs the lower class in materialism, generating them want areas of that prosperity:

Exactly where mercenaries is paid out to trade scorching stock suggestions

For profits, thirsty criminals consider pockets

Challenging knuckles on the 2nd fingers of workin’ class watches

Skyscrapers is colossus, the expense of residing

Is preposterous, keep alive, you play or die, no choices

Listed here, the poet talks about numerous materialistic facets of the bulk class, and how the reduced class have to “play or die” to “continue to be alive.”

In “All Falls Down”, Kanye West really blames this materialism on American modern society:

It looks we residing the American desire

But the men and women optimum up received the cheapest self esteem

The prettiest men and women do the ugliest things

For the highway to riches and diamond rings

In this example, the poet blames the “American aspiration” for materialism, declaring it brings about men and women to “do the ugliest items” for “riches and diamond rings.”

In “Los Angeles Moments”, Xzibit also blames this materialism on the vast majority course, professing that is what the youth are taught coming up in city environments:

Welcome to L.A.

The place you can see the total city burning

Result in the cops acquired Uzis and the dealers preserve serving

And your youngsters ain’t studying it, apart from this

Sex electricity and wealth, forget everything else

Right here, the poet expresses his belief that specific elements of materialism, which includes “electrical power and prosperity” are taught to kids through occurrences in society.

These are illustrations how hip-hop artists redefine the adverse attribute of currently being materialistic by demonstrating illustrations of how this materialism is prevalent in the bulk class, and usually developed inside that class.