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Gangsta rap is a hip-hop subgenre that stands out from other types of music due to its distinctive characteristics and the way that the bulk of the songwriters live. Hip-hop known as "gangsta rap" originated in Philadelphia and is now very popular among young people in several US cities, including Los Angeles. The founders of the aforementioned subgenre of gangsta hip-hop, according to an analysis of the genre's origins, were park-side gang members who often preyed on the general population and stole their goods. In reality, gangsta rap music commenced around 1985, but the public started to listen to the official records of the previously mentioned subgenre in 1987, when Ice Cube, an artist, first composed the song entitled Panic Zone (Westhoff 1). This essay analyses the features of gangsta rap by focusing on the songs ‘Hit Em Up,' ‘Who Shot Ya' and ‘Cop Killer' by the singers such as Tupac, Notorious BIG and Body Count respectively.
The song ‘Hit Em Up' Pac contains the message that reflects the use of violence against some members of the society. For instance, the song mentioned above recounts of a situation where one has allegedly beaten up another individual. Similarly, the record ‘Cop Killer' by Body Count involves the use of lyrics that show the nature of violence that is prevalent among the society members. In particular, in the song mentioned above, Body Count sings about a person who has killed a police officer. Further, the song ‘Who Shot Ya' focuses on the personalities who have shot other individuals. The violent nature of the songs described indicates that gangsta rap songs involve the use of aggressive lyrics that significantly creates some fear among the listeners (Westhoff 1). In essence, the incorporation of violent messages within the songs mentioned above critically manifests the nature of the personalities who often participate in the songs, For instance, some of the fans of the subgenre under discussion are crack and cocaine dealers or users who often engage in violent activities.
An examination of the songs ‘Hit Em Up,' ‘Cop Killer’ and ‘Who Shot Ya’ shows the involvement of heavy drum beats and pianos that plays a critical role in the promotion of the tempo that the songs set. The use of the equipment as described play an important part in the creation of the speed that is common to the hip-hop songs, especially the gangsta rap. The beats that the gangsta rap songs utilize emanates from the modern types of equipment that the artists use. The trunk-heavy beats that the gangsta rap songs use are significant in the promotion of the tone that the singers utilize in the live performance of the music subgenre mentioned above (Westhoff 1). Also, the use of heavy-beats in the rap songs improves their qualities thus enhancing the levels of acceptance among the youth and groups of the gang who frequent the gangsta rap-dominated concerts. According to MacInnes (1), gangsta rap has significantly gained support from various personalities in the society although few people link the subgenre above to violence in the society due to the nature of equipment and content of the songs.
The song ‘Who Shot Ya’ contains information that reflects the nature of violence that some personalities undergo in their daily lives. Apart from ‘Who Shot Ya,' the song ‘Cop Killer,' which concerns the violence against the police officers, is an indication of the type of aggressiveness in the society. Moreover, ‘Hit Em Up’ shows or reveals the disagreements that are common among the community members and are known to escalate to wars. Therefore, the songs analyzed above are in the category of the gangsta rap music, which portrays the kind of lifestyles that singers and the youth in Los Angeles live. An analysis of the lives of a majority of the musicians and supporters of the gangsta rap are living in areas that experience high levels of violence from both the members of the public and the security officers (Johnson 62). From the songs above, it is evident that the personalities who commenced the rap gangsta songs faced various social challenges thus resorted to violence against the public and the security forces whom they perceive to be against their will. Therefore, it is deducible that gangsta rap songs concern the vices that are prevalent among the artists.
An analysis of the song ‘Who Shot Ya’ shows the use of some sound effects that significantly reinforces the nature of information, which the singer intends to pass to the public. Specifically, the artist of the song above has used a gunshot in the music to help manifest the activities that the rappers and their supporters often undertake. On the other hand, the song ‘Cop Killer’ entails the use of sirens to reinforce the occurrence of an emergency thus fitting the violent activities that the subgenre above addresses. Similarly, the record ‘Hit Em Up’ involves the application of some background sounds that are crucial in the manifestation of the message lyrics of the song. Therefore, it is evident that the gangsta rap music requires the incorporation of background sounds to aid the nature of lifestyles and activities that often occur in the societies where the musicians reside.
‘Cop Killer’ commences with some introductory stanzas that contain messages that play a critical role in the course of informing the listeners about the contents of the song. Also, the song ‘Hit Em Up’ has an introductory part, which contains essential information for setting the moods for the listeners and helps in making the audience develop a negative attitude about some people in the society. Similar to the two songs above, the record ‘Who Shot Ya’ incorporates an introductory part that cruelly addresses another group of personalities whom the singer perceives to be enemies. The various opening statements that feature in the songs mentioned above prompts an analyst to classify them as gangsta raps. Also, the abusive words that feature in the three songs that Tupac, Body Count, and Notorious BIG incorporate in their songs are critical elements in the gangsta rap music (Johnson 72). Therefore, an individual can generalize that the gangsta rap songs require the incorporation of introduction stanzas to help show the nature of messages that a singer intends to pass through the song. Also, the opening verses in the gangsta rap are crucial in setting the mood of the listeners.
To conclude, the gangsta rap music is a subgenre of hip-hop, which developed in the mid-1980s Philadelphia and later spread to other areas. As discussed in this essay, ‘Cop Killer,' ‘Hit Em Up,' and ‘Who Shot Ya,' involves the use of abusive words that significantly portrays the nature of lifestyles that the gangsta rap musicians lived. Also, the songs mentioned above incorporates heavy-beats, which are distinctive features of the gangsta rap. As evident in this essay, ‘Cop Killer,' ‘Who Shot Ya,' and ‘Hit Em Up’ contains information about a common culture among the gangsta rappers. Finally, the use of various scary sound effects in the songs mentioned above critically aids in their categorization as gangsta rap music, a subgenre of hip-hop, which is a common genre of music among the Americans.
Johnson, L. Maurice. A Historical Analysis: The Evolution of Commercial Rap Music, 2011. Print
MacInnes, Paul. “Schoolly D Puts Out The First Gangsta Rap Record.” The Guardian, 2011, June 13.Web. Sept. 28, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/jun/13/schoolly- d-gangsta-rap-record
Westhoff, Been. “Backstabbing, Moogs and the funky worm: how gangsta rap was born.” The Guardian. 2016, Sept.13.Web. Sept 28th, 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/sep/13/gangsta-rap-history-nwa-ice-cube-dr- dre
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