music journal and discussion 2
Gangsta rap wasâ€”and remainsâ€”controversial. One of the more striking criticisms about gangsta rap was that gangsta rap is a â€œmodern-day minstrel show.â€ (Spike Lee and Stanley Crouch are two examples of prominent figures who have discussed gangsta rap in these terms.) Minstrel shows were an American musical theater genre popular from the early part of the nineteenth through the beginning of the twentieth century. Minstrel shows caricatured black people for the entertainment of white audiences. White performers would blacken their faces with burnt cork or greasepaint and then perform songs and skits that mocked African Americans as lazy, buffoonish, dumb, and superstitious.
[Before writing your post please explore this websitehttp://exhibits.lib.usf.edu/exhibits/show/minstrelsy for an in-depth look at minstrelsy–especially if you were not familiar with it before this discussion prompt.]
How do you respond to this criticism? Why do you think this comparison to minstrelsy was made? What demographic are/were the largest consumers of gangsta rap? What bearing does that have on this criticism of gangsta rap.
Given the sensitive nature of this topic, I will remind you all to be thoughtful and sensitive in your discussion.
Do you think the violence in hip hop lyrics is criticized more than the violence in other forms of entertainment? If yes, why? Do you see a connection between real-life violence and violence in hip hop, and other forms of entertainment? Discuss your personal opinion of the influence of violent song lyrics.