Journal Entry 8: Rap’s Response

I write these journals in the first 10 minutes of my Writing I class at NYU. I thought the readings/articles were very intriguing and the journal prompts were also really interesting, so I thought why not post my thoughts on the blog while I’m at it? These are written in 10 minutes so they might sound very first-draft-esque, my apologies.

Prompt: “Rap’s conscious response to the poverty and oppression of U.S. blacks is like some hideous parody of sixties black pride.” -David Foster Wallace

Maybe this quote is trying to point out the part of rap culture that is constantly using the theme of struggle and poverty to generate awareness of social, political, and economic issues in America. It started out well, but somewhere along the line, this “rap’s conscious response” began diverging into pride and not so much awareness. Maybe it is because almost every rapper raps of poverty and overcoming their struggles, but the passion for change and improvement is not so evident in the lyrics anymore.

There should be some sense of pride, I have to admit, because these rappers are one of the few who have made it out of their dire situations. But once they make it out to the music industry, they keep singing about it but do not seem to act upon it. I picture it this way: the ship you are sailing on is sinking in the middle of the ocean, but you see another ship approaching. So you jump ships and let your ship sink while the new ship sails away to safety.

I have not seen any vast improvement projects being made toward poverty. I do not see anyone really getting inspired by “rap’s conscious response” to see what is around them and the make change. The only people who seem to get inspired are the ones who have the means to get access to these rap songs, such as the middle class. Also, how do we know if these rappers are true representations of struggles and poverty?


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