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Rap is one of the most popular genres in modern music, attracting a large portion of today’s youth. The influence of rap music on teens, however, is still in question. Depending on one’s interpretation of a song, it can be viewed as a valuable lesson or it can simply be treated as a tune.

“I think some rap songs are very emotional and have a lot of meaning while other songs are more hardcore with a lot of swearing,” sophomore Elton Luu said.

Lyrics of rap songs today typically feature an abundance of slang and profanity. For one, the lyrics promote the use of obscene language by spitting them out freely in the song. However, beneath it all usually lies a meaningful story.

“I like that the artists in the rap genre talk about their experiences in life. There’s always a story behind each song they produce,” junior Wendy Bui said. “It allows me to see that no one’s life is perfect; there is always something going on behind closed doors.”

Artists use their life experiences to channel their memories and emotions into their productions. These songs demonstrate the not-so-perfect life that they lived and the troubles they went through in their youth. Because hip-hop is set in reality, it allows its listeners to relate to the events in the song.

“There is a song by Tupac called ‘Dear Mama’ and that one always gets to me,” senior Jason Gonzales said. “It’s him rapping about his mom saying how she was a single mother and she did all these amazing things for the family.”

Gonzales was able to relate to lyrics of Tupac’s song because his mom did the same [for him] when he was a kid. His mom came home late and still made it her responsibility to cook dinner for the family. Like Tupac, Gonzales realized it wasn’t easy for his mom to work late, then come home and work even more for the family.

Gonzales’s story is just one of the ways teens are able to relate to rap artists. As the genre continues to expand its large audience, it is likely that individuals will see themselves becoming increasingly influenced by its message.

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