Rap music is a popular kind of music in the teen and young adult world today, but it is a key influence in gangster violence. Like oil to a fire, rap supports crimes and influences violence including robbing, popping (shooting someone) and dog fights.

Not all rap music is bad. There is religious rap, which has positive lyrics. But more often, rap music demeans women and heavily promotes violence. It is that kind of rap music that gives a bad name to the whole rap community.

Denying that 'artists' such as Snoop Dogg or Soulja Boy do not have bad lyrics would be pointless. In a song called 'I Call Shots,' by Snoop Dog, are these word:

'I call, I call shots round here. Tell who to pop and who not to pop round here. Slow down here don't make too much noise round here. You know who runs the block round here.'

'Pop' and 'who runs block around here' refers to gangs and inner city violence. In another place in the song, it says:

'I make a ni**a murder twenty kids and cap his own self, who am I? The original lyrical miracle.'

'Cap' and 'Pop' mean 'shoot,' so this line means he convinced a person to kill 20 children and then shoot himself. Furthermore, I did not find any songs by Soulja Boy, where the lyrics were not inappropriate.

Even more disturbing, some rap is used by gangs to communicate to their members about plans to hit other gangs. In an interview for the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper last December, (Tulare County) Sheriff's Lt. Mike Boudreaux said, 'Some music will relay information to other gang members to what they want done - a green light hit or open war notice against other gang members.' Also, most of the bad rap songs have drug references in them, which can be a bad influence.

Another popular rapping topic is dog fighting. In one song the rapper described the dogs fighting each other, but giving quotes of this, would be inappropriate. As (noted) by Michelle Rabinowitz, 'pit bulls seem to be the breed of choice among rappers, appearing on so many album covers and in numerous videos.'

Rap music promotes violence, animal cruelty and drug use. Rap's unique ability to be remembered easily plants a bad seed in the young and wilts the flowers of adults. Like oil on a forest fire, this 'music,' causes a problem, and spreads like a fire that cannot be extinguished or even controlled.

Heather O'Donnell is a 13-year-old student living in Lake Oswego.

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