A common argument against hip-hop and more specifically the “Drill” sub-genre is that the music speaks too much about violence, crime, and drugs. While the genre is laden with these references, it is possible that these troubling lyrics are not being analyzed enough.
ENTERTAINMENT | Hip-hop, like any other genre of music, is a form of self-expression. Artists make songs with lyrics that they relate to in some way or another. These artists all come from different backgrounds, however, in the case of hip-hop, many of these artists come from troubling pasts. For instance, one of the most prolific artists to come from the “drill” genre of hip-hop is Keith Farrelle Cozart, better known as Chief Keef. Chief Keef comes from the Parkway Garden Apartment Homes in Chicago, Illinois. This district is known by many as “O-block”, one of, if not the most dangerous block in the entirety of Chicago, with numerous shootings taking place. The violence of the environment in which he grew up is reflected in many of his songs.
This same scenario is prevalent with many other rappers such as King Von, Blueface, Young Thug, and Gunna, as their rise to fame happened from the music they produced while living in either hostile environments or being surrounded by gang activity. Even artists who have found a more personal side in their recent discographies have come from harsh upbringings. An example of this can be found in an early Kendrick Lamar album, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City,” which is an ode to the harsh reality of his surroundings as he grew up in Compton.
Artists like these do not make music to promote agendas or influence the youth to indulge in criminal activities, rather they are displaying that side of their life in an artistic form. While some artists continue to participate in reprehensible behavior, many more use their position to talk of their past life experiences. Hip-hop is a gritty and sometimes dark musical form that takes the hard realities that certain individuals face and put them in center view. The messages of most of these songs are not meant to be pretty, glorified, or even justified. They are simply meant to be heard and show the darker side of musical expression.