Looking Beyond the Bling: Why Does Hip Hop Remain so Controversial?

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Hip Hop always carries a level of negative stigma with it. Today, we will be looking into the details as to why Hip Hop and the people in it remain shrouded in controversy. Hip Hop has long been associated with “thugs” and violent personalities. However, these are not the only reasons why hip hop has earned a controversial tag it has been unable to shake.


Here are some of the other reasons:

The Field is Predominantly Male

For the longest time, a majority of the artists in the genre of Hip Hop have been male. The most celebrated figures in the genre all belong to the same gender and it was not until the late 90s and early 2000s that females were recognized as legitimate artists on their on right and not simply as a feature on a track.

While females have been in the field of hip hop, they did not always garner the same level of deference and respect as their male counterparts. As the world was already racing towards equality, hip hop seemed to be steadfastly beholden to the fast. It has been increasingly difficult for women to break it into the industry.


Sexist Lyrics and Videos

A general complaint about Hip Hop was how they portrayed and referred to women. It was already bad enough that women artists were not getting the same opportunities, it was worse that the lyrics and music videos kept implying that women were merely objects.

It seemed that misogyny was deeply entrenched with the culture. Men were touted to be “playas” and “homies” that fought in the streets and brought home money while women were only either of two things: “shawty” or “mama”. Shawty were the women that you showed off while Mama was the one at home raising the children. It was even applauded if you had both in your life. The narrative of sexism certainly lent additional controversy.



One of the most tragic controversies linked to Hip Hop are the bloody feuds that marred most of the 90s. The East Coast and West Coast personalities of Hip Hop, for one reason or another, ended up in disagreement. This led to threats and vicious lyrics. It eventually exploded into a wave of violence that claimed the lives of many artists including 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.


To Close

As long as the industry exists with its colorful personalities, controversy will be sure to persist. While there has been what seems to be active pursuit of breaking away from all the bad blood and shady dealings, the songs that are released in the genre continue to be vitriolic and sexist.

Much like other genres, hip hop will have its share of bad apples. It would be wise to not lump the entire whole simply because the ones that gain the most media attention are the ones that are not exactly the most wholesome folk. We continue to hope that Hip Hop will eventually shake off the negative stigma and bring the focus back to the music and the artistry.



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