Influence of Hip-Hop And Gun Violence in the United States: Analytical Essay

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Background To The Study

Gun violence is a extensive issue not only in the United States but around the world. The gun violence epidemic has been on the rise for the last decade. In the United States, gun laws are not heavily enforced in numerous states making it easy to get your hands on a gun. The Hip Hop community has heavily impacted gun violence, in ways which they promote gun violence and use their lyrics to glorify the use of guns within their community and around the world. In the past few years Chicago has been a trending topic when discussing the gun troll law. Chicago known for gun violence and drill music have artist like Chief Keef, Lil Durk, big name rap stars who grew up in the streets of Chicago. Hip Hop has a major impact on teens, majority of the youth listen to hip hop and this new genre of music called Drill music. Drill Music embodies gang violence, sex, money, drugs, and gun violence. Drill music originated in Chicago, the city who at one time was one of the cities with the highest murder rates surpassing Afghanistan. In addition to drill music Hip Hop rap itself has been promoting violent acts within their lyrics for years. Throughout 1980 to the late 1990’s hip hop was one of the most influential movements ever and has reached its vocal point taking advantage of the right of, “freedom of press” , and “freedom of speech “. The infamous group called NWA lead by Dr. Dre and rapper Eazy-E dropped their album “Straight Outta Compton” which included their hit single, “ Fu*k The Police” and “ Straight Outta Compton”. In “ Straight Outta Compton” one of the members states, “ Straight outta compton a brother with his finger on the trigger”, after this many people felt carrying guns was necessary to be cool, by looking up to one of the most famous groups at that time. In addition this furthermore supports how hip hop has influenced gun violence throughout America.

Research Question: What impact does music have on teen gun violence in the United States?

Rationale Of The Study: It is important to explore my topic because people listen to music, almost everyday. Music has become part of our daily lives and is something that we grow accustomed to. Many listen to music when they travel, workout, when bored, whenever` they can. The power and influence music has is overlooked most of the time because most people think “ it’s just a song” lyrics can’t actually be that influential, they don’t really mean what they say.. Well that thought is wrong music one way artist can communicate with their fans giving them a stand point on how they feel and what’s happening in their life. With that being said music can potentially influence a crowd to do whatever they promote, and in this instance its gun violence. Gun violence has been a major issue all over the United States and our gun laws have been taking advantage of throughout recent years. Nowadays most firearms are either sold illegally or found by children whose parents own guns and now the child feels as if he/she is powerful. An NVISS study of firearm suicides among youths ages 17 and under occurring over a two-year period in four states and two counties found that “82% used a firearm belonging to a family member, usually a parent.” Additionally, the artist they potentially look up to and listen to everyday is glorifying the use of guns making this okay, so the viewer thinks if he says it's cool to walk around carrying a gun then that makes them cool right? The benefits that come with addressing this topic not only helps the readers and can help me as student but can help society as a whole.I can come up with ways artist can positively Gun Violence has been a major issue for the recent years, so this potentially can help make stricter gun laws making it harder to purchase a gun, also it can make illegal guns being sold come to a stop by making the punishment for selling a illegal firearm unbearable so people will think about the consequence before they proceed in the action. This will also help cities like Chicago and many others bring, justice to the families who lost someone to gun violence and bring a sense of urgency and hope.

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Review Of Literature

SubTopic: Gun Violence In The Media

Gun violence has been a major issue past and present. For many years our country has been subjected to violence to get what we want, and lives taken has just been a casualty of war. Gun Violence has been projected as a symbol of gradifiction a token of accomplishment and something to be proud of. The media whether it’s music videos, commercials, or movie clips all somehow promote gun violence. In the music video of rapper Chief Keef’s “ I Don’t Like” hit, He and a couple members from his entourage named 300 or GBE ( Glory Boyz Entertainment ) mass amount of them were holding firearms. These men were not subjected to any kind of punishment but was rewarded with a million dollar record deal. What kind of message does that send to his audience and those who look up to them. In Addition, back in the 1990’s iconic artist Tupac Shakur was one of the most poetic and influential artist in his era. Known for his “ Thug Life ” persona Tupac was another outlet to the era known as the “ attitude Era”. Tupac’s hit song “ Me and My Girlfriend” he talks about how happy he and his “ girlfriend “ are. In reality he isn't really talking about a female he's actually talking about a gun. In the song he states, “ What! I'm bustin' on you punk a** n****s *automatic gunfire*.. Run n***a run! (gunfire) *gunfire continues*”. This indicates how the music artist promote guns as something to be proud of something not to use as protection but to use as entertainment. In addition to music another type of media that has a correlation to the use of guns is video games. Nowadays most played video games involve guns, For example 5 star rated game “ Grand Theft Auto “ has had the gaming industry skyrocket. Grand Theft Auto is a criminal based games where you use firearms to gain money, rob and murder your rival gang, and complete heist to rob banks for a score. Games like this can lead to an outbreak on gun control because GTA is a widely dominant forage groups 13- adulthood. So if the game is making killing people and having guns look cool how might someone react? After two teenagers killed twelve of their peers and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999, “ it was widely reported that they had played the shooter game 'Doom.' Ferguson told CNN this week. 'Society was absolutely behind this issue of linking video game violence to mass shootings.'

SubTopic: How Have Music Artists been impacted By Gun Violence?

Other than those who lost their lives to gun violence like iconic rap icons Biggie Smalls aka Christopher Wallace and Tupac aka Tupac Amaru Shakur, rappers have been heavily impacted by gun violence. Atlanta rapper T.I has been in and out of court for most of his rap career due to possession of a firearm. T.I was once arrested and charged for the possession of a machine gun which then later caused him to miss the BET Hip-Hop awards. In addition, rapper Lil wayne has also been caught with a abundance of firearms and has also been sent to jail and charged with criminal possession of a gun. Gangsta rap and firearm viciousness have an entangled relationship of causality, and very regularly the cooperative association between the two gets mixed up for parasitism by parties who see the music forcing a criminal mentality on receptive youth. If rappers themselves are getting caught with weapons and illegal firearms it is nearly impossible to say gun violence and music has no correlation.

SubTopic: Homicide

Chicago has had one of the highest murder rates in the past 5 years. Since 2001, Chicago has experienced 7,916 murders (as of September 06, 2016). According to

rappers-and-gun-violence-exploring-hip-hops-love-of-firearms/. The number of Americans killed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was 2,384 and 4,504 respectively since 2001. the use of gus and their relationship and correlation to hip hop and the “ Drill Music” movement. Craig S. Jenkins explains that “ the war on drugs and the resultant gun violence in the inner city kicked up the sparks that ignited gangsta rap, and the first wave of superstars of the genre were very vocal about their role”. This source is useful because it explains how hip hop and drill music have impacted certain areas in the us like Chicago. In addition it also list the pioneers of hip hop and big artist kids look up to and listen to everyday like Gucci Mane, T.I., 50 Cent, and the group who arguably started it all NWA. Craig S. Jenkins, Craigs agenda is to inform how music promoting gun violence can have immense power influencing teens. Other age groups participate in having a gun and using it contributing to gun violence. According to Newsweek. 15 Dec. 2016,, it says, “ Nelson was the 238th homicide in Chicago this year. By early March, experts worried the total number of homicides could reach 600 in 2016, a startling increase over any year in the past decade. But the pace of the killings accelerated, and by the end of November, the city had more than 700 murders for the first time since 1998; that’s more murders than in New York City and Los Angeles combined”. The effect of Hip hop and the beginning of another development in music that started an expansion of weapon viciousness in its Drill music made popular in chicago during its sparked our reach of gun violence, gives a direct look on the boulevards of Chicago and how cash and music is causing devastation. Its likewise gives restrictive meetings infamous street pharmacists in Chicago and late craftsman and gang members that are immune to the “Chiraq” lifestyle and so forth. Taped from a perspective on Chicago locals can clarify, the narrative talks about how despite the fact that there are monstrous positive accomplishments in the music business, there is still catastrophe happening and it's motivation is fierce and unequivocal verses in music. The creators and movie producers all had a direct look on the normal life in chicago and all can relate from various purpose of perspectives.

SubTopic: Past Vs. Today

The US is home to more privately owned guns than any other country, two hundred and seventy million of them. It also boots the record in guns-per-capita; 88.8 firearms to every 100 citizens.Many people within America grow weary of the heavy gun homicide rate, rounding to just about 65% of all homicide and causing nine thousand deaths a year; the mass shootings, some of which are considered the worst tragedies in American history; and especially the devastating deaths of children the country has experienced. Back then NWA and many other hip hop pioneers culturised a movement, and thus has been havoc. Back on the west coast Rodney King Sared outrage in California, this sparked NWA hit “ Fuc* the police “.. Derogatory lyrics were created and gun violence has to yet calm down, its gotten worse in like cities like Chicago which originated Drill music and in which got the nickname “ chiraq “ after surpassing Iraq and Afghanistan in total number of deaths. In 2014 Chicago had 7,916 total deaths as to Iraq 4,504 and Afghanistan was 2,384.

Resolution & Conclusion

Firearms have been the subject of ongoing controversies in American society, Hip-Hop culture and law. In the United States there are about Three Hundred Million plus guns that are accessible, there are as many guns as human beings living in the country. The United States has the highest rate of civilian firearm ownership in the world. Firearms contribute significantly to homicide and suicide as causes of death in the United States, causing 11,078 homicides in 2010. Hip-Hop has also plays a key role in gun violence and the death toll in the United States. The violent lyrics in many rap songs may not seem like a big deal but they actually have a influence on the audience. Previously stated infamous group like NWA sparked outrage back in the 1990’s with their album “ Straight Outta Compton “ which featured the notorious song “ Fu** The Police”. The song was a vocal point in which stood against police but was on the rise to contribute to the gun usage in the United States. In a Radio program “Rap Music Linked to Alcohol, Violence.' Hosted by Ed Gordon, Ed talks about the effect of Hip Jump and the begin of a unused development within the music industry that started an increment of weapon viciousness.A later consider by the Anticipation Investigate Center of the Pacific Founded for Inquire about and Assessment in Berkeley, Calif., recommends youthful individuals who tune in to rap and hip-hop are more likely to manhandle liquor and commit savage acts. Ed Gordon talks about the issue with Denise Group, an relate teacher at the College of California Berkeley School of Open Wellbeing, and David Jernigan, official chief of the Center on Liquor Promoting and Youth at Georgetown College.

Resolutions & Suggestions:

  1. Buying a gun should be like buying a house:
  2. Pass gun laws that actually reduce gun violence
  3. Censor violent and derogatory rap lyrics
  4. Require Background Checks for All Gun Sales no matter how rich or famous the person is
  5. DON’T BUY THE MUSIC. Then the artist will not get any sales and won’t make music
  6. Perhaps deliver positive messages in rap songs speaking about the issue.

These Suggestion can help reduce gun violence in both Hip-Hop and can reduce gun violence in the United states. If the government was to censor violent rap lyrics then the song wouldn’t play a major role in the usage of guns because the lyrics wouldn't be heard making less of a impact. In addition if you require a background check for all gun buyers then the likelihood of it getting into the wrong hands nearly impossible. Adding on if people just don’t buy the music then it wouldn’t make any sales eliminating the song and possibly the artist as well. Lastly if music artist stop speaking about guns and the usage of guns glorifying murder they could perhaps deliver a positive message advocating against the usage of guns reducing hip hop’s negative impact on gun violence.

My research question is “What impact does music have on teen gun violence in the United States?” The findings revealed that music does in fact have a impact on gun violence in the United states. This is because musical artist build up such a fanbase fans actually look up to the artist and not only listen to his or hers music but also listen to the messages they deliver. Like 'The Field: Violence, Hip Hop & Hope in Chicago Documentary” stated, “ Drill music was the pioneer to making it out of chicago.” Then goes on to state, “500 homicides 124 in a weekend”. This highlights how music in places like chicago have heavily impacted the youth just by listening to music artist aren’t aware about the power they have and how much of impact they have on their fans and other people who listen to their music. Artist like Chief Keef a Chicago native are banned from performing in Chicago because the message his music displays and the result that his music has. On his album release year 2014 Chicago which became known as “Chiraq” passed Afghanistan in total number of deaths. I chose this topic because i wanted to get more into depth about the impact music artist have on society and specifically gun violence. I love music of all kind but I mostly listen to Hip-Hop and rap, and sometimes when I listen to a song I notice that most of the songs glorify having a gun or sex, money, drugs. Chief Keef being one of my favorite artist i wanted to know how does he and other artist like him influence and impact gun violence a society as a whole.

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Influence of Hip-Hop And Gun Violence in the United States: Analytical Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
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