A Short History of Gangs and Rap Music
By Tauqeer Ul Hassan
It can be said that gangs and rap music are somehow related to each other because rap music is almost considered akin to gangs and prison. In fact the first rap track was released by a gang called the Sugerhill Gang, their track ‘Rappers Delight’ had hit #36 on the US pop charts and #2 on the US R&B charts.
The history of gangs is as old as humans ever existed in towns. It can be as long as piracy. States authorities generally consider gangs to be disturbing elements although many gangs see themselves as protectors of their community and performing a justifiable social service. Rap, on the other hand is a style of poetic rhyming set to a heavy beat often including a chorus sung by another performer in the style of traditional pop, rhythm and blues. It is mainly an American medium of music but in recent years has boosted onto the world stage and rappers can now be found in almost every country.
As gangs and rap are related with each other, they have always struggled in their history and some were jailed before their performance. There is not a lot of information about gangs that existed before Roman times in ancient history. Many historians are of a view that if gangs were a law and order problem in Rome then older states and empires must be familiar with gangs.
There was a major boost in the popularity of Rap music in the 80s with the first gangster rap singles projecting rappers such as Ice-T and Niggas With Attitude made their way into the positions of famous and well-known rap performers. There was disagreement over their choice regarding track names and lyrics. Fuck the Police and Cop Killer were the name of such songs that added problems.
Although the gruesome presentations of murders and gangster shootings of rap performers was not good and it shook the industry but it did nothing to adversely affect the uptake of rap as a mainstream music style. Artists like Tupac, Shakur Notorious B.I.G., Big L and Jam Master Jay were all gunned down in drive-by mafia style murders.
Some people consider rap music as bad because they are related to gangs. Regardless of this, there has been growth in rap music. Performers from outside the traditional base have been encouraged by rap music like Eminem, Lil Kim and Salt n Pepa. These performers have successfully proved that rap music is not at all the identity of black males.