As previously discussed, rap has undergone a change. It began in the "La Di Da Di" style by Slick Rick, with a simple beat-boxing background, and evolved to works like Warren G's "Regulate" where the melody was arguably more important than the lyrics.
Today, rap exists in many forms. In some cases, the lyrics become the focal point, and in others, the melodies and beats are more important. The argument in many of these posts have been over what the artists specifically say in there songs. While some times it is true that the meaning comes from the specific words, often times, however, the purpose of these songs come instead from the the overall feeling that the listener comes away with at the end, frequently, given by the beat. In fact Christopher Lirette himself said that sometimes when poets listen to poems they do not over analyze them; instead, they listen for enjoyment and at the end say that was a good poem. If poets do that for poems, a form of lyricism that is usually read slowly and dramatized, tempting people to look at each work and phrase specifically, why then can we not use this same technique for rap music, a form of lyricism that is usually spoken rapidly making it nearly impossible to even understand each word unless you have the lyrics. It is very difficult to argue that Sean Paul wants anyone to focus on each specific word in his song "Temperature" as they are nearly incomprehensible. This song/video can be viewed here:
Yet, this same song makes me want to dance. In "Temperature", Sean Paul could have been talking about drugs, sex, or violence. Were it not for the music video, I probably would have had no idea But at the end of the song, I am left with an excited feeling as my heart is pumping and my feet are moving.
Furthermore, according to stress-and-relief.com, the sixth best way to relieve stress is to listen to music, not necessarily the suggested calming music, but the music that is soothing for you. The cite goes on to say, "Playing music in the background, even though you are busy in some other activity and are not aware of the music, also reduces stress." This is probably why so many people listen to music while they are doing homework and spending time with friends. In a specific case, when I listen to rap music and do my homework, I must be focused on my work for any of it to get accomplished. Therefore, I cannot be focused on the specific words of the song and I end up swaying to the rhythm of the song while focusing on my homework. I am sure that this is not an isolated case. In these cases, the student is not worried about whether the rapper is talking about smoking or pillaging villages, or even raping, because the words are not thoroughly being thought about. In these cases, what becomes important is the melody.