Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wait, what are you saying?

The other day, I asked my roommate about what he thought of 2pac.

"Hey, ya like 2pac?"

"2pac is a hypocrite! Talkin' bout respecting women and peace then going around and rapping about killing!"

Now, I don't have a stance on 2pac at all since I don't know much about him, but it got me thinking. Hypocrisy in rapping is interesting because most rappers do have songs like "I fuck bitches all day, I don't want to hear them talk", AND songs about God and love. It's not fair to single out 2pac since many rappers seem to have many conflicting ideas. For example, "Kim" is a song by Eminem that I listened to recently about murdering his wife. Kimberley Scott, the person in question in the song, is indeed alive, despite the song's clear implication that Eminem murdered her.

In class, we talked about personae in rap, and how he cannot automatically associate the "I" in a song with the actual rapper. Therefore, the hypocrisy in songs and personal life of rappers may be due to the fact that when a rapper is rapping, it's just a persona. Furthermore, multiple personae from one rapper can represent different sides of a rapper, so he/she is entitled to conflicting ideas due to different personae.

What are your opinions?


  1. Interesting thoughts about hypocrisy in rap...I actually think a big part of rappers' authenticity comes from them exposing different personae in different tracks. This is because I see these personae as an outlet for describing an artist's current state of mind; the work of most genuine hip hop artists often stems from personal experience and their feelings about what they're going through.
    The fact that we all have "fuck bitches" days and "love everybody" days is part of life--it's part of what makes us human. I'm not so sure that I see rappers as contradicting themselves as much as exposing themselves to a greater extent by letting conflicting ideas loose through multiple personae.

  2. This is very true, but I believe that this is largely due to personae as you said. Rappers create personae to rap about what people want to hear. Their lyrics may not actually reflect their personalitites or views. A perfect example of this is 50 Cent not allowing his children to listen to explicit versions of his music. As Curtis Jackson at home, he is most likely not the 50 Cent we are used to seeing.

  3. I agree that this hypocrisy has to do with the fact that rappers often use multiple personae to reflect the different sides of their personalities. They frequently rap about internal conflicts through these personae, and this can create contradictory messages in their music. I think that this contradiction is an important part of hip-hop because it shows that human beings are complex and multifaceted. People often have internal conflicts and various, opposing sides to their personalities, and the hypocrisy found in these songs simply reflects this reality.


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