I MUST say that hip-hop has gone a long way since its emergence during the late 70’s. From bouncy house party music in the impoverished suburbs of the Bronx, hip-hop has become a multi-billion dollar industry that includes record sales, clothing lines, and even video games.

And oh, by the way, hip-hop also happens to be the biggest culture in the world, embracing people from all races and faces.

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Hip-hop founders were just in their teens when they created hip-hop. Now who would have thought that it would be so big in a span of just roughly three decades?

I have been a fan of hip-hop music for quite a while now and I must say I have developed a passion for it. It is such a huge influence to me that I could say that what I am right now is partly because of hip-hop.

A few days ago, I watched a documentary called “Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes.” It talked about the issues that were the very reason why hip-hop music is being criticized; violence, drugs, sexism, and homophobia. The director of the film said that he is also very passionate about hip-hop, yet he can’t stand the fact that rap music industry still can’t address those problems.

Being a fan of the music myself, I am fully aware of the presence of these in many songs. In fact, I am also an avid listener of gangsta rap. Most of the stuff I listen to came from early to mid-90’s, where gangsta rap was dominating the hip-hop scene courtesy of the biggest names in the genre like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and the late-greats Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., among other artists which you might never heard of.

As I was watching the documentary, it was still somehow felt disheartened with what has happened to hip-hop. The biggest problem in hip-hop not only today but also from the previous generations is really the fact that everyone wants to be “somebody else”. Just to gain and maintain their street cred, rappers claim they rob, sold drugs, been in jail, got shot, and all those stuff. And of course, there’s got to be a lot of cussing in their rhymes.

Then there’s the problem in the way they look the women. You see it in music videos, where scantily-clad women dance in the clubs, around the rapper who throws money above them and calling them names that I can’t say here.

All for these sake of “keepin’ it real” and “staying true to the game” type of mentality that was being passed on since the emergence of rap music. Tough guy persona is commonly portrayed by the so-called “studio gangsters.”

Rap music sends a very powerful message to its listeners. While some say that they just rap about what the reality being in the ‘hood, they made it look cool to be running around with thugs and hustlers, toting guns, selling crack in the streets, among other criminal activities.

On the other hand, our late-great Francis Magalona was fully aware of this responsibility. His music brings positive message to us, empowering us by displaying our national pride.

I love hip-hop music, can never be able to justify all its negative elements since these are also the ones that destroy its very foundation, which is to build a better society and promote equality among the people.