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Hip-Hop Lyrics By: Lucia A. Crespo


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Lucia A. Crespo




            Hip-hop listener Adrien Acevedo likes the new trend in lyrics toward less tough talk and more positive images of real life. “It’s not all about sex or money, but about dreams that people want to accomplish,” Acevedo said. 


            Hip-hop music is a key to the artist’s soul because he speaks the truth through his music, said Acevedo, 21.  “Hip-hop music is more of a lifestyle because it’s real-life situations and explains how one lives their life,” he said.


            Like Acevedo, many fans are reacting positively to changes in hip-hop lyrics, which are becoming less controversial and more tame. Gone are the derogatory references to women and sexuality, as well as the violence-laced themes of the past.  Hip-hop songs also are less focused on materialism and hip-hop artists are not so prone to attack each other in their music.


          Instead, hip-hop focuses on dreams and hardships people face. Songs now recall what the artist is going through and how people can relate to their problems.


           While rap and hip-hop may be changing, the transition has not helped overall sales. 

            The New York Times reported last year that music sales are down all over, but hip-hop has been hit particularly hard. Rap sales fell 21 percent from 2005 to 2006, and that trend seems to be continuing, the newspaper said.


          Meanwhile, two well-known hip-hop artists, Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West, have tamed their lyrics. 


           Many < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” ?>Chicago listeners applaud the transition.


            Naydeen Rodriguez, 18, is a senior at Prosser Academy High School on the Northwest side. “Hip-hop is freedom of expression through music and now they’re throwing more of an R & B tone to add softness to it,” Rodriguez said.


         She said the changes in the lyrics are positive because the songs focus on real-life situations.  “Fiasco raps about the city that he lives in and how fame gets to people. Kanye West has always been a rapper to speak his mind in a good way, and raps about his mother who passed away,” she said. “It’s not about which rapper is better; it’s about how they want to spread to others how they feel.”


     Rodriguez said artists are amazing the changes because they’re tired of the same old lyrics and thuggish beat.


      Naythen Camacho, 15, a sophomore at Lake View High School, said he likes hip-hop music that he can relate to or that he can simply enjoy with no controversy. He believes people are always looking for something new to hear in hip-hop music.


      “The lyrics are better than what they used to be. This is good for selling the music because people will appreciate it more and will want to buy it,” Camacho said.  He also likes rappers West, Fiasco and Common. 



            Acevedo said the new hip-hop is easier for people to listen to, especially among younger listeners.  Many kids listen to the radio and feel more inspired by the upbeat lyrics, he said.


            Producers work with artists to help them generate beats for their music.  A producer, Eric Murphy, 19, is a student at Columbia College and said he agrees with fans that lyrics are changing. Murphy hopes to become a producer but is studying music at Columbia.  Murphy said that he wants to learn more about the business side to music.


            Murphy is also an intern at Pressure Point Recording Studio at Michigan and 2nd streets.


            “I agree that there are changes in the lyrics but it also depends on the artist. Some are switching it up and some don’t care and do it just for the money,” Murphy said. “I think hip-hop changes a lot but, me personally, I don’t work with artists who degrade women.”


            Murphy said the changes are good for artists because now it’s about making a name for yourself. 


            “I don’t think people will necessarily buy hip-hop music because it doesn’t have anything to do with sales at all.  Internet downloads are messing up the music industry and it hurts the artist because they are not making money or everyone else involved in the project,” he said. 


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