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Art has an impact in the community irrespective of the form of art in question. In most of the cases cultural objects are influenced by happenings in the community. However, there are several cases when cultural products usher in change and influence the perception of the community towards certain issues. The NWA Hip hop group is a cultural object of interest. NWA is an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes. It is one of the earliest and most influential gangster rap group. The group members included DJ Yella, Arabian prince, MC Ren, Ice Cube and Eazy –E. The group was highly controversial in the nature of lyrics that it employed in its songs. Below is a detailed analysis of the group.
There are certain values which were associated with the group. However, the group was highly controversial in its approach towards most of the issues in the community. The lyrics from their music has a tendency to promote drug use. The group was vibrant at such a time when the society was battling drug and substance abuse. However, the nature of message which was associated with their music was contrary to the expectations of the community (Smitherman, Pg. 8). Their lyrics watered down the efforts of the community in fighting drug and substance abuse as they glorified the use of drugs and made it seem cool. The approach towards crime was also another source of controversy. It is no doubt that the group’s lyrics had a tendency to encourage crime in the community. It made crime to appear to be a cool thing. Their music may have inspired most of their youths into the life of crime. It is also notable their lyrics depicted a certain level of hatred towards the police. It highly condemned the police brutality which was rampant at the time when the musical group was vibrant. It is also clear that the group was associated with disrespect to the women in the community. The message in their songs highly looked down upon women in the community (Pinn, Pg. 6). It derailed the efforts to ensure gender equity in the community. On the positive note the group stood up against racial profiling in the community. There was a high correlation between racial profiling and police brutality where the black faced the brutality of the police. The high level of controversy associated with their music may have led to them being denied airplay in most radio stations in America.
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The NWA group was a representation of the wider social assumptions in the community. On the issues related to police brutality, it is no doubt that the group was able to achieve commendable achievement in making public the plight of the blacks in the community. It was at such times when the police were engaging in racial profiling and the blacks ended up meeting the brutality of the police (Jackson, Pg. 14). The message on ethnic profiling and police brutality would be reproduced in other music, movies and even novels. Their message to the police was a representation of the wider social assumptions in the community.
There are various experiences regarding the interpretation of the music from the NWA group. There are certain songs which were marred with controversy. Sections of the community who were opposed to drug and substance abuse definitely had the feeling that the group was watering down the efforts on campaigns to discourage drug abuse. However, to the part of the community which was engaging in drug abuse, they may have drawn their inspirations from the lyrics of their songs. Notably, their songs which were associated with promoting drug abuse and crime may have found favor among such sects of the community. The lyrics of the songs may have not sound well before the feminists in the community. The group was famous for their ill attitude towards women in the community. Their disrespectful attitude towards women in the community may have been responsible for them lacking audience among the feminists in the community. Some sections of the black people in the community and those who had experiences with police brutality may have the group as their champions. It definitely shared out their experiences. On the issues regarding racism in the community, the group was outspoken and easily found favor within the sections of the community who were victims of police brutality. It is no doubt that there were both positive and negative interpretations regarding the nature off music that the group promoted in the community.
The group contributed significantly to shaping cultural expectations and ideas. While the community would expect a sound and highly influential group to stand up against certain vices such as crime and drug abuse, the NWA group engaged in the reverse of it. However, despite their controversy, the group was vital in promoting peaceful coexistence of the members of the community regardless of their race while also championing for an end to police brutality.
The musical group was pivotal in influencing the formation of identity in the community. It was highly associated with black people in the community. A move to associate with the group would create the notion that either one was engaging in a life of crime and also abusing drugs. It also helped identity with sections of the community who were against police brutality (Turner, Pg. 12). The identity in most of the cases depended on the nature of lyrics promoted by their particular songs. While song of the songs were filed with controversy, some were critical in creating positive identities in the community.
The role of the NWA group in the community is diverse. Essentially, the group ought to entertain the members of the community. Notably, it would also speak for the voiceless in regarding atrocities related with police brutality. It is apparent that there are essential elements of its form that enabled it to achieve its role. The composition of the lyrics is a unique aspect associated with the group. The group was also able to adhere to the convention of the larger genre of music. It was able to maintain aspects of hip hop in its lyrics and beat of the music.
The NWA group played a significant role in shaping the community. It is notable that the musical group was able to speak put on a number of issues in the community such as police brutality and racism. However, there were controversies associated with the group on issues to do with respect for women, crime and drugs. The group created an identity in the community upon a successful utilization of some of its basic elements.
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- Smitherman, Geneva. ““The Chain Remain the Same” Communicative Practices in the Hip Hop Nation.” Journal of Black Studies 28.1 (1997): 3-25.
- Pinn, Anthony B. “‘Gettin’grown’: Notes on gangsta rap music and notions of manhood.” Journal of African American Men 1.4 (1996): 23-35.
- Prince, Arabian, et al. “NWA Explained.”
- Strings, Sabrina. “Maintaining the Status Quo Rap Music Preferences.”
- Jackson, Ronald L., and Sakile Kai Camara. “Scripting and consuming black bodies in hip hop music and pimp movies.” Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2010.
- Turner, Kisha E. “Beat it out the frame”: Challenging black masculinity in Hip Hop. California State University, Dominguez Hills, 2011.