Music and criminality: a thin line between love and hate 

Music has become the breaking ground for accusations of breeding criminal activities. There are those that say that music promotes criminal activities and are the cause of criminal behavior. On the flip side are those who are producing the music.  They say that they aren’t producing what they want to see in the streets but are merely talking about things they have seen and experienced in their own communities. Music no matter the genre, all have critics; none who have continuously linked all music in the genre to criminality, except those that go against the main stream ideals such as hip-hop, rap, reggae and rock-n-roll just to name a handful. To say that any music breeds criminality is a LONG stretch but it is also has some truth embedded.

Music has always been known to effect  those who listen to it. It has been proven effective when protesting major issues around the globe. But, it also proves to be very positive. Studies say having a child listen to classical music is great for enhancement of the brain even in the womb. This claim must have great weight as it has been taken into childcare centers all over the globe. There also have been studies and claims that have shown that music is a form of counseling for children as well as adults. Both studies prove that music has a very positive effect in people’s lives, but they don’t have enough to discredit the claims that music also promote criminal behavior, it’s just the other side of the story–a very convincing side.  

In today’s society there are a lot of changes that are coming in waves. Many of the changes were spoken of in the past through music and people thought those artists were viewed as crazy–having a negative effect on society such as: Nas, Common, Lauryn Hill, Xavier Rudd, Loren Kate, Minority Traditions, Mel Dobra, Salif Keita, Angélique Kidjo, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and the list could go on. Not to discredit other genres but it seems that mainly music created by those of color have taken the most heat for socially conscious music. This may indeed have something to do with the increasingly alarm around predominately poor communities and the law enforcement. Such accusations as murder, desciete and hate by musicians are nothing new, especially to those who have come from neighborhoods identified as poor, uncontained, hood, low class and any other title you can name which identifies with such neighborhoods.

Many times, musicians are a voice for those who either can’t be heard or simply are ignored by the masses. It’s one thing to say “you can make it,” but, it’s another to give hope of making it because you are alike with those wanting to be heard. Race is the minimal factor because there are people of all races living in poor conditions, without being heard or having a voice, and never having a chance to say their peace before death or even in some cases extermination. Change is something that may not ever happen in all the right places, but it has a chance to be heard through music. 

Musicians are not just writing about things they have heard but they’re merely portraying what they have seen, experienced, many times both and what they want to see change. Escalations of criminal activity tend to happen when people who do not fully understand the fight from within make assumptions from the outside or upper class view. This can lead to accusations such as music makes criminal rates higher, it breeds criminals, it only talks of “those people,” is devil worship, is a disgrace to a country, shows ignorance of particular groups of people, and is made by “certain people” to start troubles. All races make music expressing what they think is right or wrong. Ultimately it is the consumers responsibility to analyze the truths and wrongs of what they CHOOSE to listen to. Just as with religion, everyone has a choice as to what they believe. Music breeds no more criminality than the news and other informative social platforms. What people fail to realize is that music is yet another socially conscious platform to express freely a persons or artists feelings about the state of the world in which they are surrounded and live. Music is not a breeding ground for criminal activity but a true thin line between love and hate; a line that has to be walked carefully or you’ll quickly become susceptible to a profile of only hate. 


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