We asked the people of Ann Arbor what they think about the current state of rap and hip hop. Here’s what they had to say.

“I think I like (rap) somewhat on an aesthetic level, but most of the time, I feel like it is incredibly derogatory, misogynistic, homophobic, violent, bigoted, obsessed with the wrong values. Money. Drugs. Misogyny. Sexual prowess.”

“A friend the other day showed me 50 Cent’s Twitter. And it was Un. Be. Lievable. It was unbelievable. Not only did he seem just retarded, it was some of the most disgusting things I’ve ever read in my life. His whole value is like, he’s been shot however many times and whatever. I’m not down with that.”

Zach Goldsmith
Senior, LSA

“I think it gets a bad rep because you have people like Lil Wayne talking about smoking weed and ‘pussy, pussy, pussy’ all the time. Eminem talks about how his life is fucked up and how he was a drug addict … The topics are explicit, and I think that’s why it gets a bad rep, because it’s just stuff that people don’t want to hear about.”

Zane McCormick
Sophomore, Engineering

“Nas, Mos Def, Wu Tang … Jay Electronica’s pretty good too. J Cole’s pretty good, definitely Eminem, Lil Wayne …”

Tim Acciaioli
Sophomore, Engineering

“I think it’s a great genre of music. It opens up a lot of different ways of expression for a lot of different groups than it was originally intended for.”

“Probably my favorite is Atmosphere, from the Midwest. And it still falls under the genre but it’s not the kind of subject matter that most of hip hop and rap would be usually associated with.”

Jenny Hinkle
Freshman, LSA

“The only time I really hear it is when I’m at a stoplight and there’s a car next to me, playing it. But one thing I’ve noticed is that it can be people of all different ages, sometimes it’ll be someone who even looks 50 years old listening to it. But I don’t really listen to it myself, I don’t really understand it. I can’t hear it.” (use this.)

Sharon Randall
Alumna

“I listen to rap from France, Germany, the U.K. and various parts of Africa. I think, to me, hip hop and rap is the voice of the youth, globally. I think it’s a powerful instrument. For example, in countries like France, hip hop has become the voice of the disenfranchised.”

“I like K’naan. Nneka, an Afro-German rapper. Then there’s some French rap that I enjoy. The U.K. has Dizzee Rascal, those are some of the artists I like.”

Laura Kupe
Grad Student, Law

“I prefer upbeat hip hop — in other words, I prefer things with a positive message. Like, Blackalicious has got an extremely positive message in all of his lyrics. Things that are showing people how it really is in the world, rather than how it is in this fictional hip-hop world that newer artists have created. There aren’t really many groups that I can’t point to that put it out that way. Binary Star is one. They came from Plymouth, Michigan I believe — right around here — and played a bunch of shows.”

Thomas Wright
Café Ambrosia Employee

“I’m a huge fan of hip hop, not so much rap, and I think there’s a real distinction between the two. Rap is more mainstream, while hip hop is more constructive. It’s underground. It’s like the indie version of any other type of music. Rap is more the sugar-pop version of other types of music.”

Rubin Quarcoopome
Junior, LSA

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