The Need for More Research on the effect of Rap and Gansta Rap on African American Adolescents Today


It has been argued that more research on the effect of music and its content on the health risk behaviors of African American adolescents are needed. A number of studies have been done to try and determine what exact effects may occur on this selected group of adolescents. Research has shown that the number of African American adolescents who listen to rap or gansta rap with explicit lyrics use of drugs is on the rise.


Since a high number of African American adolescents are exposed to more violence in their everyday life and don’t have those positive role models to look up too, the effect of this gansta rap or rap seems real and almost fantasy like in some aspects to them. It is hypothesized that rap music or gansta rap music (there is a difference) can have a negative effect on a high number of African American adolescents. The purpose of this study is to see what type of influence rap or gansta rap will have on the average African American adolescents. Twenty African American adolescents ages 13-17 were selected for this study. Ten of young adolescent participants were from single parent homes who have both parents involved in their everyday lives and the other ten young adolescent African American participants were from single parent homes with only one parent involved in their lives. Each and every participant was given a survey to complete with a range of questions concerning the type of music they preferred, their favorite songs and performer, if they have ever experimented with drugs and who they considered as a role model to them and what fascinated them to rap or gansta rap. The results from this study were conclusive that more research on this subject to find out the total effect that rap or gansta rap has on the behavior of young adolescent African Americans.


Although it has been shown thru countless research studies and projects, there is still some confusion as to why certain types of music have the strong effects that they do on adolescents in general and especially on the group of participants that were selected for this study.


According to Hawkins, Cantelano & Miller 1992; Petraitis, Flay, Torpy and Greiner 1998, “a wide variety of factors have been linked with drug use, including family, peer, and individual characteristics. In addition, the potential influence of media messages on the behavior of adolescence has raised concerns among parents, pediatricians, politicians, and researchers. Researchers continue to investigate a possible casual relationship. A number of strategies have been suggested to counteract the impact of negative media messages, including educational programs designed to enhance literacy among our youth, efforts to enhance parental monitoring and changes in labeling and marketing practices but the entertainment industry.” But as we study and do research on this entire very complicated and interesting subject, we have to look at the fact that drugs have been around a long time before rap music was here. Some may attribute the seventies with the hippies and the fifties with the rock and roll, but who is to say the real cause of music and its effect on young adolescent African Americans. There are too many objectives in this category.


After reviewing the answers from the surveys that the participants were given, we realized that regardless of the home situation of the participants, the answers were pretty much the same ones. Eighteen out of twenty students believed that rap music was just the feelings of the writer and believed to be “REAL” to them. They believed that just because the rapper or performer said it was okay to get high or drink or have unprotected sex, they didn’t believe that it was the only reason to condone on such things. Peer pressure had a lot to do with the decisions that they made from clothes to friends to sexual relationships to experimenting with drugs. My study also has found out that the group of young adolescent African American participants that were chosen in this group also didn’t worry about tomorrow or the effects of what they were doing today had on them tomorrow. The results were conclusive that more