Hip Hop Lyrics

Hip hop lyrics are also many times called rap music lyrics and came into existence in the United States in the 1970s. Hip hop lyrics reflect the hip hop culture that includes emceeing (rapping), deejaying, breakdancing and graffiti.

Hip hop music began in The Bronx, New York among the African American youth where the MC would introduce the DJ who would sometimes employ record scratching and other production techniques to enhance the sound and experience. Over time, the MCs began speaking on top of the musical production with jokes, anecdotes and other exhortations.

Hip hop lyrics typically employ inner-city slang with poetic devices such as alliteration, assonance and rhyme. The slang of hip hop lyrics may include words like yo, dis, flow, phat and homie.

Censorship issues have been the greatest with hip hop music lyrics more than any other genre of music. Since many hip hop lyrics are filled with expletives that reflect life on the street in the inner cities, radio stations and record companies have been hard pressed not the change lyrics in order to make the albums more palatable and marketable to a larger audience.

In order to thwart the censors, Snoop Dogg in his hip hop music lyrics, started to place an “izz” or “izzn” in the middle of sensitive words, so that the word “shit” may become “shizznit” in its place. There has been much criticism over the years that hip hop lyrics are too violent, sexual, homophobic, anti-establishment and portray women poorly.

Some of this has been true, some of the time. But, to lump all hip hop lyrics together is a mistake. Some of the most widely censored of the hip hop music lyrics have been those by the most popular artists such as Eminem and Tupac Shakur, with sales of over 80 million records each. Unfortunately, Tupac or 2Pac as he is sometimes called, was killed in a shooting in 1996, but his music lives on and sales continue to be strong more than 10 years after his death.

Hip hop lyrics have been likened to what rock music lyrics used to be and in some cases have taken the place of rock and folk songs within the culture. Offending the governing establishment and giving voice to those who have had so little voice in our culture, hip hop music lyrics have been a way to shake things up, get people debating and reinvigorate the music industry and culture. And, that can’t be all bad, now can it?