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For many young Americans, hip hop and rap are a way of life and entertainment.  Ask any male, and he will tell you that hip hop and rap are all about being overly sexual, living a thug life, and protecting an image of hyper-masculinity. Is this really the message the hip hop community WANTS to be selling? In the documentary Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and  Rhymes, the world of hip hop music is put under investigation.  I believe that this movie gave this music genre a fair representation, not just focusing on a handful of artists or a given time period, but really encompassing all aspects of hip hop music. In addition, the interviews with rap and hip hop artists themselves helped sell me on the legitimacy of the movie’s claims.  For many of these artists, they write about, sing about, and rap about what sells.  They have a mold in which their rhymes must fit, otherwise it will not work for the record companies.  As pointed out in the movie, the same record companies producing the majority of hip hop music today are led by white men.  White men are deciding what can and cannot be mentioned in a song and what the content should contain, not the artists.  This is a form of racism which only serves to enhance stereotypes of African American youth and adults.  The hip hop music presented to Americans today stigmatizes the black community in ways that are simply not fair.

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