Six Reasons You Should Let Your Child Listen to Hip Hop

Ross Simmonds

Hip Hop Babies | Lil Wayne & Biggie

My first love was Hip Hop.

Now, I know Hip Hop gets a bad rap (pun fully intended) but I’m not of the belief that all Hip Hop music is bad. If you can get past some of the language and ignore the songs that are about booty poppin and lip gloss; there really is some quality to be found in the lyrics and skills of these artists.

If you follow Hip Hop closely you can agree that there isn’t really a balance between the good and the bad. For every Jay-Z, you come across three new artists with a 2 year career and two one hit wonders talking absolutely nothing. What I love about hip hop is the brilliance of artists like Eminem, Childish Gambino, Lupe Fiasco and Macklemore. Their ability to string together words in a way that has a deeper meaning than you first notice is impeccable. In addition to those raw MC skills, I also love the hustle & business acumen of artists like 50 cent, Jay-Z, Puff Daddy and  Dr.Dre.

Now, I know what you are thinking, Hip Hop isn’t for kids. It’s degrading to women and glorifies crime, drugs and encourages violence. And although you are correct as it relates to some of the music, you shouldn’t paint the entire genre with the same brush. Just because some songs don’t tickle your fancy, doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few things from a few of the greats within this genre.

Here are six reasons why you and your kids should listen to Hip Hop:

1. Because it’s important to understand & embrace the struggle.

Eminem-Recovery-Lyrics

Whether it’s stories about growing up in the projects or battling addiction; Hip Hop is filled with stories of struggle and overcoming professional & personal obstacles. Ben Horowitz talks about the Struggle for entrepreneurs and uses the lyrics of Lupe Fiasco to further demonstrate the idea behind his thoughts. The Lu Ben shares the fact that in entrepreneurship, You start out chasing your dreams and a vision but that vision eventually turn into nightmares and you find yourself in The Struggle.

In Hip-Hop, the struggle is seen as an obstacle that is common. It’s an obstacle that is embraced and one that is put in front of someone not because they aren’t talented but instead because nothing great comes easy. In the lyrics above, you find a quote from the song “Talking to Myself” by Eminem. This song was Eminem sharing the story about his struggle with drug addiction and how he needed to put drugs behind him to become the rapper that he wanted and needed to be. The idea that one of the most recognized rappers in history can come out with a song about his struggle and weakness in such a transparent way is powerful. It sends a message that even those at the top have inner demons and problems and that it’s important to face them.

2. Because it’s important to value ongoing quality work.

Jay-ZEverything-FirstSong

You can learn a handful of business lessons from Jay-Z but one of the most important lessons is the value of quality work. Inspired by an interview with Notorious B.I.G a slain rapper, on his track “My first song” Jay-Z references the importance of treating every song and album as if it’s his first chance to impress the fans. This mentality is important in developing a sense of worth as it relates to giving 100% all the time. It’s a mentality that embraces the idea of always pushing forward and never riding on our past successes to take us into the future.

3. Because it’s important to be confident and comfortable with who you are and embracing those who are different.

Macklemore-SameLove-Lyrics

Hip Hop is about being comfortable in your own skin and being confident in yourself while embracing peoples differences. The early years of Hip Hop were all about being proud of where you came from (the hood) and being proud of your culture. There were a handful of songs that celebrated the struggles of blacks and were meant to give youth a sense of pride and confidence. Whether it’s in a song like “I Know I Can” where Nas proclaims that his “An architect, doctor, maybe an actress But nothing comes easy, it takes much practice” his lyrics speak to young people with the hope of allowing them to recognize that they’re able to achieve their dreams. Furthermore, you look at more recent lyrics from folks like Macklemore who use songs like “Same Love” where he demonstrates support for equal rights for everybody no matter the color of skin or sexual preference.

Over t the last few years, things have been great in terms of progress for Hip Hop. That said, I’m not going to pretend that Hip Hop has always an accepting of people who are different. It’s common knowledge that there have been songs filled with homophobic slurs and degrading rhymes. That said, there’s no doubt the music has come a long way and that the next wave of artists like Macklemore, Frank Ocean & Childish Gambino are more supportive of equal rights for all than ever before. I’m confident that this new wave of music is going to continue making strides in moving society forward.

4. Because they shouldn’t be afraid to chase their dreams.

Lupe Fiasco Quote HipHop

Everyone has dreams. Whether they dream of a simple life or a life filled with fame and success. The reality is, a lot of people are afraid to chase their dreams even though it can be life’s greatest adventure. Hip Hop also reiterates the idea that chasing a dream isn’t going to be easy. It is stated over and over again how hard these artists work to get where they are and through their music you hear that idea over and over again. It only takes one listen to Jay-Z’s “Black Album” to understand the importance of working harder and smarter to get ahead.

When you look at some of the most successful Hip Hop artists over the last three decades it’s clear that the majority of them are living or lived what they saw as the life of their dreams. Whether it was Biggie stating: “Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis When I was dead broke, man I couldn’t picture this” or Jay-Z proclaiming: “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of not trying”. The idea of taking action towards accomplishing something isn’t rocket science or anything groundbreaking. That said, this is a simple idea that many people ignore and don’t embrace over the course of their lives. Instead, they go through their lives with these great ideas of what they should and could be yet die with the lyrics unheard and ideas forever in their head.

5. Because it’s important for them to follow their passions.

Childish Gambino | Lyric | Quote

It seems like there are more people in the world doing jobs they don’t enjoy than the number of people who love what they do every day. For me, I look at many of my friends, former colleagues, partners and peers and it’s as if they live simply for the weekends. They don’t love the things they do from day-to-day. They don’t enjoy their job and they don’t like being around the people they work with. They just go with the flow…

In the Hip Hop classic, Sky’s the Limit , Notorious BIG said “Only make moves when your heart’s in it and live the phrase sky’s the limit.” This simple concept of doing this you truly care about is difficult advice to follow on a daily basis. In fact, there is no doubt that you’re going to have to do things you don’t actually want to do to get where you want to be. That said, keeping your eye on what your heart is ultimately after will  help you push through it. It will help you get through the hard times and achieve your goals.

6. Because they should have the ability to identify what is right and what’s wrong. Even when it’s in the lyrics of their favourite artist.

Some Hip Hop is brutal. Some of it’s beautiful. In life, it’s important to be able to identify and recognize the difference between what’s good and what’s bad. Whether it’s in the lyrics of a song or in the actions of an artist. It’s important to establish your own set of morals and have the ability to make a clear distinction around what is and what isn’t right.

Conclusion

Hopefully this blog post has showed you that Hip Hop isn’t a horrible genre filled with violence, crime and sexism. I myself love it and I don’t think I’ll ever stop listening to the lyrics of the great lyricists when I’m looking for a little late night inspiration or old and gray. You just need to have realistic expectations when you plug in the headphones and recognize that it’s not all sugar plums and lollipops. But if you make the right playlist and truly recognize the good artists from the rest, you’re sure to enjoy the music.

Do you have any favourite hip hop songs that you like to listen to while wired in? Still think Hip Hop is wrong?

 

About Ross Simmonds

Ross Simmonds is a digital marketing strategist who has worked with everything from Fortune 500 companies to startups to drive results using digital marketing and technology.

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107 Comments on "Six Reasons You Should Let Your Child Listen to Hip Hop"

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Donna Merrill
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Hi Ross,  I love all kinds of music and my daughter introduced me to Hip Hop.  Hey, there is positive and negatives in all music, so I feel if someone stereotypes Hip Hop, they are missing out on an art form.  Why let your kids miss out?  Thanks for writing this, Donna Merrill

Ross Simmonds
Guest

Great to hear Donna – thanks for the comment. Like you said, positive & negatives in all genres; all about finding what you like!

Dell
Guest
Dell
I think there are quite a few genres of music that have positive and little to no negative. The many facets of Jazz for one, and polka if you go that route… The thing with hip hop though, is that the junk is what is most available on the radio and for purchase. If you encourage your kids to listen to hip hop, even the good hip hop, they will undoubtably get sucked into listening to the garbage. Because many of the performers, such as sellouts like Jay-Z, tow the line between “positive” and vial. Finding positive messages in hip… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

“Finding positive messages in hip hop is like shoveling through a landfill in search of edible food.” – You’re spot on! It’s challenging to find the good stuff but that’s not exactly a bad thing. If it was easy, it wouldn’t allow for them to make their own choices. Very rarely do the good things in life come easy. Thanks for the comment!

Donna Merrill
Guest

Hi Ross,  I love all kinds of music and my daughter introduced me to Hip Hop.  Hey, there is positive and negatives in all music, so I feel if someone stereotypes Hip Hop, they are missing out on an art form.  Why let your kids miss out?  Thanks for writing this, Donna Merrill

Ross Simmonds
Guest

Great to hear Donna – thanks for the comment. Like you said, positive & negatives in all genres; all about finding what you like!

Dell
Guest
Dell
I think there are quite a few genres of music that have positive and little to no negative. The many facets of Jazz for one, and polka if you go that route… The thing with hip hop though, is that the junk is what is most available on the radio and for purchase. If you encourage your kids to listen to hip hop, even the good hip hop, they will undoubtably get sucked into listening to the garbage. Because many of the performers, such as sellouts like Jay-Z, tow the line between “positive” and vial. Finding positive messages in hip… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

“Finding positive messages in hip hop is like shoveling through a landfill in search of edible food.” – You’re spot on! It’s challenging to find the good stuff but that’s not exactly a bad thing. If it was easy, it wouldn’t allow for them to make their own choices. Very rarely do the good things in life come easy. Thanks for the comment!

Susan Cabezas
Guest
This post is awesome. I am a huge fan of hip hop too. I definitely would encourage my son to listen to hip hop (when he’s older of course, he’s only 2) because I believe that not all hip hop songs are negative. Like you outlined in your post, there is a lot of inspiration in hip hop, and it’s definitely important to point out those artists who embrace that. Of course, I can’t help to listen to some 2 Chainz or Lil Wayne once in a while. I think Childish Gambino is an awesome artist, I love his Camp… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

Spot on! I see we have a similar taste in music Susan – I’ve had CAMP on repeat since it came out, doesn’t get much better than an album like that. Thanks for the comment.

Susan Jane
Guest
This post is awesome. I am a huge fan of hip hop too. I definitely would encourage my son to listen to hip hop (when he’s older of course, he’s only 2) because I believe that not all hip hop songs are negative. Like you outlined in your post, there is a lot of inspiration in hip hop, and it’s definitely important to point out those artists who embrace that. Of course, I can’t help to listen to some 2 Chainz or Lil Wayne once in a while. I think Childish Gambino is an awesome artist, I love his Camp… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

Spot on! I see we have a similar taste in music Susan – I’ve had CAMP on repeat since it came out, doesn’t get much better than an album like that. Thanks for the comment.

Nacho
Guest
Nacho

Hey I can agree. There its some really good hip hop out there that is not about sex, drugs, or money. Also some of the music is beautiful, like J Dilla. Try “The Red”-Jaylib, or “Feathers” – Nujabes

Be HoPe
Guest
Be HoPe

; Thanks for the two songs … And Dilla is awesome (R.I.P.) … Check out: Lowkey, Logic, Immortal Technique, Payday Monsanto, Vinnie Paz, Lupe Fiasco for REAL RAP with the Truth!.. /Be HoPe,B Love!

Nacho
Guest
Nacho

Hey I can agree. There its some really good hip hop out there that is not about sex, drugs, or money. Also some of the music is beautiful, like J Dilla. Try “The Red”-Jaylib, or “Feathers” – Nujabes

Be HoPe
Guest
Be HoPe

; Thanks for the two songs … And Dilla is awesome (R.I.P.) … Check out: Lowkey, Logic, Immortal Technique, Payday Monsanto, Vinnie Paz, Lupe Fiasco for REAL RAP with the Truth!.. /Be HoPe,B Love!

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[…] read Six Reasons You Should Let Your Child Listen to Hip Hop by Ross Simmonds. I know this is a lot of reading but it is definitely worth the […]

mike
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mike
Hi Ross, I am sorry but I cannot agree. I have walked down the streets of Oakland to see legions of young men talking to themselves, droning the latest hip hop tune almost as a mantra. I see children pulling guns, killing each other in romanticized fantasies of respect, honor, and greed. How many funerals have you been too in the last 20 years? I have been to far too many. The artists will tell you that they are telling the story of their lives or a facsimile of it. But for the majority of these children it is a… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest
Hey Mike – Appreciate the perspective but we’ll have to agree to disagree here. If you’re seeing this violence in cities and blame the music, I think you’ve got your fingers pointed in the wrong direction. There were gangs before rap, drugs before rap and millions of murders before rap. It’s not music that creates issues in these communities, it’s a much bigger issue that doesn’t start or end with what type of music someone listens too. Sure, you can look at the gangs of inner-cities in the US and say it’s raps fault but that’s illogical. What’s the reason… Read more »
mike
Guest
mike
Hi Ross, I am sorry but I cannot agree. I have walked down the streets of Oakland to see legions of young men talking to themselves, droning the latest hip hop tune almost as a mantra. I see children pulling guns, killing each other in romanticized fantasies of respect, honor, and greed. How many funerals have you been too in the last 20 years? I have been to far too many. The artists will tell you that they are telling the story of their lives or a facsimile of it. But for the majority of these children it is a… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest
Hey Mike – Appreciate the perspective but we’ll have to agree to disagree here. If you’re seeing this violence in cities and blame the music, I think you’ve got your fingers pointed in the wrong direction. There were gangs before rap, drugs before rap and millions of murders before rap. It’s not music that creates issues in these communities, it’s a much bigger issue that doesn’t start or end with what type of music someone listens too. Sure, you can look at the gangs of inner-cities in the US and say it’s raps fault but that’s illogical. What’s the reason… Read more »
Rubber Ducky
Guest
Rubber Ducky
Well the music of that genre is not a help. That’s for sure. Training starts in the home, I agree. But for those who don’t get it at home get it in the streets and hip hop is generated at the streets bc most of them come from broken homes/communities and they try to make every hood across the nation become that same hood. It’s sad at the kids who have never been affiliated with gangs try to mimic this lifestyle simply bc parents are allowing these songs in particular hip hop, program their minds to replay or relive what… Read more »
Be HoPe
Guest
Be HoPe

Yo… Hip-Hop is very much alive – IN THE UNDERGROUND!!! … The mainstreammedia just portray it as something bad, because they (probably) know that RAP is (the music) where you can get the REAL TRUTH!!!?… TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISON / TELL-LIE(S)-VISION AND WATCH A DOCUMENTARY!!! //Peace & One Love!..

Be HoPe
Guest
Be HoPe

Yo… Hip-Hop is very much alive – IN THE UNDERGROUND!!! … The mainstreammedia just portray it as something bad, because they (probably) know that RAP is (the music) where you can get the REAL TRUTH!!!?… TURN OFF YOUR TELEVISON / TELL-LIE(S)-VISION AND WATCH A DOCUMENTARY!!! //Peace & One Love!..

Rubber Ducky
Guest
Rubber Ducky
Dumb Article! Our communities all across the nation are tore up bc parents view articles and television shows that support a message such as this and clearly doesn’t line up or acknowledge God! Since so many people are FOLLOWERS of these big named artist, just where are they LEADING the youth today? Str8 to da clubs to pop bottles, feed their flesh all kinds of fleshly appetizers until they’re ready to eat the full course meal of the sin they’ve played around with for so long. Been there done that and it wasn’t until I came into an encounter with… Read more »
Bige410
Guest
Bige410
You should have mentioned the literary ability seen in rappers such as Nas, Rakim and G Rap…not those brain dead sell outs you listed haha. The quotes you put are nothing compared to others out there. ex. “Pumping for something, some’ll prosper, some fail Judges hanging ******, uncorrect bails for direct sales. My intellect prevails from a hanging cross with nails I reinforce the frail, with lyrics that’s real. Word to Christ, a disciple of streets, trifle on beats. I decipher prophecies through a mic and say peace.” -Nas. That excerpt displays more lyrical talent than the full catalogs of… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

Nas is brilliant. No question there! I did mention him in the mix as it relates to point #3. I’ve always been a big Nas fan.. Definitely not rude. Everyone has an opinion, that’s what makes music so great. As for Gambino/Macklemore not being brilliant – As Jay Z once said, check the scoreboard 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

Bige410
Guest
Bige410
You should have mentioned the literary ability seen in rappers such as Nas, Rakim and G Rap…not those brain dead sell outs you listed haha. The quotes you put are nothing compared to others out there. ex. “Pumping for something, some’ll prosper, some fail Judges hanging ******, uncorrect bails for direct sales. My intellect prevails from a hanging cross with nails I reinforce the frail, with lyrics that’s real. Word to Christ, a disciple of streets, trifle on beats. I decipher prophecies through a mic and say peace.” -Nas. That excerpt displays more lyrical talent than the full catalogs of… Read more »
Ross Simmonds
Guest

Nas is brilliant. No question there! I did mention him in the mix as it relates to point #3. I’ve always been a big Nas fan.. Definitely not rude. Everyone has an opinion, that’s what makes music so great. As for Gambino/Macklemore not being brilliant – As Jay Z once said, check the scoreboard 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!

Elhadj
Guest
Elhadj

Thats a really good post I tootally agree with you there simmon. I am actually going to use this as my coursework where we have to persuade an audience about somthing you passionate about and I think you forgot to mention rappers like Kendrick lamar change the game with his amazing lyrics

Ross Simmonds
Guest

Great point on Kendrick Lamar – He’s been great and is definitely worthy of being placed on this list. Thanks for the comment!

Em
Guest
Em
I just stumbled upon your post. I absolutely agree with you! Hip hop is great music and I can literally say it helped me to become a better person. I discovered hip hop when I was 13 years old (now I’m 26) and was going through a lot. I was kinda depressed back then, thought everybody hates me and so on. Hip hop was the thing that motivated me to pull myself together, taught me to not give up on my dreams and I would say it helped me to become a stronger person too. I’ve never even thought about… Read more »
Rl Rong
Guest
Rl Rong

Hi
If you do not mind,
May I know the song names which have motivated you to pull yourself together?
Thank you

Em
Guest
Em
Hello! I remember the first song that get me into hip hop was Lose Yourself by Eminem, when I heard it for the first time I felt really motivated. I thought “I want to hear more of this guy”. The next one was Cleanin’ Out My Closet, back in the day I was having problems with my mom too, different than those Em had with his mom, but still I felt somehow connected to him. So I would say if you want to get motivated, inspired and build your self-confidence I would recommend Em with two hands. Of course there… Read more »
Rl Rong
Guest
Rl Rong

Hi, Thanks a lot for your reply, and I can not wait to listen it.

Thinker
Guest
Thinker

I disagree and although I am correct, is more trash than good message to a growing audience unless your goal is to indoctrinate: Read what you wrote : “Now, I know what you are thinking, Hip Hop isn’t for kids. It’s degrading to women and glorifies crime, drugs and encourages violence. And although you are correct as it relates to some of the music,”

J-Rush
Guest
J-Rush

PLEEEEASEEEEEEE. You just don’t know Hip-Hop for what it is, is all. It’s not even the only genre that degrades women, and glorifies crime and drugs. Pop Music does too, Country music does too!

Thinker
Guest
Thinker

Agree to disagree, PLEEEEAAASSSEEEE….

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RM
Guest
RM
Great writing on the lyrics and dispositions of great Hip hop artists and artistry. I would love it if you can write about the musicality of Hip hop being shot down. Compared to say, Classical music or Jazz music (regarded more highly by parents?), Hip Hop is loop based, lots of dissonance instead of harmony, bass/low frequency is regarded unhealthy for babies compared to Mozart music, and mostly doesn’t have complex progressions or theories to analyze when compared to traditional music that came before it like those mentioned above. Now, I know such statement claim can be countered because there… Read more »
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