The music industry is a huge factor in influencing our sex filled society. Our young generation has such easy access to these songs and is easily influenced by them. The lyrics and videos of Hip-Hop/Rap music manipulate our society’s views of sex. According to a study done by Public Health Reports, it was concluded that “References to sexual activity are common in popular music, and degrading sexual references are more prevalent than non-degrading references.” Hip Hop/Rap musicians such as Chris Brown promote a particular view of sex.
Chris Brown is an American singer, songwriter, and actor. He is 28 years old and has had many hit songs. One song that he is well known for is “Privacy.” In his song “Privacy,” the opening lyrics are “I need your body in ways / That you don’t understand, but I’m losing my patience / ‘Cause we’ve been going over and over again / Girl, I just wanna take you home and get right to it.” Chris Brown is portraying lust in this song. Again, there is no desire for love or emotional attachment. The song portrays only wanting sexual pleasure. In the music video for the song “Privacy,” there are many women who are acting and dancing in a sexual manner, half dressed and are objectified. The women in these music videos are portrayed as females who would ‘bend over backward’ literally and figuratively for their man conveying submissiveness and appeasement. Songs and videos like “Privacy” feed our sex driven society.
In the verse “baby, I promise I won’t tell nobody/ Just as long as you let me hit it like every night” Brown implies just wanting to use women for his desire with the expectation of her pleasing him. In the lyrics “I promise I won’t tell nobody” the artist suggests that it is okay if she has a significant other, as long as he is pleased every night it would be kept a secret between each other. I believe this generation has become insensitive to cheating with the influence of Hip-Hop artist such as Chris Brown. The lyrics elaborate further onto “We don’t need nobody watching us/ No eyes but your eyes/ Ain’t nobody here but you and me.” This goes on further to suggest that cheating is acceptable.
In the journal, Mass Communication and Society, an article was published asking the question, “Does exposure to sexual Hip-Hop music videos influence the sexual attitudes of college students?” (Kistler & Lee) In this study, college students were exposed to different degrees of sexual activity, acceptance of the objectification of women, and sexual permissiveness shown in music videos. After five music videos were shown, the results were as followed, “Male participants who were exposed to hip-hop music videos of high sexual content expressed greater objectification of women and sexual permissiveness.” (Kistler & Lee) It is also important to note that the results for female participants were mixed.
The music industry has influenced our society to become very sex driven. Many songs and visuals have manipulated our society’s minds on how they think and act. Hip Hop/Rap musicians such as Chris Brown have done so with their songs, videos, and their social influence. In a research study done by the Journal of Adolescent Research published a survey which reveals that there is a close relationship between music preferences, youth attitude, and behaviors. The research surveyed that the youth (ages 17–21) who disclosed their favorite type of music was hip hop or rap, and 72% of them agreed that the music they listen to, in fact, influences them in some way. Many genres and musicians portray their views of sex to society in a manner that many don’t agree with. What can be done about this issue? Is there anything that we can do, or is it up to the musicians to make a change and realize their power of influence?
Diamond, S., Bermudez, R., & Schensul, J. (2006). What’s the rap about ecstasy? Popular music lyrics and drug trends among American youth. Journal of Adolescent Research 21, 269-298.
Michelle E. Kistler & Moon J. Lee (2009) Does Exposure to Sexual Hip-Hop Music Videos Influence the Sexual Attitudes of College Students?, Mass Communication and Society, 13:1, 67-86, DOI: 10.1080/15205430902865336
Primack, B., Gold, M., Schwarz, E., and Dalton, M. (2018). Degrading and Non-Degrading Sex in Popular Music: A Content Analysis.