While many genres of music have stereotypes associated with them, hip hop may have the most. Not to be confused with prejudices, a stereotype is simply the consensus belief about a topic based on what people commonly assume. Whether correct or incorrect, the stereotypes associated with hip hop include violence, drugs, money and misogyny. The lyrics of many hip hop songs perpetuate some of these stereotypes.
Many hip hop artists reference violence in their songs, which leads to violence being a stereotype commonly associated with this genre of music. Over time, hip hop artists such as Ice-T, Tupac Shakur and Eminem have come under fire from community groups and government agencies for the use of violence lyrics in their music.
There's no proof that hip hop artists use more drugs than those in any other music genre, but drugs are likely mentioned more in hip hop music. Many lyrics in this style of music refer to selling drugs as a way to make a living and using drugs such as marijuana. Dr. Dre's notable hip hop album "The Chronic" referenced marijuana in its title, and 50 Cent's semi-autobiographical movie "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" talked about his rise from a drug dealer to a rapper.
While musicians in virtually every genre can achieve enormous commercial success and enjoy the wealth that comes with it, hip hop performers are known for vigorously celebrating their money and even exaggerating how much they have. Rap videos frequently show rappers holding stacks of money, wearing expensive jewellery and driving fancy cars. Additionally, many hip hop lyrics reference being rich and spending large quantities of money.
Women's groups have often criticised hip hop music for the use of misogynistic lyrics and images. Women are commonly referred to in derogatory terms in some rap music, while scantily clad women are also common fixtures in hip hop videos.
- New York Times; "Colorado Police Link Rise in Violence to Music"; Dan Frosch; September 2007
- UC Berkeley News; New Study Finds Glamorization of Drugs in Rap Music Jumped Dramatically over two Decades"; Sarah Yang; April 2008
- Softpedia: Jay-Z Says Rap Music Overrates Violence And Crime
- Dose.ca: Obvious: 80% of Rap Music has Lyrics About Drugs, Alcohol
- WireTap; Drop It Low: Sexist Rap Reconsidered; Liz Funk; April 2007