Rap music, which is overwhelmingly dominated by its beat and therefore is aggressive and sensual by its very nature, often focuses on extremely immoral and violent themes; and many rap musicians have been involved in violent episodes. Even the secular media calls it “very rebellious music” (USA Today, July 6, 2001, p. 4E). In spite this, it has become one of the dominant forms of pop music and has influenced the fashion industry and popular jargon.
Following are a few of many examples that can be given to document the unwholesome world of rap music:
ARCHER, MICHAEL D’ANGELO
Michael D’Angelo Archer’s (1974- ) father pastors a Holiness church, and D’Angelo was playing piano in the church band by age five. He was more interested in the world, though, and in his teenage years he joined a rap group called I.D.U., and in his late teens he signed with EMI Records (later absorbed into Virgin Records). Like Marvin Gaye, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, and many others, Archer intermingles an unscriptural “spirituality” with his very sensual music and lifestyle. He denies the “contradiction between sexuality and spirituality,” claiming that “a sincere sexual experience, can be very spiritual, and sometimes a real spiritual experience can feel sexual” (“D’Angelo’s timeless magic,” USA Today, Jan. 25, 2000, p. D1). This is strictly contrary to what the Bible says: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” (Galatians 5:17). Archer’s songs include “Feel Like Makin’ Love” and “Devil’s Pie.” His Untitled (How Does It Feel) video is described as “erotic” even in USA Today. His 1999 album is entitled Voodoo. He says he called it that “because the myriad influences found on it can be traced through the blues and back deeper in history through songs sung … in religious [voodoo] ceremonies” (Ibid., p. D2). Thus Archer readily acknowledges the intimate connection between African pagan religions and today’s rock music. Archer had a child in 1997 by singer Angie Stone. Their relationship dissolved after the child’s birth.
The Beastie Boys was formed in 1981 by Adam Yauch, Michael Diamond, John Berry, and Kate Schellenbach. They later gave themselves the nicknames King Adrock, shortened to Ad-Rock (Horovitz), Mike D (Diamond), and MCA (Yaunch). They were “the first white group to offer a successful sendup of rap” (Rolling Stones Encyclopedia, p. 57). Time magazine called them “rock’s degenerate darlings.” Their music and concerts are filled with vile profanity. Newsweek noted that they spiced “almost every sentence with obscenities.” This is how a secular magazine describes them: “Among other things, the Boys lustily exclaim the joys of girls [referring not to wholesome relationships with girls but to immoral relationships], gunplay and getting high—a frosty brew and angel dust are the drugs of choice in their lyrics” (Newsweek, Feb. 2, 1987, p. 70).
Michael Diamond of the Beastie Boys summed up their attitude toward authority when he said: “We’re probably a parent’s worst nightmare” (People, Feb. 9, 1987, p. 93). The song “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party)” pokes fun at teachers, parents, and authority in general. “The Beastie Boys’ smash hit ‘Fight for Your Right,’ in which they talk about parents forcing their kids to go to school when they ‘don’t wanna go,’ and then the teachers treating them ‘like some kind of jerk,’ then ‘that hypocrite’ dad gets upset cause the kid is smoking, and ‘living at home is such a drag’ cause mom threw away the kid’s ‘best porno mag,’ then the song goes on to tell about how the parents are upset over the clothes they are wearing, and the long hair, and of course how they complain about ‘that noise’ they’re listening to. The video version makes the parents and the other kids look like a bunch of ‘nerds’ and the Beastie Boys are a real cool group of guys who are just fighting for their ‘right to party’” (John Muncy, The Role of Rock, pp. 30,31). Their first album, Licensed to Ill, was advertised as “an album guaranteed to bug your parents (or someone you love).” The album was the fastest-selling album in the history of Columbia Records, quickly selling more than three million copies.
In 1985 and 1986 Beastie Boys opened for wicked rock tours such as Madonna’s sacrilegious Virgin Tour and Run-D.M.C.’s violence-plagued Raisin’ Hell Tour. Their own 1987 tour, “Fight for Your Right,” was “plagued by lawsuits, arrests, blame for violence and vandalism, and accusations of sexism and obscenity.”
They based their rock-rap sound on the “24-64 formula,” which they explained in this way: “After about 24 ounces of beer, the creativity begins. After 64 ounces, the babbling begins” (Time, Feb. 23, 1987, p. 92). Their concerts are too vile to describe. Mike D says, “Our lyrics are about girls, drinking, getting drunk with girls, and hanging out with girls. Basically, we make fairly sexist drunk records” (The Rock Yearbook, Vol. 8, p. 59, cited by Muncy, The Role of Rock, p. 72). The television show Coming Attractions taped a report on the Beastie Boys in 1987, and it was so filthy that all 50 of the cable markets that carry the syndicated show turned it down. In their interview with Coming Attractions, members of the Beastie Boys used 215 obscenities.
A 1991 rap concert/celebrity basketball game in New York featuring “Heavy D” Myers and Sean “Puffy” Combs erupted in a stampede that killed nine people and injured dozens more. In January 1999, a New York Court of Claims judge found the rappers 50% responsible for the deaths. Combs’ security team closed the only entrance to the gym, and in spite of the pounding and cries for help, refused to open the door, according to the judge’s ruling. Though Combs testified that he was also caught in the crush and fought to help people that were hurt, a police officer at the scene testified that during the crush, he witnessed Combs safely inside the venue with two women, and that all three had money in their hands (Live Daily, Jan. 13, 1999).
Crazy Town is a rap-rock group led by Bret “Epic” Mazur and Shifty Shellshock. Their first album in 1990 was titled Poison. They have performed on Ozzfest heavy metal tours. “Lyrics celebrate sexual conquests and intoxication. … Shellshock, jailed for several months after a spree of shoplifting and drug dealing a few years back, was on crack when he tossed a chair out a hotel window during Ozzfest 2000. Struggling with anger and sobriety ‘strengthens our bonds,’ Mazur says” (“New rockers blast away old trends,” USA Today, July 6, 2001, p. 4E).
DIGGIN’ IN THA CRATES
Big L (Lamont Coleman) of the rap group Diggin’ in Tha Crates (a.k.a. DITC) was shot to death in front of his home in Harlem.
The real name of superstar rapper Eminem is Marshall Mathers III. His first album, “Slim Shady LP,” included a song about a man killing the mother of his child. The singer explains to his daughter, “Where’s mama? She’s just taking a little nap in the trunk/ Oh, that smell? Dada must have runned over a skunk.” Eminem won a Grammy in February 2000 for this vile album. Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP,” which appeared in June 2000, is described by a secular music reviewer as “an hour-plus of vile, hate-filled spew, dripping with references to rape, murder and violence toward women, gays and pretty much anyone Eminem doesn’t like. On the opening track, the rapper even threatens to rape and kill his estranged mother, who in real life is suing him for remarks he made about her on his debut album, ‘The Slim Shady LP’” (Dan Durchholz, “Eminem tops the charts — and goes over the edge,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 25, 2000, p. F3). The Bible warns, “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it” (Proverbs 30:17). In spite of this, the new album sold 1.7 million copies in its first week, making it the second biggest opening week for any album in history. Within the first month it sold 5 million copies. After living with his high school girlfriend, Kimberley, for years and having a baby girl out of wedlock, Mathers married in June 1999. Less than a year later, on June 3, Mathers found his wife kissing a man outside a night club and assaulted the man with an unloaded gun. In July, Kimberley trashed their living room and attempted suicide by slashing her wrists (Rolling Stone, August 17, 2000, p. 38). In August, only 14 months after the marriage, Mathers filed for divorce from his wife.
The Fat Boys was a rap trio composed of Buff Love “The Human Beatbox” Robinson, Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales, and Damon “Kool Rockski” Wimbley. Robinson died in 1995 at age 27 of a heart attack. A couple of years earlier, Robinson had been found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor.
FIVE PERCENT NATION
The Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths split off from the Nation of Islam in 1964. The “Five Percenters,” as members are called, believe that 85% of the people on earth are blind and ignorant followers and another 10% are the leaders of the blind multitudes. The remaining 5% are the supposed enlightened ones who must wage war against the 10% for control. Thus the Five Percent Nation of Gods promotes violent race wars. Black male “Five Percenters” consider themselves “Gods,” and two of the letters and cards left at the crime scenes refer to the sniper as “God.” Many of the popular rappers promote the Five Percent Nation philosophy of racial violence in their music. These include Da Lench Mob, Wu-Tang Clan, Sunz of Man, Killarmy, RBX, Ice Cube, Professor Griff, Gravediggaz, Apache, Onyx, The Terrorists, Band Nubian, Menace Clan, and Busta Rhymes. For example, in the “song” Goin Bananas, Da Lench Mob raps: “We’re having thoughts of overthrowing the government … it’s open season on crackers [white people], you know; the morgue will be full of Caucasian John Does … oh my god, Allah, have mercy; I’m killing them devils because they’re not worthy to walk the earth with the original black man … I won’t rest until they’re all dead” (“Goin’ Bananas” by Da Lench Mob).
Rapper 50 Cent’s (real name Curtis Jackson) new album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, is at the top of the charts and sold 1.6 million copies in its first two weeks. 50 Cent’s lyrics are filthy, degrading, and violent. In May 2000 the rapper survived being shot several times in the face, hand, and legs by an assailant. He was also stabbed by rival rapper Ja Rule in another of his violent disputes. As a younger man he sold crack cocaine and spent time in prisons.
Cowboy (real name Robert Keith Wiggins) of The Furious Five died in 1989 at age 28 of an undisclosed illness. He had used crack cocaine heavily and had been arrested frequently on drug charges. The Furious Five was first led by Grandmaster Flash, then by Melle Mel, and was one of the first groups to perform rap. The song “The Message” set the stage for the rise of gangster rap.
The gangsta rap group Geto Boys was formed in 1986 and included Scarface (Brad Jordon), Willie D (Willie Dennis), Bushwick Bill (Richard Shaw), and Ready Red (Collins Lyaseth). Willie D has served time in prison for robbing a gas station. Scarface is “a suicide-prone manic-depressive who spent two of his teenage years in a mental ward.” Their first album, in 1989, “ignited a firestorm of controversy” because of “an unprecedented level of explicit violence and pathology” (Rolling Stone Encyclopedia, p. 376). Their vile song “Mind of a Lunatic” says: “She’s naked, and I’m a peeping tom. . . . I’m thinking rape…” In May 1991, Bushwick Bill talked his 17-year-old girlfriend into shooting him by threatening to kill their child if she didn’t. She shot him in his eye, which he lost. In January 1993, Scarface was wounded by an off-duty policeman during a gang-related fight. Scarface’s friend was killed in that struggle.
Rapper Ice Cube left N.W.A. in 1990 and formed Da Lench Mob. Their first album, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, is vicious and filled with vile language. It deals with themes such as gang violence, abusive police, drugs, and sex. In the song “You Can’t Fade Me,” the singer “fantasizes aborting his girlfriend’s pregnancy with a coat hanger.” This depraved album is considered a rap classic. Ice Cube’s subsequent albums are just as vile. These are Kill at Will (1990), Death Certificate (1992), The Predator (1994), and Lethal Injection (1994). Ice Cube is a member of Louis Farrakhan’s Black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam. Ice Cube’s rebellion is evident in his music and in statements he has made to the press: “I feel like this. If I’m a kid, I’m getting chastised by my parents, by teachers, by people in the community, authorities, grandmothers. When the kids go out to party, they’re sick of getting told what to do. They’re sick of having people go down their throats, telling them how to act” (Ice Cube, cited by Turner, Hungry for Heaven, p. 15).
Rapper Ice-T’s real name is Tracy Marrow (c. 1958- ). He changed his name to Ice-T in 1983 and produced his debut album in 1987. His music is “sex-obsessed,” filled with expletives and cursing, and is often violent. Many of the lyrics are unprintable. He said: “I have a morbid fascination with violent actions … so lyrics like ‘Shoot You in Your Face’ turn me on. Is that wrong” (US magazine, cited by The Truth about Rock, p. 50). His 1989 album mocked the attempts of parents to warn their children of vile music. It was titled “Iceberg/Freedom of Speech … Just Watch What You Say.” In 1991, Ice-T formed the thrash-metal band Body Count, and their self-titled debut album the following year included the vicious song “Cop Killer.” Police groups were so outraged that music publisher Time Warner dropped the song from subsequent editions of the album. Ice-T changed producers a few months later. In spite of the moral depravity of his music, it is very popular. Ice-T has had at least five gold albums.
ICP, or Insane Clown Posse, is a rap group. In 1997 Disney issued 100,000 copies of ICP’s “The Great Melenko” album. It was filled with obscenities and advocated violent action, and Disney pulled the album because of pressure from conservatives. One member of the group calls himself “Violent J.”
JAM MASTER JAY
Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell), rapper with the popular group Run-DMC, was shot to death in his recording studio on October 30, 2002, at age 37 by an unknown assailant.
The rap group KRS-One has a vicious song that glorifies the murder of police. “On the ground was a bottle of Snapple/ I broken the bottle in his … Adam’s apple/ His partner called for backup/ I had the shotgun and began to act up/ With that ‘bo-bo-bo, kak-kak-kak’/ The only way to deal with racism/ If you’re black.”
THE LOST BOYZ
Freaky Tah (real name Raymond Rodgers) of the rap group The Lost Boyz was shot to death in 1999 at age 27 as he was leaving a party at 4 a.m.
In 1994, gangsta rapper Notorious B.I.G. released his popular album “Ready to Die.” It was filled with cursing, violence, and immorality. One cut was titled “Suicidal Thoughts,” and Notorious B.I.G. sang, “When I die, ——-, I wanna go to hell.” The rap star was shot to death three years later at age 24.
The name of the gangsta rap group N.W.A. stands for Niggas With Attitude. The group was composed of Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson), M.C. Ren (Lorenzo Patterson), Eazy-E (Eric Wright), and Dr. Dre (Andre Young). Their vicious, curse-filled songs have expressed violence against the police and many other types of people. Many of the song titles and lyrics are too vile to repeat. One song was titled “To Kill a Hooker.” The song “Don’t Drink that Wine” encourages drug abuse instead of alcohol. Their albums address “gang rape and pedophilia, alongside the established agenda of oral sex, cop killing and prostitution” (Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music). At a 1989 concert, two fans were stabbed. Another concert was stopped that year after fans stormed the stage. In 1991, Dr. Dre was arrested for hitting and kicking television rap-show host Dee Barnes. The next year, Dr. Dre was charged with assault and battery for breaking the jaw of producer Damon Thomas. Eazy-E died in 1995 at age 21 of AIDS. He had fathered at least seven children by six different women.
Rap group Public Enemy was originally composed of Chuck D (Carlton Ridenhour), Flavor Flav (William Drayton), Terminator X (Norman Rogers), and Professor Griff (Richard Griffin). The members of Public Enemy follow Louis Farrakhan and his Black Muslim movement, the Nation of Islam. “Members of Public Enemy, who have become embroiled in controversy over their more extreme views, are protected on tours by bodyguards supplied by the Fruit of Islam (the Nation of Islam’s youth wing). In their lyrics [described as ‘fervent Black Panther-inspired rhetoric’] they sometimes praise Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. ‘Public Enemy is at war,’ Chuck D once said. ‘Black people should be at war to regain their enslaved minds. It’s the war to regain awareness’” (Steve Turner, Hungry for Heaven, 1995 ed., p. 199). They are accompanied on and off stage by body guards, carrying allegedly fake Uzi machine guns. Professor Griff left the group in 1990 after saying in an interview, “The Jews are evil. And we can prove this.” He was replaced by Sister Souljah. The group has been plagued by drugs and violence. In 1994, Flav was arrested for attempted murder in a shooting incident, and the next year he was sentenced to 90 days in jail. His license was suspended at least 43 times. In 1997, he told college students that “you’ve got to kill some folks” in order to end racism (Moser, Rock Stars, p. 208). Two teenage girls were crushed to death in December 1987 at a Public Enemy concert in Nashville.
Scarface is a “foul-mouthed gangsta rapper” whose obscenity-filled songs are about guns, hate, and killing. His vicious 1997 album, The Untouchable, was No. 1 on the charts and had lyrics such as these: “Sunshine, I’ll blow your brains… No death like this ever semi-automatic exploding between your eyes.” In August 1998, police officers in the Detroit, Michigan, area urged local politicians to ban rap concerts at city venues, following a series of fights and confrontations with police associated with performances by rap acts Scarface and Master P.
Tupac Shakur (2Pac) (1971-1996), a gangsta rap superstar, lived a lifestyle that was fitting to the violent, immoral music he produced. In 1992, a six-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet fired during a gun fight between Shakur and two others. In 1993, he was arrested repeatedly, for swinging a baseball bat at a person, for assaulting a limo driver, for assaulting a woman in his hotel room, for attacking a television director with a lead pipe, and for shooting two off-duty police officers. In November 1994, he was shot four times (two bullets grazed his head), but he survived. Having apparently lost none of his bravado, his 1995 album was titled Me Against the World. In 1996 at age 25, Shakur was shot to death. A teenager who shot and killed a Texas state trooper in 1992 claimed that Shakur’s album 2Pacalypse Now incited him to violence.
SNOOP DOGGY DOGG
Gangsta rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg’s real name is Calvin Broadus (1972- ). He was arrested for cocaine possession soon after graduation from high school and spent the next three years in and out of jail. He began recording underground tapes in 1990. His 1993 album, Doggystyle, set a new record as the biggest-selling rap album. The songs are filled with cursing, expletives, sex, and violence. In 1993, he was charged with being an accomplice to the murder of a man he claims had been stalking him. He was acquitted in February 1996. The song “Ride 4 Me” from his Tha Doggfather album describes a gang member telling a fellow member to shoot a rival.
Rapper Tone-Loc (born Anthony Terrell Smith, 1966) was briefly a member of a gang in Los Angeles before attending the prestigious Hollywood Professional School. His first hit, “Wild Thing,” came out in 1989 and sold 2.5 million copies, becoming one of the top selling singles of the 1980s. It was “an infectious paean to the joys of casual sex” (Rolling Stone Encyclopedia, p. 1008). The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia described Tone-Loc as a “hedonist.”
2 LIVE CREW
The rap group 2 Live Crew was composed of Luke Skyywalker (Luther Campbell), Fresh Kid Ice (Christopher Wong-Won), Brother Marquis (Mark Ross), and Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs). Campbell was the founder of the group. Their 1989 album As Nasty As They Want to Be was depraved and included songs that are so vile they are unprintable. The lyrics were filled with vulgar cursing and expletives. In March 1990, a circuit court judge in Broward County, Florida, found probable cause that the album was obscene under state law, and sheriff’s deputies arrested a record retailer for selling the album. The rappers themselves were arrested at a nightclub in Hollywood, Florida, for performing the songs from the album. The group mocked the Florida legal system by producing an album entitled “Banned in the USA” the next year. A jury later acquitted the rap group of the obscenity charges. In 1992 the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the Florida obscenity ruling against the As Nasty As They Want to Be album. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal. The vile rap album sold more than two million copies. In his biography, Campbell described filthy orgies in the band’s motel rooms.
Updated March 17, 2003 (first published December 1, 2000) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,