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OK, for those of you that know me only from my written works, I want to be a rapper (let the shock wash over before reading on). For those who do know me, you are probably rolling your eyes because it's the only thing I've wanted to do since seventh grade (and man do they know). I've even sold copies of my poorly produced mixtapes (no you can't buy them on eBay). But that's neither here nor there. Why does hip-hop, primarily rap, have such a bad reputation to some people and absolutely mesmerize others, such as myself?
Hip-hop is a true subculture that arose in the 1970s in the Bronx and consists of four things: rap music, DJs, graffiti and dance. What people don't really understand is that for many people, hip-hop is a way of life. Now I know what some of you are thinking - no it's not just some type of hobby. Think of it like this: You find a rapper you like, one you can relate to, such as Jay-Z, Nas, Tupac, B.I.G., etc., and that becomes somewhat of a gateway in. Or maybe it's one of the other three aspects of hip-hop that draws you in. You start really getting into it and seeing different things in the music you didn't even notice before. You see everything a bit differently. But that doesn't happen to everyone - it clicks (great) or it doesn't (that's fine, too). Yet hip-hop gets so panned because of its music videos, explicit lyrics and graffiti. All this results in a less-than-flattering image.
Truth is people don't like these things or find them irritating because they don't pay attention or just don't understand.
With the music videos, we know what that's about, but to be fair, those types of videos have really decreased in the past few years.
In the case of graffiti, it's a form of legitimate art (it might not be done in legitimate places, but it's art nonetheless). All I ask is that if you look for it, you might find some you admire.
Dancing, like graffiti, is a form of expression.
The explicit lyrics is tough. This can arguably be the No. 1 reason why people don't like hip-hop. I believe it is used for emphasis and to put extra meaning into the lyrics.
I didn't talk about DJing because everyone loves DJs.
I hope after reading this I can at least get a few people to give hip-hop a try.

Max Fisher is a senior at Leonardo Da Vinci High School.