Rap music, in spite of the controversy that often surrounds it, can have a positive influence and expand the consciousness and musical horizons of listeners.
Rap music was created in the 1970s in the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc is credited as the "godfather" of hip-hop and rap music--creating a new artistic form of expression in music.
Rap music's influence is everywhere: fashion, dance, art, television and especially other forms of music. Rock or metal artists often collaborate with a rap artist and develop a new sound. This allows listeners, who might not have listened to rap or rock before, to get exposure to another genre.
Contrary to the stereotypical images often associated with rap music such as sex, drugs, violence and money, there are artists who contribute lyrically in a postive manner: Afrikabambata, Grandmaster Flash, Common, Nas and Mos-def are just a few whose lyrical content promotes pride and social-consciousness.
Rap music provided a generation with another means of artistic expression. It can be considered as urban story-telling and allows youth to tell stories in another way, so that they may be heard. When examining rap lyrics you can hear examples of simile, metaphor and rhyme scheme--which are poetic elements taught in most English classes. Rap lyrics can be used to teach and reach students.
In September of 2009, Jay-Z headlined a concert to benefit the families of those lost in 9/11. Rap artists, through the performances of their music, can do a lot of good.