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Rap and Hip-Hop Should Not be Considered "Music"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2013 Category: Arts
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,630 times Debate No: 33011
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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I would be interested in holding a debate on the value of rap and hip-hop, and whether they should be considered "music."

If you accept the debate, you will be arguing that rap and hip-hop should not be considered music, and I will be arguing in favor of their musicality.

As Pro, you would have the burden of proof, and the round structure would proceed as follows:

Con: Declaration of Intent, Definitions
Pro: Agreement, Opening Argument

Con: Rebuttal, Opening Argument
Pro: Rebuttal, Further Arguments

Con: Rebuttal, Further Arguments
Pro: Rebuttal, Closing Argument

Con: Rebuttal, Closing Argument, Congratulations
Pro: Congratulations

As you can see, Pro would get three arguments, as would Con. During this debate, I wish to use the following definitions, though I am open to reasonable adjustments.

Rap - Lyrics spoken or chanted to a beat.

Hip-Hop - A style of music characterized by a repetitive beat and rapped verses. Often includes sampled sections of other songs.

To avoid any semantic issues, I will agree that "rap" or "rap music" may be used in place of "hip-hop."

Good Luck!


Thanks to my opponent for starting this debate. I will be arguing that rap and hip-hop should not be considered music.

Contention 1: Rap cannot be understood as music can

a. Rap cannot express the emotion that music can
Rap is to music as sign language is to giving speeches. Although it seems to convey the same message, the true emotion cannot always be interpreted because rap is spoken. For example, in the song F***in Problems, you understand that the speaker has problems. However, a screamo would be more appropriate because only then can you comprehend the true anger for the topic. Lyrics can be chanted to a pattern, however, it cannot rival the representation of emotion from rap music.

Often American Idol, The Voice, and The X-Factor criticizes singers, saying that they did not give the song the emotion it deserves. Rap cannot express the emotion of a song because the listener is too busy trying to decipher the lyrics as opposed to understanding the connotation of the song.

b. Anyone can appreciate music; not rap

Additionally, music focuses on the ideal that anyone can appreciate it. Anyone can take away the message of the song, even if you can't understand it. For example, Psy's Gangnam Style was the number one song on the American Top 100 song list. However, the majority of the song is in Korean. Despite that, Americans understood the meaning of it through the playful connotation of the lyrics and the perhaps crazy music video. I do understand that rap songs can have music videos, however, in the case of the song "Mercy" by Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Big Sean, the music video does very little to express the feeling of the song.

Contention 2: Rap sends negative messages

a. Rap Music leads to violence

Rap music is densensitizing the citizens of the world to drug abuse, violence, and sexual assualt. Some songs, such as Clique by Big Sean, Kanye West, and Jay-Z call for violence against women. In the first verse of the song, Big Sean says, "I tell a bad [expletive]: do what ever I say." According to the New York Times from September 3, 2007, there are a number of incidents where violence can be directly linked to the listening of rap music.;

b. Mainstream rap calls for abuse

"So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed, we're just having fun, we don't care who sees, so what we go out, that's how it's supposed to be, living yound and wild and free." These lyrics are the chorus to the song "Young, Wild and Free." Do we really want the youth of America smoking, especially at such a young age? Children are the future of the country. 6.5% of High schoolers smoke marijuana daily, according to:; Drug abuse is not the only thing increasing. According to popularity is also increasing. The link here is impossible to disprove, and we cannot take any chances with our country's future.

Contention 3: Rap is a grey area

a. If we allow rap, we allow anything

Rap is about speaking to convey your thoughts. Debate is about speaking to convey your thoughts. If debate was music, we would all listen to policy debate rounds on the radio. Please, do not make me listen to any more policy debate. It makes me want to die a little.

Imagine policy debate on the radio. For those of you who are unaware of what policy debate is, please take a minute and watch this video:

If you don't have a headache and can legitimately take this, then maybe rap should be music for you. However, the public cannot take policy debate. We cannot take listening to this. This is not theory -- this is why public forum was created. Public forum is like policy, however, judges on speaking quality too.

Policy is an extreme example, but an example nonetheless.


-Rap cannot be understood by the populus, making it contradictory to music's purpose of bridging cultures

-Rap is sending negative messages because it is played so often, and therefore, it should not be considered music in hope of saving the future generations

-If rap is considered music, policy debate should be considered music too. Please, for the sake of my sanity, do not allow policy debate to be considered music.
Debate Round No. 1


Have to do this quick, sorry.

Rap music does show emotion. Driving bass, and interesting rhythms create and relax tension, leading to emotion. Take Eminem's lose yourself, for instance

Lyrical content does not matter for music

Policy debates do not have a beat, rap does


Kwhite7298 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


po.osullivan forfeited this round.


My opponent contends that rap music shows emotion through bass and interesting rhythms, however, failed to realize that not all "music" defined as "rap" encompasses bass and/or rhythms. "Freestyle rap" as seen in the song Roman's Revenge by Nicki Minaj and Eminem is classified as rap but has neither. Therefore, that point is invalid.

My opponent contends that lyrical contend does not matter for music, however, failed to realize that lyrical content leads to censorship on radios and artists creating "clean versions" of songs. If lyrical content did not matter, nothing would be censored because that is nothing.

Policy debaters tend to have a certain "rhythm" to their spreading which could arguably be a beat.

My opponent failed to produce any legitimate arguments whereas I have proved that rap and hip-hop should not be considered music. Therefore,

I strongly urge a pro ballot.

vote pro!
Debate Round No. 3


po.osullivan forfeited this round.


I would like to congratulate my opponent on a great debate!
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Sleezehead 3 years ago
I'm considering debating.
Posted by chainmachine 3 years ago
its music, just not good music.
Posted by Sleezehead 3 years ago
I think anyone could squash you on this debate. I can't stand country or rap and even I consider it music be it not my taste of music
Posted by po.osullivan 3 years ago
Rottingroom, I attempted to set up the initial post in as neutral a manner as possible. I purposely did not call hip-hop "music," nor did I provide a definition of "music" that would either include or exclude hip-hop and rapping. I felt that calling hip-hop music in the introduction would be akin to starting a debate with the resolution "Abortion kills babies" while defining abortion as "A method of killing babies." My definition of hip-hop was intended to differentiate it from spoken word recordings, and the exclusion of the term "music" was so someone would be able to accept the definition as written while still being able to argue that the genre was not "music." It is not aim to trap anyone.

The round setup may be backward, but it is not unheard of on here. About every fifth debate on this site has the same setup.

jinxtedium, thank you, I'll clarify that.
Posted by rottingroom 3 years ago
You are making the assertion and then setting up the rounds for your opponent to make the initial arguments? That is backward.

Also, you seem to have attempted to be clever by defining hip-hop/rap to not be music on the onset. This is a trap debate.

In any case, it's an obnoxious assertion anyway.
Posted by jinxtedium 3 years ago
It's not clear to me if you, as Con, are against that Rap and Hip-Hop should NOT be considered Music (a double negative). Your first paragraph says you want to discuss its value but no specifics on what Pro should argue. Pro argues they have value or that they don't have value?
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