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Rap is Crap

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"I like country music
I love country girls
I like Willie Nelson
And don't forget about Merle
There's only one thing that I hate
'Cause it's a bunch of crap
I-I-I hate rap"
Curt Hennig and the West Texas Rednecks, "Rap is Crap (I Hate Rap)"

From the moment it exploded into the mainstream in The '80s, Hip-Hop has been a genre awash in controversy. Often attacked by Moral Guardians as violent, sexist, depraved, and corrupting the youth, and by fans of other genres as musically simplistic and built on style over substance, hip-hop took a long time to gain the respectability afforded to its peers. Even with the genre's growing commercial popularity and the rise of dedicated hip-hop radio stations, many pop stations geared towards an older and more "mainstream" listener base (i.e. middle-aged and older white people) would market themselves as playing "all the hits, without the rap" and go so far as to edit out the rap verses from pop songs that had them.

And for much of that time, this skepticism was reflected in media depictions of hip-hop. Hence, we got this trope, which is when a work, or a character within a work, thinks that rap is, well, crap. Rappers are depicted as inferior musicians to those in other genres, particularly those which the work especially likes (rock and country are popular here), and their personal lives will be messes of gangbanging and Lower-Class Lout behavior that may or may not end with their death and that of everyone around them. The culture of hip-hop, meanwhile, will resemble a mix of the worst excesses of '90s Gangsta Rap and modern Trap Music, filled with guns, crime, sex, drugs, militant politics, hatred of the police, and the glorification thereof.

Alternatively, this may be the viewpoint of one character, who will be portrayed in one of two ways. More sympathetic examples are likely to voice all of the above criticisms and stand as voices of reason and good taste compared to rappers and their fans. Less sympathetic ones, on the other hand, are likely to be depicted as closed-minded hypocrites who gloss over similarly problematic lyrics and behavior from their own favorite musicians (expect a reference to Johnny Cash shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die, or to the entire Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll trope), and may be motivated by racism against the mostly black musicians of hip-hop. If the critic is black themselves, the emphasis will more likely be on The Generation Gap, with the one who hates rap being older and either trying to teach the kids a moral lesson (if sympathetic) or a grouch who hates anything new and may even have Boomerang Bigot tendencies (if not).

These days, it's largely a Discredited Trope, especially among younger generations, who have grown up with hip-hop as a mainstream genre of music and largely afford it the same level of respectability they do to pop, rock, and other genres. Its critical appraisal has improved, too, with a greater recognition of the role of hip-hop in black culture in the US in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Straight uses of this trope have grown rarer, with people who hate rap largely portrayed as either irrational old fogies at best, or racists at worst. Nowadays, you're more likely to see fans of older types of hip-hop badmouthing newer ones (mumble rap, or "SoundCloud rap", is the current Acceptable Target here), and that's a different trope entirely.

Not to be confused with a Piss-Take Rap, which is what happens when a Dreadful Musician tries to rap, though a character who hates hip-hop is likely to see all rap as this, and may perform a deliberately bad one in order to make their point.

Compare Disco Sucks, an earlier backlash against a genre of popular music, and Rock is Authentic, Pop is Shallow.

No Real Life Examples, Please! As noted above, a lot of people used to believe this trope to be Truth in Television, and let's just leave it at that.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • An amusing example in The Punisher MAX: Barracuda, a Scary Black Man and hardcore criminal who one would think loves rap music, actually hates it and would rather listen to slow love songs. He proves it when he catches up with another gangster who owes him money. Said gangster is cruising the streets with his crew, rap music blaring out of the car stereo. Barracuda kills his crew with an M-60, then directs his attention to his target. Before getting down to business, Barracuda has a request:
    Barracuda: Motherfucker, turn off that bullshit.

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County: In one strip, during the 1988 election season, Opus is seen rapping, and in the next panel, he's Bound and Gagged while the narration talks about the "Rap Ban" treaty. In the next strip, at the meeting of the Meadow Party caucus, Milo asks who they're going to nominate as President, now that the "Rap Ban" issue has been disposed with, and Opus, rapping again, nominates Jesse Jackson, whom he describes as "Rhyme-Master Jesse". The "Rap Ban" treaty is brought up again, along with the thorny issue of enforcement.
    Milo: Toss him in the thorns.
    Opus: Now, don't go riot/I be quiet.
  • Curtis: Curtis's father has nothing but disdain for rap music and is constantly butting heads with his son over his love of the genre. Ironically, despite the strip's attempts to portray this as a product of a generation gap, Comic-Book Time means he now would've grown up when rap was becoming popular.

    Film 
  • A major part of the plot of Krush Groove, a Roman Clef about the founding of Def Jam Recordings in The '80s, is the difficulties Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin have in getting a loan because so many people looked down on rap music.
  • The Last Boy Scout: Joe clearly doesn't like rap music, and makes a few quips about his disdain for it here and there.
    Milo: You think you're so fucking cool, don't you? Well, just once, I would like to hear you scream. In pain.
    Joe: Play some rap music.
  • Let It Shine: Cyrus's father is a pastor who finds rap and hip-hop to be corrupting the youths. This means Cyrus has to hide his own interest in and talent at rap, and when hip-hop pop-star Roxie revisits the town and church, she's shamed in front of everyone else. He eventually relents after hearing more of their music.
  • Queens Logic has this exchange at a party, while hip-hop music is playing:
    Grace: Got stress, huh?
    Al: Who wouldn't? This music would make Will Rogers punch a nun.
  • Straight Outta Compton accurately depicts the moral panic that surrounded Gangsta Rap in the late '80s and early '90s, and how N.W.A leaned into it to become even more successful.
  • Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV: The film features a pair of news anchors, played by Jason and Randy Sklar, speculating on why the Tromaville School for the Very Special was targeted. One of them decides to blame the tragedy on rap music and comments on how he'd put a C in front of it to turn it into "you know what".
  • In Turning Red, Ming thinks that 4*Town are "glittery delinquents", abhors their "gyrations" and calls their discography not music but "filth".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Exploited in the Burn Notice episode "Bad Blood". Sam comes up to rap mogul and ex-gangbanger Sweet Valentine, the mutual boss of the client and the Monster of the Week, and lays into him about how he's "what's wrong with America" etc. This is meant as a distraction to get Valentine's bodyguards to run Sam off so that Fiona can get Valentine into their car at gunpoint so they can take him to hear the Monster of the Week's Engineered Public Confession.
  • The Friends episode "The One with Monica's Boots" has Joey talk to his pregnant sister Dina about getting married to her boyfriend Bobby, who only has his band, Numbnuts, as a career. When Joey briefly entertains the idea of her marrying Bobby, he answers that his band plays gangsta rap. Cue the Laugh Track, though it's not clear how much it's this trope and how much it's the fact that Bobby is a white middle-class kid.
  • The Goldbergs: A Running Gag in the series is the family patriarch Murray Goldberg having to put up with whatever rap music hijinks his son Barry throws at him, much to his dismay since it's very clear that Murray doesn't like rap. It's mostly Played for Laughs since Murray is supposed to be a comedic representation of stereotypical fathers back in the 1980s.
  • One of the goals of the Dutch reality show Holland in da Hood was to portray the worst that the Dutch hip-hop scene had to offer, simply for the amusement of the viewer. Specifically, eight Pretty Fly for a White Guy Dutch men were sent to Los Angeles, told that they were competing for a record deal with Def Jam, when in truth the show was mocking the hell out of them. The Dutch hip-hop scene wasn't pleased, to say the least.
  • Subverted in Lucifer. Lucifer tells a rapper that his music is crap, then clarifies that he doesn't mean rap in general - he means that this particular rapper's music is crap.
  • NewsRadio: In the season three episode "Rap", Bill is initially a professed fan of rap because his radio settings are so poorly adjusted that the songs are completely incomprehensible. When his settings are fixed so he can understand the lyrics, however, he is horrified that anybody can just walk into a store and buy a rap album, believing they should only be sold in the classified ads in the back of porn magazines. He plans to do an editorial about how rap is "cancerous to today's youth", ignoring Dave's observation that he's about a decade behind the thousands of other journalists who've made the same claims. Jimmy calls in Chuck D from Public Enemy to appear on Bill's show to offer a rebuttal, knowing that Bill's obsessive need to suck up to celebrities will put an immediate end to his outrage.

    Music 
  • Prince's "Dead On It", which includes a verse where he claims that rappers are just tone-deaf musicians cheating their way to success. (Ironic, considering Prince's later embrace of Hip-Hop elements in the '90s.)
  • Mentioned in The Arrogant Worms song "My Voice is Changing":
    Pretty soon I bet I'll be right into heavy metal,
    but my parents say "at least it isn't rap"
  • Downplayed by "Royals" by Lorde. It was written more as a critique of contemporary pop music in general for being shallow party music that promoted Conspicuous Consumption, but most of the cultural reference points she uses are lifted directly from the Glam Rap of the 2000s.
    But every song's like 'gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin' in the bathroom, bloodstains, ball gowns, trashin' the hotel room
    We don't care, we're driving Cadillacs in our dreams
    But everybody's like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece, jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
    We don't care, we aren't caught up in your love affair
  • In the music video for "Night of the Living Baseheads" by Public Enemy, the rap group play the role of news reporters, and at one point in the video, a racist anti-rap group called the "Brown Bags" kidnaps Chuck D, takes him hostage, and beats him up.
  • The Pacewon song "I Declare War" has a video about an evil white mayor (amusingly played by a pre-fame Eminem) who has banned hip-hop music, sadistically smashing records for fun. Pacewon storms the building and overthrows him, taking over the city.
  • Eminem, despite being one of the truest lovers of hip-hop it's possible to imagine, has had to watch fashions in hip-hop change around him, not always in directions he likes.
    • His writer's block period in 2005-2007 was related in part to the dominance of snap, a simplified party style that emphasises beats and hooks over lyricism, and he wrote a few mean-spirited satires of the trend in this era (particularly "Ballin' Uncontrollably", which casts Slim Shady as a psychotically evil Glam Rapper, and "My Syllables", in which he gets 50 Cent and Jay-Z to join in with his whining about music sucking nowadays). Even in interviews after his Career Resurrection when he'd got his love of rap back, Eminem admitted he had little interest in most of the hip-hop in 2009, apart from T.I. and Lil Wayne who he adored.
    • Eminem's lack of interest in the anti-technical 2010s hip-hop led to him shifting into pop, which he found gave him more freedom to explore his personal style, which had always been an outlier even in his heyday. After Revival was slammed by critics and hip-hop heads alike for being too poppy and outdated, Eminem responded with the surprise album Kamikaze in which he insulted, parodied and mocked modern radio hip-hop as Follow the Leader Trap Music done by no-talents with no real love for the medium. While many blasted the album for being one of the genre's elders attacking the young (or even found it racist, seeing as it was a middle-aged white man insulting the young and largely black), Eminem admitted in interviews and even in the songs themselves that he loved some Trap Music and could get why people liked certain artists even if he didn't, and that there'd been just as much hip-hop he hated around the time he grew up. His point had actually been to criticise a shift he felt had emerged in hip-hop over the last five years where, instead of encouraging rappers with original styles, your music was considered bad if you didn't sound the same as other artists.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Video 
  • The titular host of The Cinema Snob, being a parody of pretentious film critics, has made it clear on multiple occasions that he detests rap music.
  • The Tourettes Guy, after hearing a car drive past his house blasting loud rap music, badly beatboxes for a few seconds in mocking imitation before saying, "Shit! Fuck rap music! Shit!"
  • Todd in the Shadows has discussed this in videos covering '90s hip-hop.
    • His episode of Trainwreckords covering Arrested Development's Zingalamaduni went into detail on how the band framed itself as The Moral Substitute to Gangsta Rap, promoting a more uplifting message of empowerment while criticizing what it saw as the negative messaging and Jive Turkey behavior of the gangstas. In turn, he argued, this inspired backlash from gangsta rappers and their fans, who accused them of talking down to black people and playing to an image of respectability rooted chiefly in the biases of white conservatives and the musical establishment.
    • His episode of One-Hit Wonderland covering "I Wish" by Skee-Lo opens by discussing the widespread backlash that gangsta rap got at its height, not least of all by Golden Age rappers who saw it as the genre's Sell-Out period, promoting the most stereotypical image of urban black life to appeal to "edgy" white listeners.

    Western Animation 

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