Would you believe hip-Hop is great for fighting crime? At least that’s what one website discovered while looking into the claims of Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel that, “rising gun violence was a function of “hip-hop culture.”
The Wire.com Ran an excellent story about how research into McDaniel’s claim (which you can hear below courtesy of Mother Jones via Dark Horse Mississippi) several years ago that hip-hop culture is to blame for a rise in crime actually shows the opposite.
In the clip McDaniel says his claims have nothing to do with race.
If the data offers us any indication at all — the opposite is true. As the popularity of rap music increased, crime in the United States fell, particularly at the point in which violent, gangsta rap took hold. And if we use McDaniel’s criterion, we’ve proven him wrong.
To demonstrate this, we pulled crime data compiled by the FBI as a function of population to track how crime has evolved in this country. We focused on the total number of crimes and the amount of violent crime. Then, to gauge the popularity of hip-hop, we turned to the Whitburn Project, an ongoing, underground tabulation of the popularity of singles dating back to 1890. (You can read about it here.) The Whitburn Project indicates the top charting tracks for each year and, for an extensive period, categorizes them by genre. So we took the period of 1980 to 2005 — from just after rap’s birth to the point at which Whitburn’s genre data is less complete — and assessed how much of popular music was dominated by rap.
The site notes that McDaniel’s erroneous claim was pointed at rap from the 90’s and later.
It’s worth noting that the “hip-hop culture” McDaniel decries wasn’t based on the Fresh Prince / Run DMC rap of the 1980s. He means the heavy stuff, which appeared at the end of that decade. In fact, violent crime peaked in 1991 — the same year as NWA’s seminal Efil4Zaggin was released. So, can we thank Ice Cube, Dre, Eazy, and Ren for saving America? Well, no. Crime and music, nearly anyone will tell you, are not linked. “Hip-hop culture,” such as it is, had nothing to do with the amount of crime in U.S., or Canada, at least if actual hip-hop music is any indicator.
Ironically enough the stats for rock music do correlate with an increase of crime in America but… We’re not blaming anything on music. This is more about McDaniel’s stupidity.