By Phoenix Xiong
Music is a universal language that can be easily understood by anyone through vibrations.
Soft, sweet vocals can make one feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, while loud, angry lyrics tend to raise negative emotions within the listener. Personally, I listen to everything that allows me to have a better understanding of the world of music. Over the years, I have experienced and witnessed how music affects people on all different planes – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and of course, sexually.
In the beginning, Rap music told a story of struggle through the eyes of the ghetto. To this day, it still does, but the message is much darker. House music has been saying the same thing since its introduction in the early 1980s. Which genre is helping? Which genre is hurting? Lets examine the stigmas associated with each genre.
House music originated in Chicago in the early 1980s and like all other genres, there was a culture associated with it.
Besides the music, what set ‘House-heads’ apart from everyone else was fashion sense.
Yes, I was a teenage House-head. I preferred House music over a lesser known genre called ‘Beat’ music. There were several parties across the City of Chicago where dance contests themed as ‘House vs. Beat’ (which in my opinion really said they were trying to say ‘gay vs. straight’). Naturally, House ALWAYS won because they had better dancers. This drew a line between the two, but Beat music was eventually absorbed into the Chicago House category and as time moved forward, those who were into Beat music eventually turned completely toward Rap.
Fashion has always been connected to certain genres of music, but today, the lines have been blurred. Years ago, we House-heads always wore designer labels: Willi Wear [Willi Smith], Tommy Hilfiger, Genera, Benetton, Perry Ellis, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne… the list is long. We were ridiculed by those who couldn’t afford what we wore and labeled by them to be ’house-fags’. Here is where confusion comes in, because although some of us actually were homo/bisexual, many were actually heterosexual. Furthermore, I find it quite interesting that the labels we House-heads wore in the 1980s are now being worn by the same type of people who ridiculed us.
Confusing the sexual preferences of people by judging them through the music they prefer (and the clothes they wear) is not only infantile, it is completely asinine.
Somewhere in the 1990s, we became divided into three groups which still exist to this day: those who prefer House/Techno music, those who prefer Hip Hop/Rap, and those who enjoy listening to all of it.
Hip Hop/Rap in the early 1990s was far more conscious than it is today. Many artists actually had a positive message to deliver to the public. Some were simply storytellers while others were revolutionaries raising the consciousness of the youth. However, according to some sources from the industry, conscious Hip Hop/Rap artists were being phased out for those who promoted sex, drugs, and violence in order to keep privatized prisons packed with African Americans. Statistics show that it is still happening and not very many people see the monster before their eyes. It started with ‘gangsta-rap’ and because of the drama behind the scenes, we lost Tupac, Eazy E, Biggie Smalls and others.
The image of House and Techno took also took a beating in the 1990s. Both genres (especially Techno) have been associated with sexual curiosity and drugs. However, it is quite rare that you’ll find violence at a party where House and/or Techno is the only music played.
Seemingly, the Hip Hop/Rap clubs remain as the most violent when compared to House music clubs.
I witnessed the difference between the crowds firsthand. I must say I felt more comfortable with the House/Techno crowd. Where there was Rap, there seemed to be a dark veil over the dancefloor. Not too many people were dancing unless they were coupled up or trying to get a sexual hook up. Don’t get me wrong, the same happens in House clubs, but the energy is much different; people are happier, friendlier and more people are actually dancing.
Some clubs feature House/Techno in one room and Hip Hop/Rap in another. One can clearly see the difference in the energy because the difference between both groups is very distinct. Anyone can see for themselves how these genres affect people differently.
Certainly, no one can equate House music with homosexuality the way they did 30 years ago. I know hundreds of men who are straight who love house music and as of today, I know even more homosexuals who are magnetized to Hip Hop/Rap. Perhaps it has much to do with the newer generation of homosexuals who find rappers who are 'hyper-masculine' (and probably extremely homophobic) to be attractive. In my own opinion, gays who prefer rap over house/techno are as insecure as straight men who don't like house/techno.
Perhaps the aggressiveness of Hip Hop/Rap is what draws people to it. It makes them feel tough or ‘bad-ass’. Today, most Hip Hop/Rap spreads hatred and greed; it forces its listeners away from love by focusing the listener on him/herself. House/Techno music draws its listeners toward love.
In conclusion, music is not really as much about sexuality as it is about love and hate and it seems to me that one genre is more obsessed with death while the other promotes the enjoyment of living life by spreading peace and harmony.
People who enjoy House/Techno are far more peaceful, so I say Hip Hop/Rap music is hurting humanity more.