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Examining the Lyrics to RaeKwon Criminology

There are many instances of violence that are portrayed to an almost grandiose manner in rap songs, and the RaeKwon Criminology lyrics are no different. Made up of several segments of lyrics, this rap song takes place almost as if on stage as a discussion between two people. It opens up with a conversation between two individuals in just this manner, before it goes into the song itself. In the opening dialogue, two men are arguing and in the middle of a verbal debate that sounds as if it is about to turn violent and physical, with the ending line being “You wanna go to war?” This makes it very clear what the intentions of the men are. They want to be aggressive and violent in the face of the person that they believe is holding them back or taking advantage of them. There are names that are said which would help to call attention to the racial tension that may exist between the two men, which is explored in more detail throughout the other segments of the song.

In the first stanza of the song, the individual that is talking seems to be building himself up and calling attention to his ability to outmaneuver those who would try to capture him or stop him from succeeding in whatever it is that he wants to do. “Then I react, like a convict, and start killin” is a line that is particularly indicative of the nature of the individual. They are adopting the mentality of that which they have experienced through their formidable years. The rest of the dialogue continues to illustrate the points of pride for the speaker which he finds in himself, as he also tries to play off any sense of responsibility or morality that may have otherwise existed in the situation had his position been filled by someone else who was not as “sparkin and bustin” as the narrator is. Because of his abilities, he considers himself to be successful and hardcore to some degree.

The next portion of the song is a response. In speaking to the first person, this new speaker is trying to maintain that he has not only more ability than the first speaker, but also that he has more street credibility, which is almost more important. He wants to toast with the first speaker, but he also calls attention to the fact that he has shot many people and watched them bleed. Nowhere in his discussion of these events does he seem to be apologetic for what he has done, and indeed he seems to react as if the people who went through this deserved this kind of treatment. Instead of listening to these lyrics and perpetuating this type of violence between individuals who are trying to be more “tough” or “street” than anyone else, as a society individuals need to look at what it is that supports these kinds of thoughts and desires. By understanding what it is that individuals are trying to accomplish through this violence, perhaps we can come up with different ways to achieve the same feelings of worthiness and respect.


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