Black Lives: The Role of Gospel, Jazz, Rock and Gangsta Rap in the Ghetto

Black Lives: Hope, Gospel or Gangsta Rap Same Message Different Vibes

RT (2019)

Film Review

For me, the third episode in the Black Lives series is the most interesting. In it, filmmakers explore the importance of Black music in reflecting the soul wrenching reality of modern day ghetto life. They interview gospel singers in a Black church (who tend to be over 45), as well as a saxophonist who plays rock music in Harlem clubs, a guitarist who busks in New York subways to pay his rent and gangsta rappers in Compton California.

They also feature a rap competition in which rappers compete for having the best lyrics and delivery. The poetry they produce has a finally honed brilliance.

The Compton rappers respond to growing criticism that mainstream society finds gangsta rap offensive. One points out that gangsta rap used to be known as “reality” rap. He acknowledges it might be hard to hear, “but this is our life.”