If a person has little or no identity, music can provide one for him. Our musical choices often are connected to our identity. Music is marketed by appealing to the consumer’s sense of identity. We use music to evolve within our social groups. When someone is in recovery from drug addiction, music can be heard differently. The associations or triggers need to be changed.


  • Environment: The mere presence of music changes the environment. It can transform a dull place into an exciting one.
  • Behavior: Dancing, making a connection to another person, or having an intimate moment.
  • Capability: Music improves our physical functioning and cognitive functioning. It gives us new tools for getting in touch with our feelings and communicating with others.
  • Beliefs: Lyrics can be a powerful way of exploring belief systems (good or bad). Learning through music can change attitudes regarding personal capabilities.
  • Spirit: The highest level of all is the level of the spirit; the energy from the soul. Music embraces a very personal connection, in terms of how we hear things and what we listen for.
  • Music lets us experience the energy that flows throughout the world.


  • Euphoria
  • Acting in fantasy
  • Feeling less alone
  • Empowerment
  • Out-of-body feelings
  • Music says what I cannot say
  • Music makes me cry or laugh
  • Takes me back to a specific memory or feeling


  • Record companies marketed to specific populations and broke the country into five regions.
  • Advertisers for tobacco and liquor are just as keen on enhancing the users’ experiences.

Gangster Rappers by Holy Hood


The entertainment industry is notorious for attracting a criminal element. After all, it is one of the few fields whereby your faults suddenly become assets. In its inception, Hip-Hop was initially, for myself and other hustlers of the time, just another hustle…a fun, fast, risk-free and relatively easy one. It was also a ticket off the streets. Once Hip-Hop showed market potential, “corporate” America had to, whether they liked it or not, welcome its new players. New players meant new rules. Hip-Hop was a gangster’s paradise. By the 80s, you couldn’t tell the gangsters from the execs. In the Nineties, the game was deep with thugs. Labels sold more than just music. Executives and artists were getting popped. Coastal turf wars got out of control. On-record beefs and old street beefs started causing people to get beaten up and shot. All the while the cash registers kept on ringing and Hip-Hop made people rich. But Hip-Hop was no longer just business…it was personal.

Tupac Shakur was born in New York City to Afeni Shakur. Afeni was a member of the Black Panther Party, and also was pregnant with her son while in jail on bombing charges. The name Tupac Amaru comes from the Inca term meaning “shining serpent”. Shakur is Arabic for “thankful to God.” At the age of 15, Tupac wrote his first rap song under the name ‘M.C. New York’. His family moved to Oakland, California in 1988. Shortly after relocating, Tupac moved in with a neighbor and began to sell drugs..

Tupac Shakur probably was the most influential rapper of all-time. However, he may have had the worst influence on African-American culture in history. He was responsible for making it sexy to be considered a thug, essentially erasing nearly all of the self-respect and dignity that those who came before him marched and died for. Because TuPac had so much influence and leadership, he was able to convince young African- American women that being a thug was not only acceptable, but necessary for men within their culture. Allen Iverson took the torch from Tupac and ran with it into the NBA after leaving prestigious Georgetown University (thus giving birth to the sexy, thug-baller-type-cat that boyz don’t even blink twice at now.) (Jay Graves)



Cobain was found with a shotgun across his body. The King County Medical Examiner noted that there were puncture wounds on the inside of both the right and left elbow. In March 1994, while Nirvana was on tour in Europe, Cobain overdosed and lay in a coma for 20 hours. He underwent a series of detoxes and interventions, and by March 30th he had checked into Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles. Cobain left the facility the next day and went missing for a week in early April. He had returned to Seattle, where his body was found on April 8th with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Cobain was mourned in the days after his suicide by fans, fellow musicians, and his wife, and his ashes were scattered into Washington’s Wishkah River. He had left behind a powerful musical legacy and some of the era’s most enduring songs including Lithium, In Bloom, Heart-Shaped Box, Pennyroyal Tea, and About a Girl.

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