skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 203323 Find in a Library
Title: Gangster Rap: The Real Words Behind the Songs
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:11  Issue:1  Dated:Fall 2003  Pages:55-63
Author(s): Andrew M. Grascia
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 9
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In analyzing Gangster Rap, this paper focuses on the gangs involved in it, an explanation of the words of some of the most popular Gangster Rap songs and the messages conveyed to youth, as well as the political messages of Gangster Rap.
Abstract: Gangster Rap, which is believed to have begun in the Bronx, NY, during the 1970's, is an expression of a gangster's life on the streets, with a "gangster" defined as a person who lives outside the law, selling drugs to make money, using women for his profit, and promoting violence and racism. This paper presents lyrics from various Gangster Rap songs that mention the names of gangs, including the Crips, the Bloods, the Gangster Disciples, and the Vice Lords. Biographical information on Gangster Rap artists reveals their gang affiliations. Music magazines that feature Gangster Rap articles refer to gangs or gang life. CD jackets portray gang symbols. Gangster Rap continues to grow, and society is embracing it. A segment of Gangster Rap that stems from the Latino communities is starting to become more mainstream. Some of the Gangster Rap artists have made political statements in their songs. Various songs have mentioned the reform of drug laws, the abolition of "three strikes" laws, prohibition against trying and sentencing juveniles as adults, and the elimination of sentencing disparities between crack and powdered cocaine use. Overall, when used in the wrong way, Gangster Rap touts gang life, gang symbols, and gang values, i.e., that money equals power and power equals respect. 34 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Gang member attitudes; Gang violence; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Media violence; Media-crime relationships
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.