I live and breathe hip-hop; these are words of real hip-hop heads. Those who know the real art form that has turned into a business over the past twenty years, these members of the culture understand the meaning of rap and hip-hop. The two terms are often confused in the media.
Rap or rapping is an action that artists do to express their artistic words. Most artists write lyrics then turn them into music. Rapping has never been a way of life; but it has turned into careers for some. While on the other hand, hip-hop is a culture or a lifestyle for thousands of young Americans.
Hip-hop began as poetry, an art form that expresses one's inner most feelings. It has allowed many of its member's access to an outlet that we all need. In the past couple of years, the older generations have showed their dislike for the culture. They say such things as nothing good comes out of the music, all the rappers are ex drug dealers, or the music is devaluing more African American lives than it is helping. That debate is imbalanced because the older generation has more pull, and most rappers or members of the hip-hop culture do not properly know how to defend the culture to discuss it with the older generation.
That debate does not take anything away from the culture of hip-hop, but what it has created is a need for the rest of the country to understand what hip-hop is and does for those that love it. By no means should a drug dealer turned rapper be glorified by the youth, but most of the listeners do not know or care about the past of the rappers they listen to. What they do care about is the music; the feeling that hip-hop gives them when they cannot express themselves. That is what hip-hop brings to the listeners, a channel of expression or some form of comfort zone.