Paper on similarities of Jazz and HipHop originally published in the Jazz Research Proceedings Yearbook, Vol. 24, 2004, written by Mark Baszak. Link (via)

While hip-hop artists rap about a variety of topics, from the sublime – such as teaching black history – to the ridiculous – such as partying to excess – negative messages are criticized far more often than positive messages are applauded. Critics of rap and hip-hop often object to some of its practitioners’ gratuitous references to violence, profanity, racism, homophobia, materialism, misogyny, and objectification of women. But as Cheryl Keyes discovered, “people who have negative reactions to [rap] music are often unable to decode its lyrics, style, and message.”14 Defenders point out that even though many rappers are guilty as charged (Dr. Dre and Eminem have each been cited for multiple violations), they are depicting their environments, and they are expressing what is going on in urban America. Rather than using censorship as a tool to silence its practitioners, educators should consider using the offending lyrics as a tool to engage students in a discussion of the broad range of social issues they generate. As Henry Louis Gates Jr. once said, “Censorship is to art what lynching is to justice.”

Not so long ago, jazz and the blues also were criticized, in these cases because of their real or alleged associations with urban nightlife, gangster-run clubs, and the worlds of drugs, alcohol and prostitution. To the extent that these associations were true, one has to consider that American jazz music, as Jon Hendricks has pointed out, “would not exist…if it were not for the gangster element in this country. They are the ones who gave the music a chance to grow [and] provided the clubs that became venues for Louis Armstrong and Joe Oliver when they came up from New Orleans after Storyville closed … because the so-called “decent” people wanted nothing to do with that music.”15 In the 1920s, New York City instituted the so-called cabaret laws to place restrictions on where and how jazz could be played. According to Tricia Rose, these laws, many of which remained in effect until the 1980s, “were attached to moral anxieties regarding black cultural effects and were in part intended to protect white patrons from jazz’s ‘immoral influences.'”16