When Listening to Mainstream Hip-Hop/Rap Makes Us Think We’re Cool

You’re swiftly speed walking down Pollock Road on your way to class, headphones in and avoiding eye contact with fellow students. There’s nothing on your mind besides getting to class on time and making sure that you aren’t breathing too heavily. Suddenly, Big Sean’s “IDFWU” comes on, and everything about your demeanor changes. Your steps pick up a swagger. A forced troubled look appears on your face. Whatever it is, you’re a different person now.

Now, don’t try and pretend this isn’t you. We all have a part deep inside that wants to be “cooler” than who we really are. As you probably know, media affects us more than we realize, and in this case, especially when it comes to music. Our favorite rappers have that “above the rules” reputation that not only intimidates us, but also makes their lifestyle so gosh darn desirable.

For example, rapper Chief Keef lives the real deal gangster life, and as we listen to his music, we are able to get a taste of that badass lifestyle for a few minutes. We can sometimes feel an out-of-body experience as we are consumed by the music and we imagine ourselves as someone we are not.

Senior telecommunications major Shane McRae can relate to this sensation when he listens to his favorite rap or hip-hop song.“I picture myself in the music video with my homies. I feel confident as I’m rapping along with Weezy F Baby [Lil Wayne],” he says.

The more we listen, the more addicted we become. And so our transformation begins…

For some, the first sign of your alter-ego coming out is revealed on a night out. “Coco” by O.T. Genasis starts to play and you stop what you are doing and twerk until it hurts. In your head you are killing it, but in reality you look like a dog trying to lick its butt. Your friends even egg you on and tell you how great you are while making sure they document it on Snapchat simultaneously.

Your confidence grows. Next, you change your wardrobe. While listening to Schoolboy Q, let’s just say you might have a bucket hat on. And let’s point out that you think you look good. And let’s also just acknowledge that your grandpa living in Florida is currently wearing the same hat while playing Bocci ball.

Finally, the peak of your transformation is when you think it’s okay to start “swagging” around campus. With your headphones blasting “0 to 100” by Drake, you hold your phone outwards so that every not-as-awesome-as-you passerby perceives you to be as cool as you think you are. You know you don’t belong in the same world of these rap Gods, but it feels so right. Then, all in that same moment you look to your right and see a dad driving his kids around in a minivan, arm out the window, slowly head nodding to the radio edit of “Hot Boy” by Bobby Shmurda.


Right then and there you revert back to the version of yourself that can’t dance.


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