Researchers from the University of Bielefeld in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) unveiled a study on Tuesday examiningyouth susceptibility to anti-Semitic and misogynistic messaging in so-called gangsta rap lyrics. The genre is popular with young Germans.
“The study provides the first empirical evidence that gangsta rap prepares the breeding ground for later entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes,” said NRW Anti-Semitism Commissioner Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who sponsored the study.
“We must not stand by while musicians propagate anti-Semitism and indoctrinate young people with lyrics that glorify violence and are misogynistic,” she added.
She says she has no interest in banning the music but hopes progress can be made in convincing musicians, labels and streaming platforms to reflect upon the responsibility they bear in society.
What is the research based on?
The report, based on interviews that researchers conducted from 2019 to 2021 with some 500 participants between the ages of 12 and 24, found that those participants who said they regularly listen to gangsta rap ascribe great authenticity to artists, despite the fact that these are largely pop characters marketed by record companies and streaming services.
Researchers say that the lyrics in question were not anti-Semitic across the board, but rather laced with conspiracy theories propagating numerous anti-Semitic stereotypes.
“Our results show that there is a direct connection between the consumption of gangsta rap and the tendency to share anti-Semitic and misogynistic statements,” said Marc Grimm of the University of Bielefeld.
Grimm added that anti-Semitic references in lyrics and images in particular are, “often not recognized and understood as such” by listeners unable to contextualize them.
What did researchers ask German rap fans?
The Bielefeld team compiled its data through online interviews regarding genre preferences between hip-hop and gangsta rap.
Participants were also asked to interpret texts, images and videos. Moreover, demographic data was also collected, registering levels of education, family income, media consumption and media competence.
Some 27% of those who identified themselves as regular consumers of gangsta rap (3-in-5 of which were male) said artists were voicing uncomfortable yet socially relevant issues in their music..
Beyond anti-Semitism, the study also found a direct correlation between the consumption of gangsta rap with hyper-masculine, chauvinistic gender views.
js/wmr (dpa, KNA)