One certainly doesn't have to listen to much hiphop music to hear that violence and the threat of violence are often central themes in the music. I myself sometimes use dark themes and profanity when trying to paint my soundscapes. It was a long thought out decision whether or not to do this and my desire as a writer to represent things "as they are" prevailed over my desire to be seen as acceptable in the eyes of polite society (which i found out at an early age was a waste of time anyway). The use of themes of violence and graphic material are not new to music or visual art forms. I love japanese anime and am always amused at the responses of persons not familiar with the use of adult themes in this distinctly Japanese art form. You do know it's just a cartoon right? But i digress. When hiphop was in it's early incarnation back in the days of the Fabulous 5 and Curtis Blow you certainly did not hear as much wanton glorification of violence as you do now. Was there not violence in the black community in those days? Yea right. Since we know the answer to that question the next obvious question is, what happened? As i do not have the research funding to gather data on this question i will have to use the methods of Professor Einstein and fabricate a Gadanken of my own based on personal anecdotal evidence and many years spent on the front lines of health care working with impoverished and ethnic communities. 
     There are several points i will bring out in my thought experiment and I will attempt to tie these thoughts together cohesively. One of the first things established by the hiphop community was truth in verse. In other words don't talk about what you don't know. I personally have been around more than my fair share of violence and most certainly was affected as a young man witnessing such things in my personal life and community. There are many examples of how those around me chose to deal with the reality of violence but let's be real about one thing. To expect every underprivileged youth exposed to violence at an early age to mentally navigate the effects of that and become the next Martin Luther King is just plain silly. The responses will be as varied as the bell curve. Amongst my peers i have found no duplicates (persons with Doctorate degrees that do rap music) and if their are i haven't met them yet. That alone should be a statement about how often persons can achieve a high level on a social scale after being exposed to real violence as a youth. Our thought experiment now ask the question what would happen if a group of persons had limited outlets to express their exposure to violence and we turned the clock forward to see how this would be expressed in the future. Before i state my theory on that i would like to point out previous theories on the human psyche espoused by Carl Jung. The psyche is a multifaceted being that is at it's highest levels completely unified if it is to perform at it's most efficient. Plainly stated if we don't grow while learning to integrate our pain we fragment and fall apart. Growth takes knowledge ,guidance ,and experience. You see where im going with that obviously, even more so if  you have studied psychology.  
     So here we are in the future, 20 years after the founding of hiphop. Things certainly look different. The economy has gotten much worse. Oh wow we have a black president, but unemployment is at it's highest levels in the black community, and the cost of education and basic commodities has skyrocketed out of control. Violence is a part of daily life in a way never before seen post 9/11 and with the country constantly at war in the middle east. Access to mental healthcare and mentoring is almost non-existent( I work on an indian reservation so i speak from experience on that point) and media glorification of violence as well as inner city violence is at an all time high.  Based on these findings we can predict as a visitor from the 1980's that most likely violence will become a more common and prevalent theme in all art forms as the human psyche grapples with this fundamental threat to existence. Access to examples is important. How many of us want to go to a church where the preacher smokes weed in the pulpit while all of his mistresses sit around him. Let's just throw some books on PTSD and Taoism in the cribs of all the children born in the ghetto and come back in 10 years and see if there is a reduction in murder and violence. I can pretty much predict the results of that Gadanken. No go.   As a spoken word artist sometimes i use testosterone laced verses in my music because i'm a guy and guys like to compete, but sometimes it's just the only way i feel i can bring awareness to the fact that a lot of us are scarred for life by this military industrial complex's systematic destruction of our way of life down to the family level. The voices of the disenfranchised may sometimes sound dissonant and unorganized, but the silence is far more deadly.     J. Gray