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Commentary: Mesquite Teenager's Bad Rap

By Marisa Trevino, KERA 90.1 commentator

Dallas, TX –

The current number one album topping Billboard's charts is titled "The Massacre." It's by rap artist 50 Cent. The album has the usual hard rap elements: references to guns, foul language and ethnic slurs. By virtue of its number one spot on the charts, young people appear to be flocking to music stores for rap at rates rivaling Harry Potter fans at bookstores.

Frankly, I don't know which is more disturbing: the fact that such an album is the number one seller in our nation or the fact that young people listening to these lyrics are imitating the songwriting style and creating their own Massacre tunes. Yet, instead of becoming famous, these rap wannabes are becoming infamous.

There's no greater proof of this than what has happened to 17-year old Mesquite high school student Brock Coleman. Brock was recently indicted on felony stalking charges after he wrote and recorded a rap song that the Dallas County Sheriff's department said was threatening another student. The song, titled "Lullaby," is about Brock going to the home of this other student with guns and using him as a pi ata. The sheriff's department says that Brock belongs to a gang and visited this other student with his gang members to intimidate the student. Brock says no way does he belong to a gang, and that the student told him that even he liked the song.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't think twice about such a story. If only it weren't for two things: in all the descriptions of Brock, he's described as being a straight-A student. And what police call Brock's gang, he calls his rap group.

I know something about rap groups. My cousin's son has his own high school rap group. It's a group of boys who, with their baggy clothes, shaggy hair and tough-guy expressions, could easily pass as a hardened street gang. But drop in on one of their recording sessions - which is nothing more than four of them crammed into my cousin's walk-in closet because they say the acoustics are better - and you quickly realize they are doing nothing more than any of us did at their age who had dreams of being the next Springsteen or Santana. Unfortunately, they feel the only songs attractive enough to emulate are rap songs - complete with cuss words and threatening lyrics.

According to everyone who knows Brock, he has always wanted to be a rapper. He's been so busy focused on that goal and making good grades that he's never gotten in trouble with the law in his life. Now, Brock has had to post a $5,000 bond for his release from jail, enroll in an alternative school, and is scheduled to appear in a Dallas courtroom on April 12.

Some would argue that Brock should have known better than to write a song like that. But when our young people have grown up consistently exposed to these kinds of songs which top the charts, win music awards, are constantly played on the radio and cable music channels and their artists are glorified in every possible way, how can it be fair to expect anything otherwise from this generation? As it stands now, I would guess Brock has enough material for his own album.

 

Marisa Trevino is a writer from Rowlett.

If you have opinions or rebuttals about this commentary, call (214) 740-9338 or metro 972-263-3151, ext. 338, or email us.