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Obituary: Rap Music (1978 - 2017)

The beloved, world-renowned genre Rap Music died last week at age 38.

Born in the late 1970's under the name Hip-Hop Music, Rap grew up in several of America's largest urban centers and was able to witness the plight of the inner cities' residents firsthand. The young, idealistic member of the Music family spent its early years singing of the everyday struggles of working-poor minorities and strove to spread a message of unity and empowerment for its audience. In spite of many run-ins with law enforcement, Rap eventually made the big time, at one point becoming America's most popular Music.

Rap was riding high in the 1990's, but even the good times had their share of troubles in store, as many of Rap's high-profile collaborators met early, tragic ends. Having acclimated itself to the good life, Rap's message began to undergo a serious transformation; a more boastful and materialistic tone began to permeate everything associated with it. Rather than raising awareness of socio-political issues, the adolescent genre of Music now seemed pre-occupied with wealth, luxury, and bragging about expensive possessions and status symbols. Eventually taking on the moniker "Gangsta" Rap, it seemed to have completely lost touch with its roots, though its popularity did not wane because of it.

As Rap Music gradually became more and more a part of American culture, its penchant for controversy slowly faded away. Among its more recent PR missteps was the recurring accusation that Rap was now celebrating acts of violence and brutality that it had spent its early years condemning. While many of the artists associated with Rap would downplay these indiscretions, often claiming that Rap was simply telling the unpleasant truth about the state of the world, it was another sign that the maturing genre was becoming more conservative with age.

Following the death of its cousin Rock Music two years ago, Rap began to spiral into identity crisis and questioned whether there was still a place for it in the Music family. With radio now dominated by bearded falsetto singers playing ukulele, diva idols taking their cues from Techno, and operatic pop acts inspired by British soccer chants, Rap Music was clearly no longer the force it once was. The killing blow may have come with the revelation that it was now appearing in Broadway musicals, a high-society pasttime so far removed from the lives of the working-poor that Rap was now unrecognizable in such a setting. The accolades from critics and moneyed media figures may have poured in, but there was no denying that Rap was now becoming a target for ridicule in its final years, gaining a reputation as a source of satirical memes.

"Being cool and shocking people was what Rap lived for, but it had become such a huge part of its identity that, by the mid-90's, it was the only thing it lived for. Rap just couldn't cope with being a respected American institution for elites. It never recovered from being labeled a sell-out," said Rap's cousin Metal, sibling to the late Rock Music and Punk Music.

Rap is survived by its parents R&B and Soul Music; its older sibling Funk; cousins Pop, Metal, and Techno; and its long-lost relations Jazz, Country, and Whatever It Is They Play On Insurance Commercials. In lieu of flowers, the Music family requests that you move in with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air. I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said FRESH and it had dice in the mirror. If anything, I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought, "Nah, forget it. Yo homes, to Bel-Air!" I pulled up to the house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabbie, "Yo homes, smell ya later!" I looked at my kingdom. I was finally there to sit on my throne as the Prince of Bel-Air.