The May 1992 riots in Los Angeles demonstrated more than anything in recent history that the inner cities are filled with despair, hopelessness, and anger. Some feel that rap music is responsible for both gangs and the lawlessness unleashed by the riots. This paper will seek to address this notion by looking at the rap lyrics of artists who have been considered the most radical and the most angry. By examining rap lyrics we can detect anger and frustration in the ghetto. Rap music did not cause rioting in Los Angeles but it effectively heralded measures taken by inner-city residents who are tired of governmental and societal neglect of their community, their homes, and their lives.

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