My mom hates it when we play rap music in her presence. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from the radio, the television, or the iPod. It takes one beat and she’ll change the song faster than Twista can finish a sentence.
My siblings and I used to argue with her all the time, but she always had the same response — the lyrics are far too negative to have a positive influence on us. Our conversations would usually end with a roll of the eyes and a change of the music. But even as teens, we knew our mom was probably right…a lot of mainstream rappers out there tend to glorify “bad” things.
Thankfully, there are exceptions to every rule…
Over the summer, I was assigned to interview Baby Jay, a teen rapper who is all about sending a positive message. Not only does Baby Jay rap about having respect and saying “no” to drugs, but he also visits classrooms and encourages kids to stay in school. He performs “perfect attendance” concerts to help improve the dropout crisis, and his song “Don’t Laugh At Me” is at the heart of a program that teaches tolerance in more than 10,000 schools. He is also the only rapper to receive a key to the city of Houston, which I think is pretty awesome.
We had a blast hanging out with Baby Jay and his manager Rolando for an afternoon. They took us Baby Jay’s high school, his recording studio, and even one of his favorite restaurants in Houston. It didn’t take long to realize that Baby Jay is a great kid who is serious about setting a positive example — you can check out our interview with him at the end of the post.
I didn’t really know what to expect from this “anti-bullying” artist prior to our interview, but after spending a day with Baby Jay, I do know one thing: there is at least one rapper in the world that might actually fly with Mrs. Holliday.