Does Music Influence People To Commit Crimes?

I’ve read different theories online that say the same exact people that control the music industry also own private prisons, and work together to use rap music to fill the prisons up. One story that stuck out to me was  from a former industry insider, who attended a secret meeting about using rap music to influence more people to commit crimes, in order to produce more inmates.

This source is not 100% reliable because the author wished to remain anonymous. But even without the proof of the meeting, I still feel like there is some truth to the fact that music influences how people behave in my neighborhood.

I see rappers negatively influence my peers in two ways:

1) Behavior.
I personally see the connection between the music that is being promoted on my TV screen with the crimes I see in my neighborhood. A very popular artist that fits the gangster icon is a teenager named Chief Keef. Everybody I know in Oakland loves listening to him. I walk down the street and all I hear are his lyrics that promote smoking weed, hitting licks (robbing houses and people), and shooting at people you dislike.

And the truth is, most of my peers that listen to these kind of songs, actually act upon these things. Now we could call this a big coincidence, or we could call it the major influence of the rap industry that misguides teenagers that are still developing and finding themselves.

2) Promoting high-priced products.
Everything I see in music videos or even hear in the songs, I see in my own neighborhood. From the cars to the clothes, a lot of unemployed people I know possess these high-priced items. Most of my friends don’t have jobs, but they wear what the superstars wear, like $250 pair of jeans, $300 belt and $200 pair of shoes.

Lately most rappers have been glamorizing expensive European cars, and always saying, “If it’s not foreign it’s boring” (if your car is not made out the country, which raised the value, then it’s not a great car). I know people who own foreign brands like BMW, Benz, Bentley, Ferrari, and Porsches, but they don’t have legitimate jobs. And whatever designer brand I hear on the radio, I see people sporting it in my own neighborhood.

I kind of also fall victim to the media because I own a lot of clothes that I hear about on the radio. But honestly, I didn’t buy my jeans because I heard a Rick Ross song one day. I bought my jeans because they are the 2013 fashion for the year and I just wanted to stay up float with my generation like a lot of teenagers would.

So even if the media doesn’t  directly influence you, it can influence your peers or your spouse, who then influence you. So now you have second-hand influence by the media.

I am aware of this powerful influence, but I have already developed my preference for rap music. So I still listen to the lyrics, but don’t let them get past music enjoyment or let them influence my daily actions.