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Teach the Difference Between Rap and Reality

September 17, 2002

After reading "Two Tales of the Thug Life" (editorial, Sept. 13), on Tupac Shakur and Stanley "Tookie" Williams, I have questions that have no apparent answer. What makes violence seem so cool, and what can be done to prevent this? If the "gangster rappers" decided to rap about rainbows, peace and all great things, would society grasp them as it has done with gangster rap? I believe the answer is no; there is something about violence that grabs youth and drags them to a life of failure.

As a student at Cal State Northridge, I see people "bumping" their music as they exit the parking lot, but it does not mean they are going to go do exactly what the song says. Those individuals who take the songs at face value are just weak-minded and require parental and medical attention.

Roman Slavinsky

Van Nuys

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I find it incredible that the editorial uses "toughs" to refer to "thugs" (also your description). These gangsters/thugs are no more than cowards. Put these hoodlums one on one, take away their gangster homies and find out how tough they are. I wish the media would call these creeps what they really are: cowards.

Lanny Adamian

Pasadena

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The editorial sent out a good message. Instead of complaining about not liking the lyrics that rap music presents, we need to understand that rap is not a phase and will not just go away. We need to concentrate on our youth and help them understand the importance of staying away from gangster life.

There was a lifestyle change for Williams, which is the same story for a lot of prison inmates. I don't believe that he should be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize. As with Shakur, who did promote voting among minorities, small positive steps do not outweigh the negative. It is still the job of the parents to guide their children through life. We need to stop blaming every outside influence.

Abeni Carr

Northridge

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A Sept. 11 letter on The Times' investigation of Shakur's death asked, "Who cares?" I care. He was a genius in hood's clothing. He navigated between high-mindedness and thugdom the only way he knew how, by "keepin' it real," even if it killed him, which it did. His ode to his mother, "Dear Mama," is one of the most heartfelt love songs ever written. He's in the realm of Jimi Hendrix now. His star has shone, bright and brief, but he's not forgotten.

Christine Frauchiger-Sanchez

Los Angeles

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