I sincerely doubt that 90% of rap is of the gangsta variety.
I did grow up on gangsta rap
as a kid in the 90's though (Dr. Dre, Snoop, NWA, Bone Thugs N' Harmony, Coolio, etc,) in addition to other kinds of rap and many other genres of music, and I have a soft spot for some of those semi-old skool jams. I like some of the newer stuff too at times; to me it has it's place and I think the trouble starts when people stop taking it as a description of the way things are for some people and start thinking of it as the way things should
be. (I guess it's become more and more like that now; current gangsta rap is a lot different than it used to be. It's a lot more materialistic and stuff.)
It's uh, fun to dance to as well as a good way to get out aggression (like certain kinds of rock music) and sometimes you just wanna feel like an OG when you're cruising in your mama's hoopty. Also, not all songs by a given artist have the same tone or views or whatever. People are complex.
There's not just a strict dichotomy of gangsta rap vs. non-gangsta rap, but more of a continuum between rappers/songs who glorify
violence, crime, heavy drug use, extreme materialism, and misogyny and those who simply tell stories of the things they see/experience (with the people in the middle just doing it for shits and giggles.) An artist might be all hard and shit on some tracks, but not on others. Even Eminem has his thoughtful stuff. There's also the theatrical element and the straight up venting.
But anyway, most of the music I listen to is not rap (although I do love it) and the great majority of the rap that I do
listen to is not gangsta rap. There's just so much out there. I spent the last several hours looking up/remembering rap/hip-hop that I like and now I'm gonna be obnoxious and post a shitload of links:
Blackalicious - Chemical Calisthenics
A too short clip of the beginning of a great geeky song.
Blackalicious - Alphabet Aerobics
Talib Kweli - Get By
The Roots f. Erykah Badu - You Got Me
One of my all time faves.
Sage Francis - Sea Lion
Random kid's bmx video to the song.
Lupe Fiasco - Kick Push
Fer da skaters.
Dilated Peoples - Worst Comes To Worst
Atmosphere - Trying To Find A Balance
Nas f. Olu Dara - Bridging The Gap
Gym Class Heroes - Taxi Driver
Gotta love a hip-hop song that name drops 26 rock bands to create a story.
Gym Class Heroes - Shoot Down The Stars
Gym Class Heroes - It's Okay, But Just This Once!
Stripped down live version.
Eve - Love Is Blind
Tupac - Changes
Tupac - Dear Mama
Jill Scott - A Long Walk
Lupe Fiasco f. Jill Scott - Daydreamin'
Eminem - Like Toy Soldiers
Eminem - Mosh
Jurassic 5 - The Influence
Jurassic 5 - What's Golden
Mystic - The Life
The Streets - Let's Push Things Forward
The Steets -Irony Of It All
The Streets - Weak Become Heroes
DMX - Who We Be
Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love?
Lyrics Born - Bad Dreams
De La Soul - Me, Myself and I
Back in the day...
Run DMC - Rock Box
Another blast from the past.
Beastie Boys - Intergalactic
They're known to let the beat mmm...drop
Outkast - B.O.B
Outkast - Ms. Jackson
Common - The Light
Common - Go
Common - I Have A Dream
Dead Prez - Hip Hop
These guys are pretty militant, but good. It's bigger than hip-hop...
Dead Prez - Mind Sex
Dead Prez - They School
Matisyahu - King Without A Crown live
Linkin Park f. X-ecutioners, et al - It's Going Down
Rock + hip-hop
Timbuktu f. Peps Persson - Dynamit
Timbuktu - Karmakontot
Timbuktu - Ett Brev
Bone Thugs N' Harmony - The Crossroads
Kanye West f. Jamie Foxx - Gold Digger
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise
Fili Stylz - Rize
Song and clips from the sweet documentary Rize
Michael Franti - Stay Human
@Castaway: Some MCs play instruments or are a part of live bands like The Roots, Gym Class Heroes, etc. Some also produce their own beats. Also, it can be argued that turntables can be an instrument unto themselves.
Do you consider regular singers who write their own lyrics and are part of bands or who otherwise collaborate with others, but don't play their own instruments (at least on stage,) to not be musicians? They make music, neh?
Production of beats (and in general) is also an art form and I don't see how an MC and a producer collaborating is any less creative or musical than when two members of a regular band stop, collaborate, and listen.
@Dr.Robert: Poetry + sound = music.
If people wanna dance to it, it's probably at least technically