A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Rap Game is a reality show that underscores the real expectations of the commercial rap/hip-hop industry. It contains strong language (and lots of bleeped curses), some arguing and stage-parenting, and no-nonsense feedback from industry mentors. Champagne and logos for Chevrolet, Range Rover, Ferrari, and other cars are visible. It’s a bit edgy but paints a very honest picture of what young hopefuls face when breaking into the business.
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What's the story?
Coproduced by Queen Latifah and renowned producer Jermaine Dupri, THE RAP GAME is a reality series featuring young up-and-coming hip-hop artists ranging between the ages of 12 and 16 vying for a recording contract at an eight-week rapper boot camp. The Atlanta-based Dupri, who has worked with artists such as Kris Kross, Usher, and Bow Wow, is looking for his next young breakout star. He’s recruited popular social media celebs Young Lyric, Li'l Niqo, Supa Peach, Li'l Poopy, and Miss Mulatto in hopes of finding one. With the help of his assistant, Jnyflower, he introduces them to industry insiders, puts them to work in the studio, and sends them on challenges designed to prepare them for the rigors of a full-scale music career. Each week he ranks the kids according to their performance and effort to keep track of their individual progress and to help him determine who will get signed to his label. But throughout it all, Dupri must contend with their parents and guardians, whose personal aspirations, managing styles, and competitive behavior conflict with his efforts to move the young rappers into the big leagues.
Is it any good?
The engagingly honest and compelling reality show offers viewers a chance to see the kind and level of preparation and training it takes to be a successful hip-hop artist who can sell albums. There’s some competitive behavior, but what makes it worth watching are the larger lessons being taught here, which range from being willing to start at the bottom and developing a strong work ethic to learning how to listen, take direction, and cope with criticism. It also underscores the fact that being an Internet celeb doesn't automatically translate into success in the commercial rap industry.
The kids want to succeed, but some of them, regardless of their talent, appear to lack the maturity necessary to understand the opportunities being given to them, much less navigate or cope with the cutthroat and unforgiving industry if they manage to break into it. The pressure placed on them by their families, combined with their misguided advice, doesn’t help, either. The show’s bottom line? To successfully win the real rap game, you have to rely on hard work, mentorship, and perfecting your craft instead of swagger, bravado, and bling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about children entering the music industry. Is it a good idea for kids to go into the competitive entertainment industry? What are some of the challenges they face as a result of being young? Are there benefits? How much of a role should parents play in their careers?