Most early rap music with which I’m familiar was about innocuous subjects. When gangsta rap hit the scene and sprouted a sub-culture (or at least the perception that there is a sub-culture) of lawless, violent, rage-filled mostly black youths who self-identify through dress and mannerisms, I started becoming fearful of people who look and act the thug role. While many of those people are probably harmless poseurs, how am I to tell who is and who isn’t a thug without putting myself at risk of violence? People who choose to project a violent image bring violence upon themselves. Our culture, and black culture in particular, needs to teach children that first impressions matter. While we’ve all learned the maxim “don’t judge a book by its cover,” time constraints require us to use the book’s cover to filter what’s on the shelf so we can decide which books we want to spend time reading.