Growing up in the US in the 90s/2000s, a constant theme in movies and TV had characters that were lovable losers, constant underdogs, and people nice almost to a fault.
My young and very impressionable mind made me believe this is how life is. Follow the rules, be nice, do the right thing and all your dreams will come true by happenstance or luck that you 'earn' from playing by the rules.
Rap, and the entire hip hop culture, is quite the opposite. Be great, stand out, show your skills and that's how you'll get respect.
I started listening to rap music in 7th grade when I was at a basketball tournament, and one of the older guys was playing rap. When Ice Cube's voice burst through the speaker and metaphorically shattered my brain with his intensity on his Westside Connection track, "Who Bangin'?" I was hooked immediately.
I got more and more into rap over the years (and to this day) and was drawn to the attitude, confidence, and braggadocious-filled lyrics, but also the heart, soul, pain they project through some of the most brilliant wordplay of modern times.
Basically the complete opposite of all the losers and nice guys that are so frequently depicted as the heroes in movies and TV shows.
Way way back in the day before adopting powerful mindsets and thought patterns to protect those mindsets, I had the words of Ghostface Killah, Prodigy, Havoc, Method Man, RZA, Ice Cube, 2pac, Dr. Dre, Big L, Fat Joe and many more in my head propping me up.
One of my favorite lines, as it relates to mindset and just the general attitude I have daily is Fat Joe saying "Bring it on if you think you can hang, and if not then let me do my thing!"
Pronounce 'thing' as 'thang' for that New York slang and make the rhyme complete lol.
So much is encapsulated in such a brief line, the depth and strength of it is massive as to what it's saying directly and indirectly implying.
Rap helped me stand up for myself, made me realize that no one's gonna come save me as the movies had convinced me of, and also help break me free from ideologies and values being impressed up on by pop culture.
The message is everywhere if you're aware of what you're looking for. I could write a whole book about the crossovers between what our favorite mindset people have to say and what rappers have encoded in their lyrics.
See below for a link to the song that shook me to my core and opened my eyes to the power of rap and free thinking, plus a link to the track with the Fat Joe line I mention above.