Rethinking Rap

Like it or not, hip-hop is young America's soundtrack.

The hip-hop generation comes in all colors and dances to a rap beat, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports.

Hard-core language and soft-core images have helped make rap a multibillion-dollar business. It has grown from urban to suburban; more than half of its consumers are white.

The music industry knows that sex and violence sell.

"When you look at the lyrics, and I looked at them, I was appalled," said activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

He means lyrics like these by Snoop Dogg: "You got to put that b-tch in her place, even if it's slapping her in her face. Ya gotta control yo' ho."

As poet Maya Angelou says, "Vulgarity is vulgarity is vulgarity. And the vulgarity that comes out of a black mouth or a white mouth or an Asian mouth is still vulgarity."

DJ Julio G has been putting rap on the radio for 20 years.

"You have to understand, these people are from the hood, man," he said. "You've got to go to their block and see — wow, this is pretty hostile, man. And ask yourself the question, do we have to do something to help the youth so they don't have to live like that, or do we just point the finger at them and say 'you're a bad person, man, 'cause you told us the truth?'"

But a growing chorus of African-American critics say mean streets don't excuse the demeaning of black women.

"There's something else there that drives that: dollars. commercialism, and knowing that at the end of the day 'we can make a lot of money off of this,'" Hutchinson said.

But the big music companies aren't making as much money off rap as they used to. Sales were down 21 percent last year — and for the first time in more than a decade, not one rapper was among the top 10 best sellers.

But hip-hop isn't going away. There's one place 60 miles outside of Los Angeles that may look like a club, but it's actually it's a hip-hop church.

"We love hip-hop and we love God, so we just put them together," Pastor Flo B told Whitaker.

Pastor Flo says he's taking rap back — back from the gangstas and back to its roots when it was all about making a joyful noise.