Wilmer Espinosa, a member of Los Mas Fuertes (Arianna Cubillos/Associated Press)

The Washington Post reports that rap groups in Venezuela are using music to reach out to troubled teenagers and give them an outlet to express themselves and avoid becoming involved in the violence that plagues parts of the country.

Polls show that Venezuelans consider violent crime to be the country's top problem, and the issue has become fodder for political debate. President Hugo Chavez's critics call the crime rate one of his greatest failures.

Advertisement

One group, Los Mas Fuertes Records, or "the Strongest Ones Records," was founded three years ago in Caracas. While two other Caracas rap groups include musicians who express support for Chavez, the members of Los Mas Fuertes say they're not taking a political stand but, rather, delivering a universal message. They tell their audiences that everyone has the power to change their communities.

The rappers spread that message through performances at schools, churches and outdoor concerts in some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods. The music, he said, is "for those who are destroying themselves in the streets."

Venezuelans seem to have borrowed rap from the United States. Maybe, in exchange, a few of our big stars could imitate this socially conscious use for the genre?

Read more at the Washington Post.

In other news: BET Awards Nominees Announced.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.