The modern society has created unfavorable conditions for the development and flourishing of such subcultural phenomena as hip-hop. Due to issues related to sex discrimination, alienation, racial misunderstandings and other, hip-hop has begun to ‘get ill’ and started to be a forgotten sign of a way to rehabilitate the community as it used to be before. Unfortunately, the ‘illness’ is destroying the perception of the hip-hop culture in Black America. Thereafter, the objective of the following paper is to analyze hip-hop in Black America, how it has changed itself and the country and what impact it has.
In order to make a thorough analysis, it is important to discard all the misconceptions and myths that relate to the culture of hip-hop and see what it truly is. Hip-hop has four main pillars that are Graffiti, Rapping, DJ’ing, and Breaking, which are all elements of the artistic process. Thus, the mainstream media and the music industry have started to bombard this culture with the constant images of rappers who use drugs, talk about violence and sex promotion, and this has shaped the view of people (Elkouby, 2013).
First introduced in the 1970’s, the culture of hip-hop has already gone far beyond the geographical locations and is a representation of the urban experience of the black people. Actually, the USA, from Bronx to Honolulu, has been always full of hip-hop among locals; and place together with region play the most important role in the identity of this culture. The most prominent hip-hop artists in history are considered to be DJ DATKIN, Phat Kat, Run DMC, MC Spice and others, who have managed to establish their own fashion styles, slang, lyrical and musical structures that were brought to every different region of hip-hop culture development. Rappers used to call their streets a real home, as the culture of hip-hop flourished in its own way in each region of the USA. The contemporary rap always represents very specific features of the region it was born in, and this makes hip-hop an extremely valuable source of cultural transformations, history and improvement of every black neighborhood in the United States (Hess, 2010).
Suddenly everything has started to change and hip-hop is undergoing a terrible crisis now. The fortunes related to that have gained a significant rise in the last century, but due to the invasion of mass media, this type of culture has started to be dominated by the pimps, hoes and black gangstas. The trademarks of rap are now violent portrayal of black masculinity, self-destructive images, homophobia and hyper-sexism. This was not like that before the 80’s; the commercial value of hip-hop among black Americans has started to twist the original meaning of this phenomenon. Moreover, the culture of hip-hop is more and more often considered as a threat to the well-being of the modern society. The promotion of rap music is seen through the prism of street crimes, gangstas, sexual insults and hustlers. Some of the rappers, such as Maad Circle and N.W.A., have started to speak about black joblessness and “a line of work” referring to street crime. This was put into a song and people have twisted their perception of what hip-hop really is and started to see it as the root cause of evil. It eventually started to be ‘buried alive’ together with all the hardships in life that are associated with it. The society has decided to promote the commercial hip-hop that is full of violence, and the increased profitability has led to the conception that this type of culture is responsible for social ills. Moreover, it has aroused the never-ending discussion on whether hip-hop is beneficial or not, and big media is the main shaper of these conversations (Rose, 2008).
Thereafter, this has led to debating about the hip-hop culture in America as the one with ambiguous nature because it glamorizes crime, drugs and sex as well as self-expression and identity origins of the Black youth. If to look deeper into the studies that are related to hip-hop listeners, the results would also be different as some people see hip-hop as pure evil and others understand that it is the expression of life experiences of the African Americans (Weiner, 2008).
The debates are in progress and apparently will not end soon. Moreover, there is evidence that some Americans have a strong fear of the culture of hip-hop and are afraid that it will negatively influence white people mostly. Thus, the majority of the CDs are bought by whites and the main reason for that is to have a glimpse at ghetto for violent behavior. Gangsta rap CDs would not be sold without violence, and media marketing teams have already understood that, which is why money is the main motivation to continue depicting hip-hop in a negative light (Jones, 2013).
In conclusion, it is important to mention that hip-hop is first of all a culture of self-expression and is aimed solely at piece, love and unity unlike it is depicted by the media today. The illness of hip-hop is related to the unfair view at it. Unfortunately, the debates that are related to determining the status of hip-hop in Black America as positive or negative will not ending in the near future, as the main goal of media is gaining profit.
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