Music has become diverse in today’s society. Its various types that exist can be closely associated as having similar genres or be dissociated for having great differences. Music types like country (western) and rap (hip-hop) could seem to be very dissimilar. Take for example their originality. Country music was originated in the south way back in the 19th century. Hip hop on the other hand was brought about by the black Americans slaves. However, these two groups of people having different cultures had similar reasons for composing their songs. They both used songs sung in different styles to let out their frustrations.
It was during the times of slavery that hip-hop was born. The captives would use words to narrate stories while adding verbs and sound to make it vigilant. For the beats, they would drum anything they could place their hands on. This was their way of expressing the hard feelings inside of them for being slaves. In the 1970’s, Clive Campbell, also known as Hercules, brought a revolution to this simple form of rap. He began to create mix and trying different new ideas. Eventually he added rhymes to his mix and therefore, consequently brought a very different touch to hip-hop.
Country music was more or less used for the same reasons. That is, for letting out frustrations. It was during the hard times in Tennessee that this kind of music came to be. Many restrictions were going on for both the rich and poor people alike. They were beginning to lose their possession due to economical reasons. They could also not access alcohol and drink in order to forget about their problems. This is why they composed lyrics expressing their hate of the financial system and prohibitions imposed on them. It was at such times that honky-tonk country music came to be. Its singers combined the sound of steel guitar and drums to make it vibrant as they sung about their troubles. Later on these lyrics changed to praising the life of bootlegging, making alcohol illegally (Silva, 1997, 104).
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The two types, country and hip-hop owe a major debt to the southern gospel tradition also; which in turn was heavily influenced by slavery. Both hip-hop and country are folk music. They are both made by and for particular groups of people. They both have elements of oral traditions that brought a people together and creates a since of belonging.
These two types of music talk that about life. Their themes are very much alike. The musicians often talk about crime, disenfranchisement, sinning, and being saved, women. They also sing of how they grew up poor causing them to look for ways of surviving. It could be that a girl would be forced into prostitution to earn money. A good example of such lyrics is the song by Reba McEntire where she sings, “She looked at a pitiful shack and then she looked at me and took a ragged breath, She said your Pa's run off and I'm real sick and the baby's gonna starve to death" For the hip-hop music, Tupac Shakur sings of what young men do in order to get their daily bread; He claims and I quote, "Don't blame my mama, Don't blame my daddy, I know they wish they never had me In and out of jail by 12, Failing out of school Cause I was livin' by the street rules Hangin' with hoes," As the artists narrate their story, they are able to connect with their audience (Larry, 2009: 154).
Male singers dominate both country songs and hip-hop music. They boldly and strongly express their male chauvinism and highly regard women as sexual objects for their satisfaction. In hip-hop, women are referred to as whores or bitches. Most of the times they sing about women shaking their behinds to give them pleasure. In country songs, they would call them senoritas or simply women. However, it sounds softer and better; but the meaning brought out is the same. In addition, what is common between the two is that they often sing about sad stories. These include such things as drugs, violence, sexual abuse etc.
Having such themes would obviously lead to high criticisms. It seems as though the two support a bad lifestyle of crime and sexual immorality. Country music is represented by a redneck, which is sitting on a porch while drinking beer. Added to the image is the sound of a banjo in the background. Hip-hop on the other hand is symbolised by a huge black man holding a block, hard-core, and ghetto put together in one package. Since they are about such stuff many disapprove of such music. Therefore, the two share the same fate.
Country music and hip-hop was mainly a thing done by men. Women hardly ventured into any of the two. However, times are changing and women are producing both kind of music. Women rappers do it to portray confidence and strength. Others display promiscuity and use many vulgar languages as their male counterparts. The women singing country songs are similarly increasing a few examples to mention include Carrie Underwood and LeAnn. However unlike male singers, they seem to show more respect because they sing with passion and exhibit innocence in their music. Country song female singers uphold love rather than affluence. They do not appreciate a man who is a workaholic and does not attend to her emotional and physical needs. More or less the same women seem to be catching on for both worlds.
Women are not only seen as bitches in both genres but also liars and cheaters. However, when the musicians talk of their mothers, they portray them as angels. They do not lie and are very understanding. Their love is unconditional because they continue to care and look after their sons who lie and cheat. Country music lacks the intense language that hip hop artists do but they convey the same message. This is seen mostly in murder ballads and also entirely on the Madonna/whore dichotomy of country music as a whole.
The two kinds of music are appreciated for their deep sincerity. They are both direct and do not beat around the bush. Their lack of shame in using obscene words has made these songs to be expressed with much honesty. Country music can also be rhetorical. Some also get their share of fame. However, they are not the best of options when it comes to lyrics. An example of such is the song “Margaretville” by Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney. All in all these two type of music are credited for their genuineness (Hodges, 2010: 91).
The dance style called hip hop is a dance for hip hop music. IT evolved from the hip hop culture. It includes a variety of moves such as breaking, popping, locking and krumping. In the hip hop dance, improvising and having a personal definition of the different styles is highly considered. The Country western dance is of many dance forms. The dress code worn while performing such dances includes the cowboy boots. The dancers twirl round the dance floor while wearing large smiles on their faces. It is therefore, noted that these two kinds of music moves to go along with the songs; moves that are very distinct but recognized and used to go with the different styles of music.
Like real estate, hip hop claims a location. Different hip-hop artists reflect their geographical differences. There dialect and musical arrangements are also variant. Hip hop was originally performed on the two coastal regions. That is Los Angeles and New York and therefore, it’s in these two regions that the two main forms of raps developed. Country music is equally the same. The singers living at different places sound a bit different in terms of articulation of words and also arrangements even though they are both singing country music. Their different abode causes the variety. Hip hop is done in the urban areas while country is for the rural places. With an exception of Motown R and B in its heyday, country and hip hop are the only forms of American music that rely on location of its artists.
Apart from the location, there is the associated economic demographic. The people living in these areas are poor due to lack of education. Moreover these are people who are victims of natural disasters such as the dust bowl and hurricane Katrina (this is just a few of the many). Having such factors to deal with, progress is limited. As a result, the songs being written become about crimes because most young people refought to such to have their needs catered for. These circumstances make them have unique themes that differ from other kind of music.
Both country music and hip hop are developing at very fast rates and are both popular. The twang and fiddle that was very popular with country music is being replaced by the pop sound and pyrotechnic stage shows. Their themes are also changing although they maintain the telling of stories. For instance, songs such as “stand by your man,” by Tammy Wynettes has are being replaced by songs holding titles like, “Goodbye Earl” by Dixie Chicks. Hip hop has its own share of change. The lyrics do not only express hard times but now states of a lifestyle of high standards. The artists sing of money, expensive cars and big houses which they can actually afford unlike before (Larry, 2009: 76).
Country music and hip hop talks about people’s lives. They talk about what they faced each day especially the difficult moments. They act as the voice of the people. With them they express anger, pain and their struggles of handling problems. People who have the two genres of music in their culture relate. Therefore, we can say that the two types of music can bring people together because the listeners of such kind own the song. It’s about them and they were composed for them.
The two form of music could have similar negative implications on their listeners. Their main topics could increase a high rate of crimes. Hip hop for instance makes taking of drugs and having lots of women something to desire especially for the youths. Country songs are more or less the same when because they promote drunkardness. The two also degrade women in the society. The artists who are getting rich at a fast rate make the youths not value education. They also want to make fast money and live a lavish life. The lack of seriousness in class could lead to high levels of illiteracy in a country. All these deterioration could be tied down to listening to such kind of music and adhering to such practices they sing of.
The artists and fans of the two forms of genre are strongly devoted to their music. This is because the music is tied down to culture. It’s a lifestyle. The hip hop people dress up in hoods and buggy trousers which they say they talk, walk and live hip hop. This is similar to the country song lovers and singers. They too maintain a cowboy look- the sombrero and cowboy boots. They also maintain their accent fair enough although they are also embracing changes (Silva 1997: 132).
Having being a major influence on people, they two kind of genres can have the same purpose. They can be used to pass positive messages to society. Taking an example is the song, “the Pill” which was done by Loretta Lynn in 1975 to demonstrate this. Taking a quick look at the history of that time, it’s seen that there was a need to control births. Initially the message was rejected especially by pastors. However, people still bought her songs even though they were burned from playing in the radio. Hip hop acts as an eye opener to society. Artists like Kanye West, Ice Cube and many more create a political dialogue through the songs.
We can easily transform a country song to hip hop because the difference between the two is minimal. Their contents are very much alike. Its only that hip hop is about rapping. The delivery is also very fast and a lot of rhyming words are put into use. The production of instrumentation, also called djying give the song the needed beat. This advancement on hip hop was brought about the famous DJ Kool Herc. What preceded the song is emceeing then the rest followed. Country began as hillbilly music. It was made even more popular by one Hank Williams. He pioneered the Nashville sound and had produced a million copies of his album before his death. Country songs are melodious while hip hop is simply not.
The two music forms have undergone their various changes and heard their own kind of stars taking each to their respective levels. However, they share the same subjects; it’s only that country songs have a softer way of putting across their points. The sound track to “O Brother, Where Art thou?’’ features musicians such as Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch joining up on Christian Standard, “I’ll fly away.” Kanye West who is a college dropout and hip hop artist did the same song but altered a few things here and there to give it a hip hop feel (Hodges, 2010: 116).
He replaced the string band strumming with electric organ then harmonized the song with church choir. In between the song lines of the song, he rapped some obscene words giving it the final touch of hip hop. Kanye West only took from the song the softness it had when he sung by the collaboration of Kraus and Gillian. However, he retained its meaning and emotions too. Despite the different arrangements of the song having been done in two genres, its purpose still remains to serve God.
In conclusion, country and hip hop music are synonymous. Their difference lies in the way they convey their messages. Hip hop can be said to be a bit rough. For instance, both type of music sing of crimes and in a way approves of it. However, hip hop singers hate law enforcement. The police are an enemy. This is in contrast with the country songs. The lyrics in country music do not resist punishment that comes about with breaking the law. All in all, crime is marveled in both genres.
Another slight difference between the two is their view of life. For most country songs writers, life is unfair because those who are honest end up being overworked for nothing. However, for the hip hop rappers, life is about getting what you want using any means. They believe in aggression. That is to say that a gangster who has all the luxuries he or she needs is highly respected than a poor but honest person. These minor differences are united by a common fact; both musicians are singing about life. The difference lies on the intensity of opinions by the two.