Marginalizationis the most unfortunate thing that can ever happen to any group ofpeople. However, it can be credited with the development andpopularization of Hip Hop in the US and later around the globe. Inthe 1970s, marginalized Latino and Black youths from Harlem and theBronx came up with this art form that has become very influentialamong the youths globally (Blanchard,2014).It is a very extensive conglomerate of different forms of art and isexemplified by a number of diverse components namely rap music orMCing, graffiti art, deejaying or turntablism and break dancing orb-boying (Murray, 2004). Hip Hop continues to grow globally with eachcountry having their distinctive style of rap often copied fromoriginal Hip Hop. This essay deeply analyses Hip Hop and itsinfluence to American culture and art.
HipHop encompasses elements of rock, gospel, live instrumentation, jazzand soul. It is basically a musical hodgepodge. Ghetto Brothers fromthe Southern part of the Bronx started it in block parties where theyused amps for speakers and instruments and plugged them intolampposts. DJ Kool Herc would then mix existing records and thenshout to the dancers and crowd (Blanchard,2014).The DJ initially began with house parties that became very popularand he had to move the parties outside in a bid to accommodate moreyouth. These gatherings brought youths together and steered them fromtrouble. They had a place where they could express themselves as wellas burn up their immense energy. DJ Kool is credited withpopularizing the art and giving the frustrated and violent youthsomething they could appreciate and embrace as theirs (Foreman,2010). DJ Afrika Bambaataa on the other hand a member of the ZuluNation redefined Hip Hop by outlining Hip Hop pillars that are MCing,Graffiti Writing, B-boying and Deejayin. Many refer to DJ Kool and DJBambaataa as the Godfathers of Hip Hop.
Evidently Hip Hop has over the years made a substantial socialimpact on America and the world at large. It was originally startedas an avenue to respond to historic social injustices of racism andoppression among youth from black communities in the US. Hip Hop wasmeant to reflect on the hardships marginalized youths went throughand find solutions to their problems (Morel, 2002). Rappers usuallycome up with songs that reflect on every day hustles, dreams andaspirations as well as societal problems. They are seen as theambassadors of black youths who are typically misrepresented anddismissed by the media.
Atfirst when Hip Hop came to being, it was an art that brought blackpeople together due to the discrimination they faced. Rappers used itas a way of expressing disillusionment on the government agenciesconstant harassment and oppression among African Americans(Blanchard,2014).Hip Hop was basically overwhelmingly loved and supported by youngblack Americans. However, today the art seems to no longer addresssocial issues but is now largely devoted to fame, money and women.Its audience is now diverse with enthusiasts coming from all walks oflife with about 70% of the audience being nonblack (Foreman, 2010).Majority of Hip Hop lovers is nonetheless young Americans more so theteens. They use Hip Hop for entertainment, relaxing, dancing and theyalso use it to make a statement. Original Rap was a form of protestart whereby black people expressed social issues in a bid to findsolutions (Murray, 2004). However, today it has been heavilycommercialized and the content is destructive to vulnerable youths.
Thereare still Hip Hop artists who are dedicated to the cultural theme ofthe Hip Hop culture. Though not many of them exist today theycontinue to critique social concerns and issues that affect the blackpopulation (Morel, 2002). These are the issues that affect theracially and economically oppressed people specifically the blackcommunities in the country. Hip Hop has also had huge influence inpolitics. Both are inextricably attached, politicians support Hip Hopto gain support from African Americans and also from nonblack Hip Hopenthusiasts. Politically, the genre has helped African Americansinfluence key decisions in the government and thus assist inaddressing problems affecting the marginalized people (Murray, 2004).President Obama’s confident and charming during his presidentialcampaigns and slogans such as change and hope rapidly spread in theHip Hop sector. Many Hip Hop contexts such as t-shirts, posters andCD covers had Obama’s iconic red and blue image.
Theneed for a larger audience has made the genre open to a range of newmessages and sounds. Ultimately, hip hop’s huge presence in themusic industry is beneficial. This shows its widespread success aswell as the pristine diversity of the genre in the entertainmentindustry. Hip Hop as an art resulted in an industry that has a hugeeconomic impact (Foreman, 2010). Hip Hops sales have over the yearsskyrocketed as well as expand with its presence in all media avenuessuch as movies, video games, ringtones and advertising (Fridy,2012).Globally, Hip Hop artists are said to make huge sums of money fromthe genre. Hip Hop is also evident in the fashion industry withbrands such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren heavily tapping into theHip Hop culture.
Thereis no other subculture in the history of the United States that hasbeen able to transcend ethnic boundaries like Hip Hop has. It has thebest chance to repair ethnic tensions as well as build racial bridgesowing to its diverse following. Substantial regions of the globe havebeen pervaded and held by Hip Hop. The traits, clothing, music anddiction of Hip Hop enthusiasts around the globe are unmistakablysimilar (Fridy,2012).The influence Hip Hop culture has gives it the potential to advocateagainst violence, hate crimes and racial utterances.
HipHop has been given a lot of media attention with movies, TV shows,magazines and SIT-COMs giving it much attention. There is a lot ofglobal media attention on the genre with many TV channels havingeveryday shows for Hip Hop Music. Organizations like B.E.T have givena lot of media attention globally (Murray, 2004). Hip Hop is nowubiquitous on radio and television.
Inconclusion, as much as Hip Hop is now dominated by diverseideological and discursive orientations and content in addition todepraved content it can be credited with bringing an end to socialinjustices as well as racial subjugation. African Americans throughHip Hop got an avenue to show their creativity and offerentertainment in addition to inspiration. Today, most of thesuccessful musicians or rappers are African American. Hip Hop helpedAfrican Americans exploit their talents.
Blanchard,B. (2014). The Social Significance of Rap & Hip-Hop Culture.Web.stanford.edu.Retrieved 8 August 2014, fromhttp://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/socialsignificance.htm
Forman,M. (2010). Conscious Hip-Hop, Change and the Obama Era. AmericanStudies Journal,3 (54), 10-16.
Fridy,J. (2012). Languages of Global Hip Hop. JSTOR,41 (3), 408-409.
Morel,E. (2002). Promoting Academic Literacy with Urban Youth ThroughEngaging Hip-Hop Culture. JSTOR,91 (6), 88-92.
Murray,D. (2004). Hip-Hop vs. High Art. ArtJournal, 63(2), 4-19.