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Hip Hop and the Black Urban Experience

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Hip Hop and the Black Urban Experience

From its conception, hip hop has been branded as music for uneducated street hoods. But, the debut album of the obscure group, Midnight Voices, shatters this stereotype with its thought-provoking commentary on the Black experience in urban America. Featuring saxophone, keyboards, guitar, bass, and percussion, along with the scratches and cuts typically found in rap, Midnight Voices delivers its urgent message of racial injustice with its equally impressive music. The group merges the styles of hip hop and funk to create a refreshing alternative to mainstream rap, which is often characterized by the repetitive sample of beats. In doing so, the band effectively expresses the lyrical content of the songs through its music, and succeeds in creating a complementary blend of provocative lyrics and musical ingenuity.

True to the mysterious character of their name, Midnight Voices opens the album with a curious chant titled “If You Knew Us.” Beginning with a gradual fade-in, the group chants the puzzling phrase “If you knew us, then uh...

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...sues to his listeners: “R you ready for the relevant rapper/rampaging never running/with knowledge I’m stunning/and gunning/down ridiculous rhymes/that rely on Romper Room beats/no knowledge? Why?”

Throughout the album, Midnight Voices manages to dispel the popular belief that hip hop is not “real” or “respected” music. Through the group’s gripping lyrics and original music, Midnight Voices has succeeded in proving that rap should be recognized as a unique cultural expression, as worthy of respect as any other art form out there.

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