Essay On Commercialization Of Hip Hop

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As one of the most popular genres of music, hip-hop has an extremely wide reach to a global audience no longer limited based on age, race, or gender. With each new single, artists such as Drake, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj occupy spaces at the top of the billboard charts. The current success of rap is unlike what it was when hip-hop was emerging in the early 90s. Originally as a subculture in opposition to the mainstream culture, hip-hop was an extremely diverse genre that placed importance on lyrical genius. It was socially conscious, politically aware, and often challenging of the dominant power struggles seen in modern society. As the majority of rap and hip-hop artists were underprivileged minorities, they spoke of their experiences…show more content…
Through an analysis of the history of hip-hop and mainstream rappers, this paper aims to critically discuss the commercialization of rap music and the implications its current popularity has on black American…show more content…
With this came a commercialization of his image as his ‘shmoney’ dance went viral on the internet. This trend of major labels cashing in on the innovation of a subculture “suggests that original musical ideas and styles, generated organically, are taken up by the record industry, which then popularizes them and adheres to them as a standard form” (Shuker, 2013, p.17). The concept of standardization is very apparent in terms of the kind of rap artists that are promoted and rap songs that reach the mainstream. After analyzing the content of lyrics of about 900 top charting rap songs from 1989 to 2003, Professor Todd Callais from the University of Cincinnati found that “rap lyric topics became less varied, concentrating on sex, partying, consumerism, violence, and self-promotion. Political advocacy ha[d] all but disappeared” (Blatt, 2013). With current rap artists promoting hyper masculine images along with the lavish lifestyle often including, sex, drugs, violence, and alcohol, the stark difference between the current state of rap compared to the beginning of hip-hop raises the question of authenticity. When it comes to celebrities’, authenticity is mainly associated with branding. Cultural branding theory “considers
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