Hip-Hop Culture

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Hip-hop culture began to develop in the south Bronx area of New York City during the 1970s. It had a significant influence in the music industry. Hip-hop music generally includes rapping, but other elements such as sampling and beatboxing also play important roles. Rapping, as a key part in the hip-hop music, takes different forms, which including signifying, dozen, toast and jazz poetry. Initially, hip-hop music was a voice of people living in low-income areas, reflecting social, economic and political phenomenon in their life [1]. As time moves on, hip-hop music reached its “golden age”, where it became a mainstream music, featuring diversity, quality, innovation and influence [2]. Gangsta rap, one of the most significant innovations in hip-hop music, contains violent and confrontational lyrics, such as the word “nigger”. Rappers like Ice-T and groups like N.W.A popularized this new rap style through out the country and made a great success commercially. When it comes to the twenty-first century, hip-hop music already has a global influence and becomes a dominant in the mainstream. Eminem, one of the best pop rapper today, has achieved ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200. He is also the most provocative and controversial musical performer at the end of the twenty century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century, being criticized as homophobia because he explicitly uses words like “faggot” and “lez” in his lyrics [3]. He also has drug addiction, but get clean in 2008. Despite those negative images, Eminem is one of the best-selling artists in the hip-hop music industry. His second album The Slim Shady LP brought him into the mainstream popularity and earned him the first Grammy Award. His following album, The Mar... ... middle of paper ... ...ship in music because music there serves as an important medium for organizing political opposition [4]. However, some musicians fight against the censorship publicly, arguing it restricts the freedom of music production. The whole idea of such a censorship in civil life is inimical to freedom of thought [5]. Music, as an expression of people’s thoughts and ideas, should not be regulated by the censorship. Furthermore, the censorship can be ineffective since people can easily find the original version of some songs on the Internet. Both versions of “My Name Is” are available on the ITunes, so it is meaningless for authority to spend money and effort to censor the music. In conclusion, Eminem’s “My Name Is” is not just a successful hip-hop song, but also a representation of the sampling technique and a reflection of censorship issue in the hip-hop music industry.

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