Hip Hop's Effect on American Culture

3349 Words7 Pages

Hip hop has permeated popular culture in an unprecedented fashion. Because of its crossover appeal, it is a great unifier of diverse populations. Although created by black youth on the streets, hip hop's influence has become well received by a number of different races in this country. A large number of the rap and hip hop audience is non-black. It has gone from the fringes, to the suburbs, and into the corporate boardrooms. Because it has become the fastest growing music genre in the U.S., companies and corporate giants have used its appeal to capitalize on it. Although critics of rap music and hip hop seem to be fixated on the messages of sex, violence, and harsh language, this genre offers a new paradigm of what can be (Lewis, 1998.) The potential of this art form to mend ethnic relations is substantial. Hip hop has challenged the system in ways that have unified individuals across a rich ethnic spectrum. This art form was once considered a fad has kept going strong for more than three decades. Generations consisting of Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and Asians have grown up immersed in hip-hop. Hip hop represents a realignment of America?s cultural aesthetics. Rap songs deliver a message, again and again, to keep it real. It has influenced young people of all races to search for excitement, artistic fulfillment, and a sense of identity by exploring the black underclass (Foreman, 2002). Though it is music, many people do not realize that it is much more than that. Hip hop is a form of art and culture, style, and language, and extension of commerce, and for many, a natural means of living. The purpose of this paper is to examine hip hop and its effect on American culture. Different aspects of hip hop will also be examined to shed some light that helps readers to what hip hop actually is. In order to see hip hop as a cultural influence we need to take a look at its history. Throughout American history there has always been some form of verbal acrobatics or jousting involving rhymes within the Afro-American community. Signifying, testifying, shining of the Titanic, the Dozens, school yard rhymes, prison ?jail house? rhymes and double Dutch jump rope rhymes, are some of the names and ways that various forms of raps have manifested. Modern day rap music finds its immediate roots in the toasting and dub talk over elements of reggae music (George, 1998).... ... middle of paper ... ... 3. Fernando, S.H., (1994). The New Beats. New York: Anchor Books Doubleday. 4. Foreman, (2002). The Hood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip hop. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. 5. Rose, Patricia (1991, Summer). ?Fear of a Black Planet: Rap Music and Black Cultural Politics in the 1990s,?. The Journal of Negro Education, 60 (3). 6. Potter, (1996, Jan.). ?Black by Popular Demand,? Premiere, 9, 39. 7. Kakutani, (1998, Feb.) ?Common Threads: Why Are Homeboys and Surbanites Wearing Each Other?s Clothes?? The New York Times Magazine, 18. 8. Lewis, (1998, Dec.). ?Hip Hop Gives Birth to Its Own Black Economy,? The San Francisco Examiner. , 1998. 9. Hilburn, Robert (1998). Year in Review/ Pop Music; in the shadow of Hip Hop; Rap is Where the Action is, and its Popularity Still Hasn?t Peaked. Could Rock ?N? Roll Be Finally Dead?? The Los Angeles Times, December 27, 1998, 6. 10. Chideya, Farai (1997, Mar. 4). ?All Eyez on US?? Time, 147 (10). 11. Farley, C. (1996, Feb. 8). ?Hip Hop Nation?? Time, 153. 12. Hip Hop Nation Is Exhibit A For America?s Latest Cultural Revolution, (2004), Time, 201.

More about Hip Hop's Effect on American Culture

Open Document