When did music stop being an art and become a business? Hiphop used to be about keeping kids off the streets, used to channel their energy into positive pastimes to keep them from becoming involved with gangs. It promoted positive and peaceful messages through intelligently written rhymes. It used to be cool to use a dictionary to write rhymes and rap about science and political issues. But now that gangster rap has become mainstream, kids don’t want to hear anything that doesn’t mention pimpin’, hoein’, drinkin’ forties, or smokin’ blunts. The media has fused Hiphop and gangster rap, but what many people are unaware of is that there is another side to Hiphop – typically called underground Hiphop. The underground is where Hiphop thrives, but it can be very secretive. Hiphop is compiled of four elements: Breakdancing, DJing, Aerosol Art aka Graffiti, and MCing. Gangster rap is a form of MCing, which is only one-fourth of Hiphop - definitely not enough to define what Hiphop is. Still, the corporate media glamorizes gangster rap and uses it as a marketing tool to sell products, then labels them “Hiphop.” In today’s society, Hiphop has become extremely marketable and is used to sell everything from sneakers to liquor to dolls. I’m waiting for the day that a song written about Bacardi liquor – paid for by Bacardi – makes it on Billboard’s Top 10 list. It may not be long. The music industry glamorizes gangster rap while exploiting Hiphop to make a profit, and change needs to happen fast.
Just as we study our culture and history to understand where we are coming from, we must also examine Hiphop’s culture and background to understand where it is coming from. Hiphop originated in the South Bronx of New York in the 1970’s. Af...
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