The History of Hip Hop Music and Its Transition to Popular Music

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Hip hop has multiple branches of style and is a culture of these. This essay will examine Hip Hop from the point of view of the following three popular music scholars, Johnson, Jeffries and Smitherman. It will delve deeper into their understanding of what hip hop is and its relation to the different people that identify with its message and contents. It will also identify the history of Hip hop and its transition into popular music. In particular this essay will focus on what hip hop represents in the black community and how it can be used as a social movement against inequalities faced by them. This will then open up the discussion for the how this has influenced society, and the impact it has had in terms of race issues which hip hop itself often represents through music. Hip hop originated in the ghetto areas of New York during the 1970’s and is a mixture of DJ, MC, B boy and Beat boxing. In his studies of defining hip hop, Jeffries concluded that these mixtures of art forms do not define hip hop but rather that Hip hop itself is a culture of these elements. “Hip-hop is like a culture, it’s a voice for black people to be heard. Our own style, our own music” (Jeffries. 2011; 28). Jefferies identifies hip hop as a social movement, which stems from the concept of ‘collective identity’ (Jefferries.2011; 27). This can be defined as “an individual’s cognitive, moral and emotional connection with a broader community” (Polletta and Jasper. 2001; 84). Which relate to Smitherman’s views that hip hop is a celebration of black culture uniting these individual to form a collective community. (Smitherman. 1997; 20) .These Theorists generally accept that hip hop is culture and it’s the production of its creators and the individuals who consu... ... middle of paper ... ...all these aspects correlate with one another. That Hip hop is a cultural tool formed out of need to take a stance on the issues that relate with the black community. And that it’s a voice to relate and unite people who share the same struggles on which to advocate change. Works Cited Johnson, L. (2003). The Spirit is Willing and So Is the Flesh: The Queen in Hip Hop Culture. Smitherman, G. 1997. “‘The Chain Remain the Same’: Communicative Practices in the Hip Hop Nation.” Journal of Black Studies 29. Polletta, F., & Jasper, J. M. (2001). Collective identity and social movements. Annual review of Sociology, 283-305. Jeffries, M. P. (2011). Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-hop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Carlton Ridenhour, (1989) Fight the Power [Public Enemy]. Motown Records Owens, (1989) Ladies First [Queen Latifa]. Tommy Boy Records

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how smitherman views hip hop as a means to express pain and the violence the artists have dealt with.
  • Analyzes how johnson views hip hop as a platform in which social issues can be addressed and be heard.
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