Hip Hop And Rap Music Essay

Hip Hop And Rap Music Essay

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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 and struggles, often critiquing the mainstream society. As hip-hop grew in popularity, it became more commercialized and synonymous with rap music. Therefore, throughout this paper the use of the term hip-hop will refer to the mainstream understanding of rap music. 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 culture. Also, the concept of authenticity as it relates to hip-hop and how artists who don’t prescribe to the ‘gangsta’ rap image respond to its mainstream success.
With its emergence in New York, The term ‘hip-hop’ “was popularized by emcee Love Bug Starski in the early 1970s, and would not be used to define the cultural paradigm until the mid-1970s” (Young, 2014, p.7). Originally inspired by blues, jazz, and rock n’ roll, hip-hop “encompassed the social, fashion, music, and dance subculture of American’s urban, black and...


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...play out these roles of masculinity and the ‘gangsta’ lifestyle as a way to stay real. It’s certainly rooted in racist characterisations of black people and black men specifically. The fact that these are the only forms of blackness that are marketed as genuine in mainstream society leave rappers with limited options to brand themselves to seem authentic. Rappers such as 50 cent, Eminem, and Lil Wayne all have lyrics glamorizing overtly sexual and violent lifestyles. In his song, “In Da Club” off his album “Get Rich or Die Trying” 50 Cent promotes sex and drugs and alcohol.
You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Look mami I got the X if you into taking drugs
I 'm into having sex, I ain 't into making love
So come give me a hug if you into to getting rubbed

In his very controversial song “Kill You” Eminem depicts extremely graphic violence against women.

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