The Past, Present, and Future of Asian Rap Essay

The Past, Present, and Future of Asian Rap Essay

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Hip-hop is a massive cultural movement originating in New York City in the 1970’s. According to Oxford English Dictionary, the four components of hip-hop are rapping, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. This culture is commonly associated with African-Americans and Latinos because they were the ones who pioneered this movement in the 70’s. If one were look back at some of the early hip-hop innovators, such as The Sugarhill Gang, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, and the much-loved Run DMC, one similarity that they all shared was their African ancestry. Because of this, hip-hop was identified as a purely African-American art form for a short while. However, as time progressed, by the 1980’s hip-hop was embraced more by the mainstream. As a result, musicians from other different races were trying their hand at hip-hop. Presently, it would not be accurate to say that hip-hop is an art form for black people by black people. However, as of today there is still no place for an Asian rapper in the archives of hip-hop history let alone in modern American mainstream media. Asian men are commonly emasculated in America by stereotypes. Hien Dang, a published Vietnamese writer, said in an article featured in the International Examiner that racial generalizations include, but are not limited to: Asians being very short, good at math, nerdy, bad at driving, and lame with women. Lastly, the most damning stereotype for Asian men is that they all have small penises. With an image like this, it’s no wonder why Asian men aren’t often accepted in the mainstream media unless they’re fighting dozens of men unarmed in movies like Jackie Chan or Jet Li. Asian rappers are currently overlooked in hip-hop primarily because of these stereotypes...


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...an rapper to find success by paying homage to New York City hip-hop? I can’t say for sure when the Asian Invasion will occur or if it’ll happen at all. But what I can say is that if you look hard enough, you can find some good Asian rap. As soon as stereotypes are overcome in America, talented musicians of any race will have an easier time to flourish and become successful. Stereotypical eyes are truly the ones that are closed, not Asian eyes. Anybody of any ethnicity can rap extraordinarily. Case in point, the Blue Scholars. Seriously, they’re good. Really good. The issue of masculinity in hip-hop must also be addressed. This image creates an unrealistic portrayal of the life of rappers. It is a cheap way to exploit women and empower men. As long as this image exists, Asian rappers will find a hard time overcoming such powerful stereotypes to find success in music.

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