A Look into the Life of Hip-Hop The misunderstood subculture of music that many have come to know as “hip-hop” Is given a critical examination by James McBride in his essay Hip-Hop Planet. McBride provides the reader with direct insight into the Influence that hip-hop music has played in his life, as well as the lives of the American society. From the capitalist freedom that hip-hop music embodies to the disjointed families that plague this country, McBride explains that hip-hop music has a place for everyone.
The implications that he presents in this essay about hip-hop music suggest that this movement symbolizes and encapsulates the struggle of various individual on multiple continents. McBride Introduces the origin of his understanding of hip-hop In a very unique manner. Being a student of Columbia university McBride describes what many would consider, a disconnect from his lower income and less educated black counterparts. The feeling that he describes as an African-American being introduced to hip-hop Is one of incomprehension, as well as being somewhat ashamed.
The feeling of being ashamed really sets the tone for the essay, because by judging the hip-hop culture on the surface one might find it to go against the societal norm; many would even call it morally questionable. The same disconnect that McBride acknowledges that very night at Columbia, is the same disconnect that many traditional Individuals find with the hip-hop culture and what It represents. It was when McBride realized that this revolution of music was not just a phase In American society that he decided to try to make sense of it.
McBride makes a powerful tenement that acknowledges the point in time he came to this realization, “to many of my generation, despite all attempts to exploit It, belittle It, numb It, classify It, and analyze It, hip hop remains an enigma, a clarion call, a cry of “l am” from the youth of the world. “(465). It is at this point when as an author he transitions the essay into the origins of hip-hop in America. In his short overview of the origination of the Sugar Hill Gang in the mid sass’s, the author makes it apparent the hip-hop grew out of necessity due to lack of funding In the art programs In New York City school system.
This neoclassical movement of the mid sass’s grew like a wildflower that sprouts through the cracks of a modern day concrete Jungle. One of the more interesting implications that are presented in the later parts of this essay is the economic ramifications of the hip-hop culture. McBride paints the picture of a lower Income Caucasian American teenager in Dayton, Ohio who finds truth in the story of hip-hop. McBride notes: Henry is a model American teenager-?and the prototypical consumer at which the hip-hop industry is squarely aimed, which has his parents sitting up in their seats.
The music that was once the purview of black America has gone white and gone commercial all at once. A sea of white faces now rises up to greet rap groups as they perform, many of the teenagers like Henry, a MASCARA fanatic and self- 1 OFF economically challenged rapper and the child whose parent works two Jobs, and can’t pay his child’s college tuition is paramount in making this point. The illusion of the American dream is set through many hip-hop songs. The picture of the evolution of the rags to riches story is set by many rappers in current hip-hop culture, this picture s the basic premise economic freedom. The music goes full circle”, (469) this expression is used to trace the true origin of hip-hop. Africa is believed to be the birthplace of the hip-hop music, although many music experts might debate this fact. Once again the reader is presented with a situation where a group of people cohabitate a country, but due to widespread economic disparity many different socioeconomic groups exist. “Rap doesn’t belong to American culture; it belongs here, it has always existed here, because of our pain and our hardships and our suffering. 471) This statement exemplifies that hip-hop speaks to the hearts of those who feel disenfranchised by their government, and by society as a whole. As the Africans describe the French men and women that they wait on in hotels that they themselves will never be able to afford to stay in, we see why hip-hop has been the extension in which people have used to express loathing for contemporary situations. McBride has brought to light the music that has embraced many untraditional values in our society and has shown that it is more than Just a marketing spectacle.