Hip hop has permeated popular culture in an unprecedented fashion. Because of its crossover appeal, it is a great unifier of diverse populations. Although created by black youth on the streets, hip hop’s influence has become well received by a number of different races In this country. A large number of the rap and hip hop audience Is non-black. It has gone from the fringes, to the suburbs, and into the corporate boardrooms. Because it has become the fastest growing music genre in the U. S. , companies and corporate giants have used its appeal to capitalize on it.
Although artists of rap music and hip hop seem to be fixated on the messages of sex, violence, and harsh language, this genre offers a new paradigm of what can be (Lewis, 1998. ) The potential of this art form to mend ethnic relations is substantial. Hip hop has challenged the system in ways that have unified individuals across a rich ethnic spectrum. This art form was once considered a fad has kept going strong for more than three decades. Generations consisting of Blacks, Whites, Latino, and Asians have grown up immersed in hip-hop. Hip hop represents a realignment of America’s cultural aesthetics.
Rap songs deliver a message, again and again, to keep it real. It has influenced young people of all races to search for excitement, artistic fulfillment, and a sense of Identity by exploring the black underclass (Foreman, 2002). Though It is music, many people do not realize that it is much more than that. Hip hop is a form of art and culture, style, and language, and extension of commerce, and for many, a natural means of living. The purpose of this paper Is to examine hip hop and Its effect on American culture. Different aspects of hip hop will also be examined to shed some light that helps readers to what hip hop actually Is.
In order to see hip hop as a cultural influence we need to take a look at its history. Throughout American history there has always been some form of verbal acrobatics or Jousting Involving rhymes within the Afro-American community. Signifying, testifying, shining of the Titanic, the Dozens, school yard rhymes, prison Jail house’ rhymes and double Dutch jump rope rhymes, are some of the names and ways that various forms of raps have manifested. Modern day rap music finds its immediate roots in the toasting and dub talk over elements of reggae music (George, 1998). Busy Bee Stark. D. J. Hollywood, and African Bumboat are the three New
York artists credited for coining the term hip hop (Alexander, 1998). It began in the sass with funky beats resonating at house parties, at basement parties, and the streets of New York (Fernando, 1994. ) In the early 0705, a Jamaican d. J. Known as Cool Here moved from Kingston to NYSE West Bronx. He attempted to incorporate his Jamaican style of d], which involved reciting improvised rhymes over the dub versions of his reggae records. Unfortunately New Yorkers were not into reggae at this time. Because of this, he adapted his style by chanting over Instrumental percussion sections of the day’s popular songs.
Since these breaks were relatively short, he learned to extend them indefinitely by using an audio mixer and two identical records in which he In those early days, young paratroopers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to call out their own names and slogans. As this culture evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as the d], in an effort to be different, began to incorporate little rhymes. It was not long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and schoolyard rhymes.
Many would add their own twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment (George, 1998). At that time it was not yet known as Rap’ but called emceeing. As the interest in rap music grew, so did its message. Rap caught on because it offered young urban New Yorkers a chance to freely express themselves. The messages included candid stories of the urban streets, stories of drugs, violence, and crime. No matter how hedonistic the message, urban youth found a platform to outwardly express their rage towards the system. To them, the police embodied the system. They were indeed a reflection of
America’s attitude towards them. Hence, vicious verbal attacks on police behavior reflected urban youths’ most intimate conceptualization of the system. Rapping was a verbal skill that could be practiced, and molded to perfection at almost anytime. Rap also became popular because it offered unlimited challenges (Foreman, 2002). There were no set rules, except to be original and to rhyme on time to the beat of the music. Anything was possible. One can trace the commercial history of hip hop back to 1979, when the Sugar Hill Gang produced the enormously successful song entitled, Rapper’s Delight.
Hip hop music continued to blossom after the release of Rapper’s Delight. The music industry, the film industry, and the print media discovered this art form. Artist such as Run DAM, Hooding, and the Fat boys helped what seemed like a fleeting phenomenon persists in changing American culture. Crush Groove, a highly successful movie depicting the life of rap music, further elevated rap music into the mainstream. This movie earned Warner Brothers $17 million world wide, a gold soundtrack, and most importantly, highlighted the potential of this art form (Rose, 1991).
By taking a glimpse of hip hop’s history, it mess clear that it has been defining African-American cultural movement for the past three decades. In order to obtain a better understanding a look at the different aspects of hip hop needs to be made. The first aspect that needs to be looked at is the language associated with hip hop. There is no denying that it has had an influence on a wider American culture. Everyone from television personalities of different races to product copy;Ritter frequently use elements of it, suggesting, of course, that it is understood across the board.
But how did the widespread understanding of this language come about? In order to answer this question the language needs to be examined to gain some insight. Cultural groups for years have used many forms to unify themselves and exclude outsiders from their conversations. The most effective and expressive technique was the use of Jargon. These are a set of words that only people of that cultural group understand. One group that gave a rise to Jargon on a daily basis is the hip hop culture. They used this Jargon to create a street language that expressed situations reflected conversations of their culture (Chargers, 2004. Street language is transmitted to the hip hop culture through rap music. Other races through certain medias such as television and radio have received this music. Because of this the street language crosses the boundaries and become part of other race’s vocabulary. One can hear a person of another race using the same slang as the American hip hopper. Irrespective of their ethnicity hip hoppers use adjectives to describe something that is negative into something that is positive. The word “Niger” is one of the must popular words of hip hoppers.
Contrary to the traditional derogatory meaning of the word, hip hoppers use the word as a term of endearment. One can ear a White, Asia, or Latino hip hopper saying, “TX is my night,” which means “TX is my good friend. ” The slang and different verb tenses are not the only part of this language. Nicknames also contribute to it. In this hip hop language, there is almost no difference between claiming someone, “that’s my boy,” or “that’s my adage. ” It is all seen as expressions of friendship (Foreman, 2002). The vernacular of this culture changes constantly.
What might be a cool statement today may be seen as being outdated in a year. So by the time white kids are calling each other “dog,” rappers will have found a new form of assignation. Street language has become a pidgin language of sorts. Even if hip hoppers have different first languages they still can understand the slang of hip hop. Hence, this culture is bounded linguistically. So hip hop language is not only the preeminent musical genre of a generation, it is more, it is an ever-evolving organism that has spawned countless dialects that are constantly in conversation with one another (Foreman, 2002).
The clothing worn in this culture is another major element that makes this culture what it is. Why has the hip hop culture transcended ethnic boundaries? The urban tree prep seems like an oxymoron term. However, urban hip hoppers adorn themselves with the most unlikely preppy labels. Clothing styles that include such as Tommy Hellfire, Nautical, and Ralph Lauren, seemingly contradicts the image of the fearless street soldier (Potter, 1996). The fortunes of the likes of Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hellfire, and Timberland over the past decade are testimony to the power of hip hop as an American taskmaster.
According to Machismo Skating (1998), young urban blacks have chosen the dress of upper crust whites as a representative of their lack of power in American society. While actual material success maybe unattainable, the rationale for adorning expensive Polo shirts, blue Jeans, and sneakers is used to present an image of success. Suburban white kids scoff at the material success of their parents and their parents’ friends. One way to express this is by identifying with the renegade image of the street. Many white kids are cultural tourists who dream about living the very ghetto life that so many black kids want to escape.
Instead of the terrible morality rate for young black males, they see the glamour of violence. Instead of seeing frustration of people being denied Jobs and pop and respect, they see the verbal defiance of that frustration. Skating suggests, “that this vicarious outlet of symbolic expression is why White suburban males have become the largest audience of hip hop. ” The sass’s have been dominated by hip hop fashion. This fashion consists of baggy pants worn loosely, baseball caps worn backwards, oversized rugby or polo shirts, and expensive tennis shoes. Hip hop ethnic boundary.
Indeed, a significant number of African American, Whites, Latino, and Asians youth between the age of 12 and 22 dress in the same irrespective of their ethnicity (Skating, 1997). Hip hop fashion has come a long way in the past thirty years. During this time it has proven itself as a driving force in the worldwide fashion scene. With its humble beginnings in New York African American ghettos, it has stretched itself across racial, economic, cultural, and global boundaries to become what it is today: a billion dollar industry. For some unknown reason this culture has had an unbelievable cross over appeal.
Just because black people listen to hip hop, does not make it Black music. Just because White people listen to classical music does not make it white music. Music Anton define and specify, because it is always a main bridge that links cross cultures together. This philosophy is what is causing hip hop to be popular to outsiders of different races. Russell Simmons states, “that one reason that hip hop is so popular is because of the resistance it has met. The more resistance there is and the more controversy there is the more people are going to want to buy it. According to Russell, kids like the fact that status quo does not condone the music and tries to control it. It becomes a liberating experience for kids to rebel against the status quo (Lewis, 1998). Some parents are leery and afraid of hip hop music because of the rebellious messages many feel that it sends. A good example of how rap music and hip hop has cut across ethnic boundaries can be found in the Asian community. In Los Angels, there is a blossoming Asian American rap scene, consisting of groups like Bulla Tribe, Undercover, and Asiatic Apostles. These groups represent various styles.
Messages range from social issues such as hate crimes against Asians to relationships between Blacks and Koreans in nearly every major city (Hepburn, 1998. ) White rappers such as The Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, and Mine have also had success in the industry. Cypress Hill, Fat Joe, and Big Punisher, are Latino artists who have impacted the hip hop culture (Perkins, 2000). The overall idea, no matter what kind of message they are trying to send is all the attitudes and feeling in this music are the same. Hip hop has gone beyond Just being considered as one race’s music.
It has become a lifestyle and a culture that people have adopted worldwide. Hip hop is an attitude and is a language in which a kid from a society can relate to a kid from another one. Seventy-five percent of the hip hop audience is non-Black kids. Now it s to the point that kids in Beverly Hills are now sensitive to situations that are going on in Compton. Labeling hip hop can make it become displaced, because to have that label is a shackle to a developing artist who feel he or she has to make music along the lines that the labels has established.
Since its birth, hip has touched billions. The hip hop culture has prompted various industries to pay attention to their appetite. Past sit-comes such as the Fresh Prince of Bell Air, Martin, Malcolm, Steve Harvey, and The Jamie Fox Show all have capitalized on this population. It used to e that black humor appealed to few outside of the population; now it is widespread. Movies such as Boozy N The Hood, New Jack City, State Property, Streets Are Watching, and Menace II Society are rugged movies that depict the reality of the urban streets.
Movies such as Friday, How High, I’ve Got the Hook Up, and All About the Benjamin have been comedies that have depicted the humor that is still strangely present in and on the rugged urban streets. These comedies have also been widely popular among this diverse population (Chide, 1997). A number of artists have gone into other avenues to profit off of hip hop. Many artists now own clothing lines and the clothes have been shown on many international fashion shows, thus bringing hip hop into a new level. Hip hop artists are having an increasingly stronger impact on marketing in the U.
S. , especially when it comes to fans and consumers of the genre. Such top selling stars as Jay-Z, P. Tidy, and Russell Simmons not only are influencing the way consumers spend their money on music, but also on such items such as shoes, clothing, videotapes, and sporting goods. Consumers who consider themselves to be hip hop fans are more likely to see films or buy products, clothes, or ideograms if they feature their favorite artist. Rebooks S. Carter collection (by Jay- z) became the company’s fastest selling sneaker in company history, clothes from Sean “P.
Tidy” Combs’s Sean Jean and Deaf Jam founder Russell Summons’s Pat Farm lines are the hottest sellers in both the urban and mainstream communities, and Summons’s Deaf Jam Vendetta videotape ranks as one of the year’s best sellers (Hip Hopper’s). Magazines such as Vibe, Blaze, The Source, Rap Pages, and Stress were created to appeal to this population. Because of its multivalent popularity, Vibe Magazine’s circulation has risen to 606,237, a 17. % increase since 1997. Advertisements that appear in these magazines range from small, unknown companies to powerful companies that are household names (Fernando, 2001).
Although Vibe may seem like a black magazine, its perspective and appeal are much broader than its covers would indicate. Vibe is a multicultural music magazine based in the African American culture and sensibility. Magazines such as Vibe, along with sitcoms, movies, and other business ventures have done a remarkable Job of speaking the language and to the imagination of this culture. Many critics strongly believe that hip hop has had only negative influences in today’s society. This is not true. In today’s society it promotes both positive and negative influences on our society.
It has combined the different ethnicities and the interconnection of people. Because of incidents, generalizations developed, and occurrences of violence many critics seem to focus more on the negative messages sent. But there are many positive messages that come from it. One of the many positive side effects of hip hop is that it encourages corporations to recruit a diverse staff of individuals. Recruiting minorities who have the pulse of this culture becomes an asset. The African American market alone has $325 billion in buying power. A number of organizations that appeal to hip hop have diversified for competitive advantage.
It makes good for business sense. For example, half of Universal Music Group’s employees are minority. This organization is a number one in market share in the U. S. , Europe, Latin America, and Australia. The record label’s overall market share is 23 percent globally and 25 percent in the U. S. (Alexander, 1998). 92. 3 The Beat is the most popular radio station in Los Angels. It appeals too broad multivalent hip hop population in the greater area. They have taken advantage of their broad appeal by launching campaigns to bridge ethnic tensions. They hosted and African American and Asian relations (Farley, 1999).
In conclusion, hip hop has become one of the fastest growing cultures and media in the world today. As a growing international market, it is being adapted and adopted in countries and cultures everywhere. With the advancement and explosion of the technology in the world today, this expansion will only increase. It has influenced an entire culture that has developed into a way of life for many people worldwide since it’s beginning in the late seventies. With its influence on fashion, movies, and music, hip hop is evolving every aspect of society, as we know it.