Hip-Hop Goes Global It has been a quarter of a century since hip-hop first made its mark on the American music scene. Hip-hop has become a popular trend that is echoing around the world. By deflation, hip-hop refers to a culture that embraces a particular music, language, attitude, and dress fashioned after disadvantaged urban youth. Born out of the ghettos of the South Bronx, New York, and created by black and Latino youth in the late sass’s and early sass’s, this music genre closely identified with the spoken rhymes of rap.
When it first emerged, it was considered “ghetto music”, a music variety which had no cultural worth or value. Yet its popularity grew with the Internet and MET reaching millions of homes around the world. Hip-hop music has successfully been exported from the united States to the entire globe; however exporting the hip-hop culture itself remains a challenge. At the core of hip-hop culture Is rap music which some believe has caused plenty of controversy: many rappers have been criticized for writing lyrics that glorify violence, drugs, and abusive attitudes toward women.
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But as it has grown in popularity, hip-hop has transcended much of that controversy, with artists working to convey broader messages. Messages that echo world wide, for example; many teens around the world say the gritty and sometimes controversial lyrics of American rappers, while describing life In Inner-city America, often reflect the conditions In their countries, neighborhoods and communities. Places such as France and South Africa are homes to large ghettos and the problems they contain are the same. In short they can relate.
In the united States as well as In Mexico there appears to be a obelisks aspect to hip-hop culture. For suburban white kids in the united States, it is a way to distance themselves from their parents; you cannot be a rock fan when your parents are old rockers. In Mexico there are a handful of Mexican hip-hop bands, especially among the 13 and 14-year-olds that identify with foul language simply as a way to get back at the adults, but there is not much authenticity to it. There are some lyrics that may reflect Mexican reality. But a lot of it Is copying.
They want to emulate the “ghetto youth” experience of the united States teens. While hip- pop and rap music may be released and embraced globally, globalization of the true hip-hop culture has yet to happen, If ever. Many cultural forms. Such as music and art are put out in the global consumer markets by international corporations. The use of rap music and what is defined as hip-hop culture is a prime example of the exporting of a culture to the global marketplace. MET has several shows exclusively devoted to hip-hop. Contemporary fashion echoes that of the rap artists in videos and movies.
Rap artists, their look and unique music are even recruited to endorse gig name products such as McDonald’s, Nikkei, Coca-Cola and Sprite. Hip-hop Is big business. It does infuse many economies worldwide with economic advantages, for example; monies spent. In fact, some of the main consumers of the hip-hop culture end-up being the very places hip-hop artifacts are created; Singapore, Indonesia, and Taiwan for example. However, some feel it may come at a price. It is even thought that globalization may one day lead too “mono-culture”, Americanization, and Yet hip-hop culture in its true form seems to be getting lost.
It is a culture that found itself as the voice of the American oppressed; it was a form of expression. As hip-hop becomes more marketable and mainstream it seems to separate itself from its origins and its purpose. Hip-hop does not only have an entertainment value, but value as a vehicle for expression of history, common understanding, experience and tradition. In the few countries, such as France and South Africa, that can truly relate to hip-hop’s history and message it can be a powerful social tool. Youth can use it as a tool for expression.
Paralleling its origins in the United States, it can help these people raise awareness to their plights. Other times it is a simple comfort to know there is someone out there who empathetic with them and their situations. However, as hip-hop is exported across the United States borders to anyone and everyone some of the fundamentals are lost. The music itself will travel internationally, but only as music. Its culture is only appreciated when understood in the context of its history. Without this historical understanding hip-hop is Just another passing music and art form; a fad.
Being from the Bronx and having personally experienced this rowing phenomenon since its inception, I can relate. As I grew older so did the hip- hop movement. Over the years I have watched this art form blossom from a small underground movement with a very small geographic area to a huge global force that is sweeping all corners of the world. With the help from technologies such as satellite TV and the Internet, such growth was bound to happen. While its true origins may have been diluted through this process, I feel the hip-hop culture will stand the test of time and remain an important element in America’s popular culture at the very least.