Essay Hip Hop as a Cultural Movement

2609 Words Oct 4th, 2012 11 Pages
Anson Wong
WRI 1200
Prof. Patrice Wilson
May 14, 2010
Hip-hop as a Cultural Movement What first comes to mind nowadays when you hear the word ‘hip-hop’? Most people think of a gangster embellished in large diamonds, sporting baggy clothes, huge cars, all with a general disregard for the welfare of humanity. It wasn’t always like this: hip-hop was originally born as a recreational activity, used as an outlet to cope with poverty. The notion of hip-hop has clearly changed in a big way since the advent of hip-hop culture back in the 1970s. Contrary to popular belief, hip-hop is truly a deep-rooted culture that has used rap music as its medium to appeal to its audiences. But time and time again, people have generally disregarded
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As more and more debates about violent content began to pop-up, the rappers began to take different sides on the situation. Some rappers emphasized moral themes and racial pride in their songs, while others stubbornly stuck to the stereotype, producing rap with derogatory content and focusing on financial profit. Author Todd Boyd describes this conflict: within rap culture, there were now two different groups of rappers: the socially conscious group, and the gangsta rap group (51). Despite the controversy, rap’s influence can’t be ignored. The main reason for the controversy surrounding hip-hop can be chalked up to one thing: a misunderstanding between cultures. While rap has been the target of criticism from around the world, most of them are so quick to bash rap for its content that they completely ignore hip-hop as a whole. Boyd explains that when dealing with hip-hop, critics tend to follow the ideas of other critics, leaving them with a shallow understanding of the culture itself (57-58). Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the fact that the derogatory content in modern rap cannot be denied, but I believe that it goes towards a greater purpose. What people don’t realize is that hip-hop is essentially an extension of black culture, except in a much more

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