Hip Hop Culture And The Music Movement Of Hip-Hop

1737 Words 7 Pages
From its roots in the depths of Jamaica’s political uprisings to its role in fostering togetherness in the south Bronx, hip-hop culture is a phoenix: born from the ashes of a dejected, scorned community which blossomed into a vibrant, rich culture. Political and social tensions, in conjunction with diverse artistic movements, influenced the culture and expression of hip-hop; a movement which began in the seven-mile world of the South Bronx and eventually became a global sensation. Hip-hop was formed long before it had a name and a distinct sound. In its essence, hip-hop was formed as a response and a continuation of the fight for social justice. Certainly, as a musical genre, hip-hop’s development from existing musical style is evident. Musical …show more content…
Herc lived in a post-gang New York City, focused on individual pride rather than group retaliation mentality. Disco popularity waned as street parties with powerful sound systems began to rule the scene. Herc’s claim to fame was his preservation of “the most powerful basic elements—the rhythm, the motion, the voice, the name” of music as he spun records during his legendary DJ sessions (Chang 85). Almost as powerful as his sound system, Herc was in complete control of the tone at his parties. A complete shift from the violence and hatred propagated by gang culture, Herc vowed that “If there’s any violence or trouble, I’m pulling the plug” (Chang 78). Another DJ, Afrika Bambaataa, forged alliances and broke hatred of the past with his beats and message, which later became the Zulu Nation. An important element of the Zulu message, the Zulu King dancers, also contributed to the evolution of b-boying. B-boying was an opportunity to display unique style in an aggressive manner that encompassed “the entire history of the hip-hop body in a virtuoso display of style” (Chang 118). Graffiti later arose as an addition to the expression of individualism movement, as “a way of gaining status in a society where to own property is to have identity” (Chang 118). One poignant scene of the new Netflix original series, The Get Down, pits “new-age” graffiti writers against …show more content…
Questlove posits that consumers should first regard hip-hop first as a ritualistic form of expression, rather than the commercial musical product in his six-part essay series “How Hip-Hop Failed America” (Questlove). With this perspective, consumers can take initiative for the continued development of hip-hop as both a musical genre and cultural force, allowing it to evolve while preserving its authentic theme.
Ultimately, hip-hop is the love child of social and political chaos. Conservatism pitted against rising liberalism and the Black Power movement in Jamaica birthed new styles of expression and protestation in a musical format, whose styles later evolved in the United States. Now, however, that style is almost over-evolving. The question now emerges whether hip-hop will be the voice of the current generation as a vapid representation of consumerism or as strong unifying force amidst returning political and social

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