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Hip Hop is a culture of self expression musical art. It was started by Latino-Americans and African-Americans in the seventies. During this period, youth unemployment had risen to about 70% in the United States. The unemployed youths used it to address the hardships and social injustices that they experienced.
Hip Hop, since its ignition, has influenced the behaviour of youths from different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds all over the world. Oppressed ghetto people used Hip Hop to voice the social injustice, discrimination, and poverty they experience (Bradley and DuBois 253).
Hip Hop evolved from music written by Dj Kool Herc. He used to make reggae beats and recite rhymes over these beats. Before Hip Hop became popular in the United States, it used to be a local occurrence that spread out in the poor neighbourhoods around New York City borough. Since then, Hip Hop has grown to become a very influential culture. Hip Hop has influenced people in poor neighbourhoods to behave differently because it gives them an identity.
Today, Hip Hop has become a very popular genre of music and art. Its popularity has been as a result of the extensive air play it receives in radio stations and television channels like MTV. Hip Hop has provided an avenue for oppressed minority’s voice to be heard.
Hip Hop has been adopted and adapted by youths living in the ghettos all over the world regardless of the racial, social, or economic backgrounds. Youths living in the ghettos have had Hip Hop as one of the most effectual means to voice the social injustice that they experience.
Hip Hop as the Voice of the Ghetto
From a ghetto point of view, Hip Hop has been the most fruitful way of getting the peoples’ opinions heard. In his book, Chang is more concerned with Hip Hop as a revolutionary medium, a culture that has become political as people try to fight for their rights. Hip Hop has become a global movement that defines a generation (Ogbar 45).
The voiceless youths used Hip Hop to address the seismic changes during the post civil rights era which was rapidly transformed by globalization. It was necessary for unemployed youths to find a method of getting the government to consider the growing number of youths who did not have jobs.
In their pursuit for jobs, youths living in ghettos found that they could use Hip Hop music to earn a living. It has since become a job-making venture and the hope of youth revolution. Hip Hop has brought a multiracial worldview in the young generation. It has transformed culture and politics in different nations all over the world (Chang 230).
Hip Hop in many nations has been the integral part of race riots, urban flight, neighborhood reclamation projects, and grass roots movements. These issues have greatly influenced political agendas. As a result of Hip Hop, ghetto people have formed activist groups that have led to ideological movements in an attempt to voice the people in these poor neighborhoods (Chang 98).
In the song “love is blind”, the singer mentions his sister who has been oppressed by her lover. She suffered under the hands of a lover. Finally, she died from the beatings she received from her lover. After the death of his sister, the singer murders the husband to his sister. The singer finds Hip Hop music as the best way to inform people of the social injustice his sister experienced.
Ice T in his lyrics insists; “If I had a chance like you, maybe I would be in school but I’m not, I’m out here living day to day surviving”. Ice T communicates to his audience to inform them how he and many others living in the ghetto are discriminated. Most of the youths like Ice T never got the opportunity to go to school; this is due to poverty in their families.
Ice T reckons that what he and other Hip Hop artist do is not right, but insists that the hardships that he undergone has led him to his current lifestyle. Ice T also insists that if he had a chance he would have gone to school like other kids.
Eminem and Jay-Z use the song “Renegade”, which literally means traitor, to show how they experienced poverty and hardships as they grew up. “My childhood didn’t mean much, only raisin greener”. Eminem and Jay-Z conclude that they are traitors.
This is because they have chosen to tell young people the truth, unlike their parents. Eminem and Jay-Z believe they have been misjudged. They have been regarded as bad role models to children and young adults. They claim they are traitors because they have decided to inform the young people what their parents would never have told (Rose 56).
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Hip Hop was started by poor young people living in ghettos in the United States. This led to United States being tagged as a “Hip Hop nation”. However, Hip Hop has since evolved and now includes many cultures around the world. “Hip Hop world” is now used to refer to all the cultures in the world that use Hip Hop as a means to voice the injustices and discriminations in the society (Rose, 159). Hip Hop has helped many people especially those living in the ghettos when it comes to dealing with political and social issues.
Hip Hop is a tool used to shape the behavior of the society. However, Hip Hop is condemned by people who are not from poor backgrounds. This is because; some people believe that it spoils the youths’ minds. Musicians like Eminem claim that Hip Hop is real and what is mentioned in music is true; hence it is necessary for young minds to know the truth (Ogbar 69).
Hip Hop is not only about rap music and graffiti; it is about an attitude; a culture and a lifestyle of a certain class of people, a low class of people who have found it essential to voice their complaints, but can not identify a better way to do so. The impact of Hip Hop in today’s culture is evident everywhere in the cities.
Hip Hop has become so popular because of its ability to voice the social injustices, poverty, and discrimination faced by many people living in the ghettos. Its popularity has also been contributed by the fact that it is everywhere around the globe. Generations use the powerful idea of Hip Hop to unite the people. It has helped generations to define their identity. Hip Hop has grown into something that frames the way the society sees the world.
Bradley, Adam and A. DuBois. The anthology of Rap. London: Yale University Press, 2010. Print.
Chang, Jeff. Can’t stop Won’t stop: A history of the hip-hop generation. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. Print.
Ogbar, Jeffrey. Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (Culture America). Westbrooke Circle: University Press of Kansas, 2008. Print.
Rose, Tricia. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop–and Why It Matters. New York: Basic Civitas Books. 2008. Print.