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Culture refers to elements of a society such as arts and other expressions among people. It is defined as a set of manifestations of a group of individuals who share common characteristics. Differences within a culture lead to further classification of individuals into subcultures.
A subculture consists of members of a larger culture who have specific characteristics, distinct from other members of the parent culture. This paper seeks to discuss the ‘hip hop’ subculture. Based on an interview with a member of the subculture, the paper will discuss some of the terms used in the subculture, how its members dress and look, as well as how they act.
Terms that forms the subculture
Language is one of the elements that distinguish ‘hip hop’ from other subcultures that are based on music. The subculture has specific diction and vocabulary that are attributed to its origin. The subculture that originated from the United States had racial roots that greatly influenced the terms used in communication.
Having developed from African American and Hispanic American races, most of its terms are a corrupt integration of the languages. The terms, though closely related to English, are modified with additional letters either within the original English words of at the end of the words. There are terms such as ‘dis’ instead of the term ‘this’ or words such as ‘homie’. Other terms are derived from the regular English language but are given special meanings in the ‘hip hop’ culture.
The term ‘old school’ is for instance used to mean the early period of time in which the ‘hip hop’ music developed. A regular consideration of the English language would offer a different meaning to the term. The subculture also uses the term ‘biting’ to refer to a person who infringes other peoples’ rights over proprietary musical styles and forms. The subculture therefore has terms that distinguish it from main artistic culture, of music, that involves other subcultures such as rap and rock and rhythm.
How they dress and look
Like its language, the ‘hip hop’ culture has a distinct dress code that distinguishes it from other sub cultures. Though a number of transitions have been witnessed, there has been a uniform trend of loosely fitting clothes among the group’s members. The initial dressing style of the group was a set of lose cloths with generally bright colors.
Tracksuits and jackets were also common. Developments in the subculture also witnessed acculturation of hairstyle designs and specially designed caps. Currently, the subculture is characterized by sports wears that are specifically loosely fitting. At the same time, specially branded jewelry known as ‘bling bling’ have been adopted by the subculture.
The dress code is also defined by special brands of products that are attributed to the subculture’s music legends. Members of the subculture are therefore distinct in the way they look and they can be distinguished by their appearance.
How they act
A ‘ghetto’ form of behavior identifies the ‘hip hop’ subculture. This particular set of attitude and reaction is attributable to the origin of the subculture. Having originated from minority races that were lowly regarded in the United States’ New York, the subculture still exhibits an inferiority complex based behavior with elements such as rudeness, arrogance, and violence. There is also a high level of peer influence.
The ‘hip hop’ subculture, derived from ‘hip hop’ music, is a subset of a major culture that is defined by the music industry. The sub culture has distinct characteristics in its language, dressing style and behavior.