Hip and Bebop Essay

811 WordsApr 22, 20134 Pages
Michelle Miller Dr. Diller ENG 102 7 February 2013 Hip and Bebop The idea of “hip” is not a foreign concept to us of the twenty-first century. As a cultural touchstone for our world, it is something that we have lived with for the entirety of our lives. It is recognized by children and adults alike. We have no need or longing to define it, because we view hip as eternal. John Leland, author and New York Times journalist, attempts to do just this in only 356 pages. In chapter five of Hip: The History, Leland argues that hip is nonconformity when an individual chooses not to conform to society’s standard from his own volition, rather than rejecting the norms because it is what the “inner circle” is doing. Leland uses bebop to illustrate that hip is constantly changing and evolving because the blacks will always be a step ahead since hip originated in black culture, and when the whites have adopted this hip stance, it is no longer hip because the blacks have already moved on to the next hip thing. With hip there was an “…ethos of nonconformity in a steely era of gray” (113). Blacks are developing an authority for why they are not following the norms of the society (whites), forming reasons for rebelling against what is accepted and expected. This rebellion begins as a Miller 2 result of their desire for independence, for one’s individualism. It stems from a need to question the world around them and begin to have their own personal beliefs and actions. These new- found values are opaque to some and repugnant to others (118). These values can be heard through this new genre of music, known as “bebop”. Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker recognized one another as “kindred spirits” and formed the foundations for “bebop” by refusing to play what the masses wanted to hear (114). Instead, they played what “didn’t exist in the world around them” (113). As their

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