Byron Hurt’s Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is an oppositional reading about masculinity in Hip Hop culture, which is strongly influenced by American cultures dominant discourse. This documentary goes in depth of how hip hop has become commercially viable and strengthens different stereo types. An oppositional reading was done throughout this documentary, Byron Hurt touched on many different subjects including; Violence, how women are portrayed in hip hop, as well as manhood. Byron Hurt was a fan of hip hop once upon a time but he was able to take a step back and assess hip hop through a different lens and challenge what is ingested by hip hop fans. In the documentary Byron Hurt visits Daytona Beach, Florida during spring break and found that in most of the youth’s freestyles there was something that had to do with a weapon, women, and violent actions.
The word “nigga” is one of the most popular words of hip hop enthusiasts. Contrary to the traditional derogatory meaning of the word, hip hop enthusiasts use the word as a term of fondness. People can also hear a Caucasian, Oriental, or Latino hip hop enthusiasts saying, “TJ is my nigga,” which stands for “TJ is a good friend.” The language of the Hip Hop culture changes constantly. What might be a cool statement today might be “played out” (outdated) in a year. Young African Americans have adopted the style of dress of upper class Caucasians as a manifestation of their lack of power in American society.
The violent and often degrading lyrics of gangster rap have now become main-stream and is highly romanticized by young black and white youths, alike. To be able to analyze the death of Tupac Shakur, it is also important to address rap music and its influence on America’s culture. Hip Hop has become a multi-billion dollar industry that has come to dominate television, film and fashion, as well as radio. Many inner-city and urban residents are drawn to hip hop and are distrustful of many institutions, therefore, they look elsewhere for guidance and knowledge. This all too often comes in the form of rap idols and gangs.
Hip Hop Culture The objective of this essay is to analyse the lyricism and its intention conveyed within the Hip Hop culture. Originating in African-American and Latino-American communities during the 1970s in New York City, Hip Hop culture has gained global attention in the mainstream. The Hip Hop culture consists of four elements: rapping, hip hop dance, graffiti and Djing. Throughout its short history, Hip Hop has been subject to criticism due to the nature of its lyrical content. Majority of the lyricism depicted in Hip Hop is about emphasizing the “thug life”.
While the physical appearance of gangsters may have transitioned from the tailored suits of the 1940's to the to the expensive and flashy chains and sneakers of today's definition, the idea is the same: illegal activities, drugs, and a culture of immorality runs their lives. This "gang" culture is directly associated with the creation of rap, and many artists today often refer to themselves as gangsters. "I keep a blue flag hangin' out my backside, but only on the left side, yeah, that's the Crip side," raps Snoop Dogg in the song Drop it Like It's Hot. This is a legitimate claim that Snoop Dogg is making about being involved with the notorious Crip gang; Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (Snoop Dogg) has been arrested on several counts of drug and firearm possessions, as well as murder (Malkin, 2012). Many other rappers make references to the gangster culture.
“Rap as an art form, began as personal narrative, telling the individual stories of urban lives ignored by the mainstream media.”(Rose, p.2-3). “It used to be a respectful, decent form of music, however, it has turned bad, into utter crap listened to by posers.”(“Rap”). When people are conversing and the word “rap” comes up, blacks and whites complain about the misogyny, materialism, drugs, and violence present in the lyrics and videos. There are many different forms of rap and they fall under two categories: the language of empowerment and the language of oppression. Conscious rap deals with empowerment and consists of “songs that are responsible, thought provoking, and/or inspirational toward positive change or a cry of protest against social injustice”.
Karn Singh Race and Ethnicity Research Project Role of rap in shaping black masculinity and black femininity, and its implications Introduction For this research paper, I will explore the differences and similarities in which rap music influences and defines black male and females identities. Specifically, I will examine how the music shapes black masculinity and black femininity and their implications at the individual and societal levels. Ever since its evolution, rap music has been a topic of much scholarly discussion. For example, its role as a cultural outlet for the black community, its influence on crime rates among young African Americans and its influence on shaping the urban black identity have been topics of much academic discussion in various disciplines such as sociology, psychology, law, etc.. From a sociological point of view, rap music’s role on determining and maintaining a black identity has been explored. In this regard, it is found that rap music portrays a very distinct images or idealizations of black masculinity and black femininity.
Since the mid 1980’s, it has been deemed as a way for individuals of particularly urban backgrounds to express themselves and has also been embraced by those of non-urban backgrounds. However there are certain songs that serve as a black eye to the genre. In the song “Bands A Make Her Dance” by Juicy J the negative themes of female oppression and the glorification of money are highlighted. I propose that songs like this effect culture by perpetuating certain negative ideas about the role of women and money in our society. Hip Hop was conceived in the late 1970’s with artist such as The Sugar Hill Gang and the Fabulous Five.
According to Wahl (1999), consumption and commerce interface with rebellion and expression in the case of hip hop in ways such as the hip hop group N.W.A (Niggaz With Attitude) rebelling against the LAPD for example in the content of their lyrics, which is how they express this feeling. The fans liked this because it was expressing similar feelings of theirs which increased their popularity. This was also a reason why N.W.A was an underground or alternative hip hop group because of their lyrical content not being aloud to play on radio stations which veered them away from mainstream hip hop and attracted a select audience of mainly teenagers and college students. Underground and alternative music can also be paralleled in other genres such as punk and indie rock. The term “selling out” plays a big role in the dichotomy of underground and mainstream music across all genres and I will explain more about this term further on in the essay.
All ages, and ethnicities listen to it. Even though I listen to all types of music, especially rap. I do believe in some ways it’s very degrading and negative, but isn’t as bad as it used to be. There has always been a sexual reference in music, even before our time. But the usage and forms of it has expanded in the 21st century.