The Masculinity Of Hip Hop Essay

2756 WordsJan 31, 201212 Pages
When hip hop first emerged in the 1970s, the genre soon became known as a medium through which African Americans could voice their opinions and concerns about pressing issues in society. However the genre has drastically transformed since then as a result of its commercialization. Although a few aspects of old school hip hop are still present in today’s mainstream rap, the genre has come to be known to revolve around the common themes of promiscuity, drug use, violence, and materiality. In fact, today’s mainstream hip hop is based on the ideology of what is perceived to be masculine in society. American society traditionally describes a man to be aggressive, competitive, and dominant over women; simply being male does not suffice. Interestingly enough, all of these traits are characteristic of rap music and the ideologies promoted by the genre. Gender socialization plays an important role in this, as it involves the learning of gender roles through social agents such as families or the media; not only does gender socialization define how a man should be, but it also affects how men wish to be perceived in society. Being that hip hop was created – and is still dominated – by African American men, these masculine traits are emphasized and displayed in a variety of ways. Today, it is done by promoting sexist and misogynist ideals, emphasizing the importance material possessions, glorifying violence, and denouncing homophobia. However a few decades ago, the masculinity in hip hop was more evident through the rivalries that often generated between rappers or even entire coasts. The masculinity of hip hop can be seen throughout the genre’s history. Freestyling and rap battling – which both involve competing against an opponent – have always been important and visible aspects of rap music, thus showing hip hop’s competitive nature. Even the term “rap battle” hints

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