Definition of Hip-hop
When trying to define hip-hop, one restricts the content of this phenomenon to the list of music, visual, and dancing practices, while others in contrast use big words like religion or philosophy. In my opinion, both ways are inappropriate when looking for the interpretation of the meaning of this phenomenon. In considering the issue of its definition, like any other cultural background, the importance of influence is critical. This perspective allows defining hip-hop as a way to self-defining of young African Americans and marking their place on the map of the USA in the last 20 years of the 20th century as known from essay service
First, hip-hop represents not even who African Americans are but who they consist of. It would be generalized to identify the entire African-American population of the USA with the black youth subculture, but hip-hop does reveal the problems that the middle class is faced with. Hip-hop gives the chance to get acquainted with African-Americans from the inside. The texts stress the problems of poverty and violence that are common for the entire community and that are raised during the establishment of hip-hop since “Rap music generally, and gangsta rap, in particular, has become the scapegoat for some very serious problems facing urban America”. This music stands on a critique of criminalization of black youth. After the urban economy displacement and the closing of many factories, the unemployed youth, whose rates in New York were 60 %, faced with being involved into crack cocaine business as an economic option. For the same crime, a white male would receive a less severe sentence than a black male, or African-American youths face police repressions as they are detained or suspected just because of their hip-hop styled clothes. Moreover, after an apartment building in Bronx was destroyed in a fire for insurance money, New York Democratic Senator told “People in the South Bronx don’t want housing or they wouldn’t burn it down”. Hip-hop rather describes purpose than advocates the act of violence or crime, and gangsta rappers tell the story how economic realities affect black men and describe crime as a model of survival. From their words, they consider themselves modern Robin Hoods.
Second, the important issue that makes one feel hip-hop as a self-defining factor for African-Americans is putting the community on the map but not in the status of a ghetto. Presumably, just explaining their truth but not excusing for it has made the ghetto phenomenon personalized. Hip-hop becomes the instrument of communication between the African-American young community and the rest of the country, and as Kelley notes, “We find black youth subculture reconstructing a dominant representation of who they are in order to “remake” their image in popular discourse”. Moreover, it managed to become a good tool of getting heard since hip-hop attracts listeners initially for whom the “ghetto” is a place full of adventures, violence, or erotic fantasy. This music attracts attention firstly, but then it involves involvement and sharing the essence:
Violence did not suddenly end; how could it? But an enormous amount of creative energy was now to be released from the bottom of American society, and the staggering implications of this moment eventually would echo around the world.
More important, for African-Americans, it became like a folk song as one might not enjoy it, but everyone identifies themselves with it. Hip-hop became the instrument of accepting oneself just in the way they are simultaneous with pointing the ‘members only’ rules. For example, hip-hop texts redefine the meaning of offensive word ‘nigger’ into ‘nigga’ that is treated as a part of normative vocabulary only among black males. This word has the meaning of a ‘bro’. As for me, this is some kind of “decriminalization” of the word.
To conclude, hip-hop is defined as the mouthpiece of the African-American middle class not just in the 1980s-1990s. This voice was raised at that time. However, there is still so much to say to modern American society. Hip-hop needs to be heard as a constant reminder of problems and become eligible to be spoken aloud beyond the limited circle of its listeners.