Is Hip-Hop Really That “Hip”?
The music genre defined as hip-hop, or rap, has been gaining a lot of attention over the past twenty years. In their articles, J. Victoria Sanders (Horizon), Allison Samuels, N’Gai Croal, David Gates( Newsweek), and an unknown author (Time), discuss the changing faces of hip-hop and its effects on today’s society. One specific aspect of hip-hop music that all of the writers agree on is that the references to sex, violence, and the bad attitudes towards the female species are getting worse and something needs to be done?quickly.
In her article discussing the effects of hip-hop on women in today’s society, J. Victoria Sanders states that the “black community searches for leadership and a voice.” The only leadership found today is the voice heard booming above all other noises: that of the gangster rapper, singing of pimping, violence, sex, and the defamation of women. Although many female hip-hop artists protest against this portrayal, ultimately, most of them succumb to the stereotypical image of a black female hip-hop artist: tight fitting, sexually flaunting, name-brand clothing and large, expensive jewelry, but the saddest thing is that they do it willingly. Being in love with the artistic aspects of hip-hop does not mean that Sanders agrees with some of its forms of expression.
“Hip-hop’s fire is often fueled by drawing on the black community’s history of resistance to oppression.” This quote is from an article found in Time, written by and unknown author, explaining his views on the direction of hip-hop. He states that although hip-hop has been considered a more African-American form of expression, these days all that matters is catchy lyrics and a tough persona that is attractive to the younger generation. As long as a rapper is resisting something, then it is acceptable, whether it be a law or a friend. He uses Eminem as an example quite a few times. Eminem’s lyrics bash homosexuals, his own mother, and he even discusses killing his wife, but he is also one of hip-hop’s (rap’s) top artists. The author tends to dislike Eminem and all that he stands for, but he also acknowledges the fact that guys like Eminem know what they are doing and “?they’re working it for all it’s worth.”
As well as many writers and “regular” people believing that hip-hop is going to far, many of hip-hops own artists share the sentiment. Allison Samuels and company, reveal in their article that many major rappers feel that the future of hip-hop is doomed if a change is not made. Mos Def, Eve, and D.M.C., to name a few, are against the sexually explicit lyrics and poor treatment and portrayal of women in music and are very outspoken about it. Not only is this depiction of hip-hop bad for the children, but for the black rappers as well. “The endorsement of thugs is white people’s fantasy of what they want us to be.” The blame is everywhere.
“A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Time 29 May 2000. Online. 10 Oct. 2000.
Croal, N’Gai, David Gates, and Allison Samuels. “Battle for the Soul of Hip-Hop.”
Newsweek Oct. 2000. Online. 10 Oct. 2000.
Sanders, J. Victoria. “The Black Princess?” Horizon 1998. Online. 10 Oct. 2000.