The hip hop culture is believed to have come into existence in the 1970s. The culture is expressly marked by four cardinal elements or art forms that serve to distinguish it from other cultures in the world. Hysell in the American Reference books manual points out that the four arts of the hip hop culture are rapping, break dancing, Disk Jockeying and graffiti (488). Notably, these four elements can be easily be recognized by anybody. It can also be noted from the four arts that music is by all means the most blatant aspect of the hip hop culture at it this for this reason that music is the first element that comes in to one’s mind whenever he or she thinks of the hip hop culture. Even though hip hop culture cannot be singlehandedly pinned to the African Americans, it is of import noting that hip hop music
With in mind that cultural artifact is a term used to refer to anything (inclusive of symbols, languages, drawings and music) that is created by a community to relay information about the community’s culture, it can be viewed that hip hop music is a cultural artifact for people who embrace the hip hop culture. In the hip hop culture, music is used to relay information about the ideologies that the culture upholds. It should be noted that this paper not based on a single hip hop song as a cultural artifact but rather all hip hop songs; several examples of various hip hop songs are used in the paper.
People like hip hop music for varied reasons. According to the people I talked to with regards to hip hop music, a significant number of people pointed out that hip hop music carry very lifting information that strives to unite the community. Pointedly, most of the people who expressed that hip hop music is a symbol of unity are the African Americans. Additionally, most African Americans admit that hip hop music promote activism (which is also one of the strategies that it uses to promote unity) (Tilton 203; Lopez 5). One of the respondents called Jack, a father of two boys was categorical that he found Will Smith’s song titled “Just the Two of Us” particularly touching and actuating besides bringing him closer to his sons. Similar assertions can be found in Lopez’s book where she contends that an all-female Cuban music group called the Las Krudas used hip hop music to promote social activism in Cuba (5). This explains why hip hop songs are sometimes treated as folks- they are used to air the voices of the people.
I must also admit that hip hop music as a cultural artifact is fun to listen to because it employs unique beats and rhythm. However, there some aspects of hip hop music, particularly the relationship between hip hop and violence that I do not like. The topic of violence with regard to hip hop music has been explored by a plethora of researchers with most of the researchers managing to give evidence that hip hop music actually promote violence. For example, 50 Cent (one of the most celebrated hip hop artists) in the song “Many Men” openly states that he can take the life of anybody who talks to him badly. 50 Cent’s assertion with regards to killing anybody who criticizes him can be traced to a part of the song’s lyrics stating that “Better watch how you talk, when you talk about me ‘Cause I’ll come and take your life away”. In several other instances, 50 Cents says that he never walks without a gun in his waist which can be a perceived as an open encouragement to the members of the hip hop community to use guns as one of the means of working out their differences (Kirsh 184). Also notable is the fact that most hip hop groups prefer to call themselves gangs with the member being referred to as “gangstas”. Even though the word “gang” has multiple meanings, the most common meaning consociated with the use of the word is a group of criminals. As such, it is inevitable to construe that the usage of the word gang to denote hip hop group is the reference of a group of people involved in crime or is probably unfounded. The use of foul language is yet another premise under which I base my argument against hip hop music- several hip hop artists use maculate language in their songs making the songs unsuitable for the general audience.
As I noted earlier, I find hip hop beats and rhythm extraordinarily moving hence I can only feel different about this genre of music by not taking any serious consideration in the information that the songs relay. I must also point out that I do not feel that the short duration I have spent researching on hip hop songs has change my mind about hip hop music. This is because, even before starting this project, I have always associated hip hop music with violence and foul language. I can only say that the project has served to help me come to the realization that other people also share in my views about hip hop music.
Hysell, Shannon Graff. American Reference Books Annual. Littleton, Colo: Libraries Unlimited, 1970. Print.
Kirsh, Steven J. Children, Adolescents, and Media Violence: A Critical Look at the Research. Thousand Oaks, Calif. [u.a.: Sage, 2006. Print.
Lopez, Karen. Music and Social Activism: a Literature Review. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2009. Internet resource. Print.
Price, Emmett G. Hip Hop Culture. Oxford: Abc-clio, 2006. Print.
Tilton, Jennifer. Dangerous or Endangered?: Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America. New York: New York University Press, 2010. Print.