Can You Understand "The Message"?

2040 WordsJun 5, 20089 Pages
Can You Understand The Message? Dating back to the times of slavery, the black community in America has historically used music as a vehicle for self-expression and introspection. The blues was the original form of musical self-expression, and was conceived from “field hollering”, the melodious manner in which slaves working the fields and forests aired out grievances and gave their opinions on their present situation. The use of music for communal empowerment and expression of self within the black community is still seen today, but is seen in the more contemporary genre of hip-hop music which originated in the early 70s in the New York Inner City. Grandmaster Flash is credited with being one of the original pioneers of the hip-hop…show more content…
Many inner city dwellers are often physically, socially, and economically trapped to the confines of their living situation. Lack of financial stability in the inner city prevents many residents from improving their situation, and in effect leaves an entire community socially and economically stagnant and living with “rats in the front room, roaches in the back/junkie’s in the alley with a baseball bat.” In the author’s case, one shared by countless other inner city residents, the ability to even catch a breather from the depressing sites and life of the inner city is not even feasible due to lack of transportation. Another image that Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five portray is a “crazy lady livin’ in a bad/Eatin’ out of garbage pails, she used to be a fag-hag.” While this image serves as another reinforcement of poverty in the ghetto, it also brings to light the plight of a single woman in the ghetto. The crazy lady, Grandmaster Flash explains, used to be a dancer however at some stage in her life “she went to the city and got Social Security/She had to get a pimp, she couldn’t make it on her own.” Through the anecdote of the “crazy lady,” Grandmaster Flash demonstrates the realities of life for a poor, single woman trying to
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