Essay on Hip-hop, Reggae, and Politics

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Hip-hop, Reggae, and Politics

Introduction

Music is an art form and source of power. Many forms of music reflect culture and society, as well as, containing political content and social message. Music as social change has been highlighted throughout the 20th century. In the 1960s the United States saw political and socially oriented folk music discussing the Vietnam War and other social issues. In Jamaica during the 1970s and 1980s reggae developed out of the Ghetto’s of Trench town and expressed the social unrest of the poor and the need to over-through the oppressors. The 1980’s brought the newest development in social and political music, the emergence of hip-hop and rap. This urban musical art form that was developed in New
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This paper is an analysis of the political and social aspects of hip-hop and reggae, as well as, addressing the commonalities of the music itself as they have developed and changed over time. This analysis produces the holistic view reflecting the interconnectedness of these two genres of music.

Reggae’s Influence on hip-hop

Reggae music had a direct impact on the development of hip-hop music. Both styles of music emerged from the dancehall, with lyrics containing social and political message. “Reggae started as ‘sufferah’s’ music in poor Jamaican villages. Inside gritty dancehalls, selectors spun scratchy sides, called ‘specials,’ and MC’s boasted, talked nonsense and criticized political, cultural and economic oppression” (Havlock). Reggae emerged out of the island culture of Jamaica and the “poor man’s party,” while hip-hop music emerged in New York City, specifically the Bronx, in the early 1970s.

DJ Kool Herc is credited as one, if not the originator, of hip-hop. Kool Herc brought his Caribbean style when emigrated from Jamaica in 1967. He began this new musical journey with the desire to bring the powerful Jamaican Dancehall sound system to play music at parties and in the streets. In 1973 he had created his own sound system

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