The Authenticity Of Hip Hop

1891 Words Apr 25th, 2016 8 Pages
Sandy Liao
4/20/2016
SOCY 118
Professor Klett
Authenticity of Hip-Hop
Authenticity has been connected to hip-hop since the genre’s inception in the late 1970s. Claims to authenticity are widespread to an unparalleled degree throughout all types of hip-hop music, from “gangsta”, lyrical, and party. Why is hip-hop preoccupied to such a large extent with the notion of authenticity? What qualities creates authentic hip-hop? Despite the previous absence of scholarly attention given to hip-hop, there has been a recent growth in hip-hop academia as the genre has solidated its position as a major market and cultural force within not only the United States, but also all over the world.
Hip-hop’s fascination with authenticity is unique to the genre and its function of its roots as the cultural expression of socially and economically marginalized African-Americans. A narrow subculture, hip-hop’s rise to prominence as evidence by the rise of international hip-hop stars, a high percentage of hip-hop CD sales, and the cooption of all things “hip-hop” by large companies to target new consumer demographics, has jeopardized the genre’s “realness.” Listen to Kanye West’s “Ni**gas in Paris” produced in 2011 and then listen to Maceo’s “Nextel Chirp” produced in 2005, both tracks sound very similar, so what is authentic and what is not?
Hip-hop’s claims to authenticity take a variety of forms in a multitude of contexts; therefore, it is virtually impossible to clearly define what…

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