The History of Hip Hop Music and Its Transition to Popular Music

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Hip hop has multiple branches of style and is a culture of these. This essay will examine Hip Hop from the point of view of the following three popular music scholars, Johnson, Jeffries and Smitherman. It will delve deeper into their understanding of what hip hop is and its relation to the different people that identify with its message and contents. It will also identify the history of Hip hop and its transition into popular music. In particular this essay will focus on what hip hop represents in the black community and how it can be used as a social movement against inequalities faced by them. This will then open up the discussion for the how this has influenced society, and the impact it has had in terms of race issues which hip hop …show more content…
Hip hop generally has songs which African Americans can relate to. Although this can be argued, Jeffries’ research into hip hop culture reveals, blacks associate hip hop with “understanding themselves and other black people”. (Jeffries.2011; 29). Jeffries makes a strong point when he compares the power of hip hop artist today being more influential than civil rights heroes. He quotes Nas (famous rapper) as saying “Some of my niggas in the streets don’t know who Medgar Evers was . . . they know who Nas is” (quoted in Reid 2008). This helped to highlight that today’s generation identifies more strongly with hip hop and views it as not just music but as a sub culture of who they are. This shows that Hip hop is a multi-facet media and is something that can be easily identified with, easily associated with and therefore relatable.
Smitherman views hip hop as a means to express pain and the violence the artists have dealt with. He notes that this ‘thug life’ is the key to being authentic, “giving them legitimate, productive careers” (Smitherman.1997; 21). He cites that Hip hop examines the struggles in a black community that America has abandoned, and demonstrates the evolution of the black culture. In doing so hip hop has allowed both insiders and outsiders to understand and associate with this struggle. (Smitherman.1997; 22). Smitherman quotes Chuck D of
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