Hip-hop is a form of popular culture that was started in the United States in the 1980’s in African-American inner city areas. The important elements of Hip-hop culture include Hip-hop music or rap, break dancing and graffiti artwork. Hip-hop is a genre of music which originated in New York City in the early 1980’s (Bynoe, 45). Rap is characterized with scratching a vinyl record back and forth with the stylus in the groove and heavily accented electronic drums behind a rap vocal line. Unfortunately, the use of digital samples had done away with scratching in the early 90’s.
It is true that Hip-hop has change significantly over the years, what used to be ground breaking, exciting music has turned to be a nut shell of its former self. Back then Hip-hop moguls used to work together and speak about the black mane experience in America. They had a strong message to the society and those who listened to it then used to appreciate the works of their musician. Contrary to that, Hip-hop artists of the current generation seem to be fighting each other for fame. Just listen to some of their rap and you will realize that all they talk about is money, women and sex. Each artist wants to cut a niche in the society and be regarded as the best rapper that has ever lived.
In the early 80’s Hip-hop was much diversified, any young black boy aspired to be the Chuck D’s, Big daddy ken and Doug fresh of those days. That does not exist any more, no parent of sound mind will allow his son to relate himself with violence, sex and women as Rap artists of our generation do. It is very hard to find an artist talking about cerebral issues these days; such artists would become the laughing stock of his peers. Hip-hop artists of our generation are not supposed to be faint hearted. If you don’t support violence, fame and money, then don’t waste your time aspiring to be a hip-hop artist because that is next to impossible.
Hager (p, 6) argues that hip-hop artists used to highlight both the positive and negative issues affecting the society; unfortunately, this is not the case today. Much emphasis is being given to highlight the criminal aspect of the black youth. From the lyrics and the videos we see, the black kid has always been associated with slinging cocaine, shooting one another and smoking marijuana. I don’t think all black kids are associated with this vice, there are some of them who accompany their grandmothers and mothers to church but you never hear a hip-hop artist sing about it.
This leads us to the big question; what happened? How did hip-hop devolve from its glorious self to the nut shell it is today? One of the reasons for this can be traced to the rapid rise of the crack epidemic in urban neighborhoods. According to Bogdanov (p, 122), the influence caused by this crack epidemic changed the values of many youth because it is at the urban suburbs where one will get money, guns and many other materialistic things which have no meaning to the youth. If you add all these materialistic things like a gun then you get a very weird mix of a youth.
Change in technology has forced hip-hop to change over the years, with many media houses out there, sophisticated equipment used to record and produce the music led to the complete transformation of hip-hop from what we knew to what we know and relate with.
Hip-hop has transformed it self in the eyes of the media in many ways since it was introduced in the 1980’s. Initially, the media viewed hip-hop as a culture which was associated with black Americans. The media viewed hip-hop as a culture and music genre that fought for the rights of the black. Many artists who performed hip-hop were people who championed for the rights of the black people who were segregated and mistreated those days.
The media viewed hip-hop as a culture of expression; it made it possible for people who had limited recourses to make something out of nothing. This was because hip-hop enabled people the power they had in changing their miserable situation and take control by taking control of their lives. The media saw hip-hop a key to better communication between different communities and people who had different beliefs on some important issues. Hip-hop served as a connection between the whites and blacks.