Analysis: Deconstructing Gangsta Rap

Good Essays
Deconstructing Gangsta Rap The development of hip hop did not occur all at once. There was a prolific timeline that lead to the creation of what is now a dominant and influential segment of our present-day popular culture. Hip hop’s origins were a blend of many diverse cultures, such as African-American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, and Jamaican. Many various artforms from the streets of 1970s New York City came together and took the shape of what eventually came to be known as hip hop. At the time of its development, hip hop was not only a genre of music, it encompassed the mid-1970s South Bronx, New York way of life. From street graffiti artists and break dancers to battling emcees and creative DJs, Hip hop embodied or took on many different artforms…show more content…
This new rap genre provided a much-needed voice for the African-American communities in Los Angeles. It was a new voice from the streets, capable of reaching the White House and the politicians that resided there. The lyrics of the gangsta rapper were harsh and truthful. Originally, gangsta rap was used to depict the harsh realities of growing up on the streets of poor black neighborhoods in Los Angeles, most notably Compton. It was a new mass medium that allowed poor urban youth to tell their life stories and shed light on a situation that was going unnoticed by the masses. This new medium not only reached the ears residing in the state’s capital, but Washington D.C. as well. Gangsta rap glorified the street gangsta and their criminal activity. They spoke of the crack cocaine epidemic that plagued black neighborhoods of Los Angeles and vilified the…show more content…
As rap was making a rise in popularity due to the interest of a white teenage audience, music executives predicted a huge profit potential. Gangsta rap created a sense of romanticism toward the ghetto lifestyle by white suburban youths and the rap video helped create and develop this romance into a very profitable endeavor. This rise in popularity led to the advent of Yo MTV Raps in 1988. Yo MTV Raps was the first show of its kind and premiered on MTV with its focus on the hip hop industry and the rap video. The typical gangsta rap video contained some of the elements used in Leni Riefenstahls’s 1935 fascist propaganda film Triumph of the Will. The gangsta or gangsta rapper is portrayed as godlike and singled out with zoomed in shots while his followers are zoomed out and portrayed in mass groups. This allows the Gangsta to be relatable to powerful individuals such as the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and his followers symbolic to that of a small nation or
Get Access