Hip Hop Culture Analysis

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Hip-hop culture has been the topic of various academic, social, and political discourses. Rap music, in particular, has made its way to mainstream media which is evident in the numerous films and movies that centers on what was once a part of an underground culture. Scholars explain that the popularity of hip-hop in both music and films are partly due to its potential to disseminate information, address an issue, and promote social change. Tinson and McBride (2013), for example, note that hip-hop is a “…form of critical education at the intersection of, and inseparable from political engagement” (1). Scholars further note that hip-hop’s current state “…requires frequent accounting of its engagement with the social, political, and cultural climate…show more content…
Some of the main cores of Beat Street are the music, dancing, and graffiti art works – all of which are part of hip-hop culture. Scholars note that hip-hop as a movement originated in roots from African American traditions and are mainly used to express their culture as well as identity (Blanchard 24). Rap music, for example, comes from West Africa’s “nommo.” This idea refers to the power to deliver words to act upon objects and to bring it to life. The historical and traditional underpinning of rap, therefore, becomes representative of the rich and distinctive culture of African Americans. In the same way, the movements of the B-boys and the upbeat drumming music served by disc jockeys seem to mimic the dance and tunes of African tribes. That being said, hip-hop also functions as tool for African Americans to reclaim their roots and identity (Blanchard 25). Hence, more than capturing the early phases of hip-hop, Beat Street has also shown the genuine and non-commercial relationship of African Americans and this…show more content…
The movie, for instance, shows how African Americans at the time continued to suffer in poverty. Such is evident in the setting of the movie and how its characters of forced to live and work in the decaying streets of Bronx. Alternately, the film also showed the prejudice and discrimination experienced by many blacks. The characters and their struggles embody how hip-hop culture, is shaped by the legacies of slavery, prejudice, discrimination, segregation, along with deep political and economic oppression. The character of Kenny, in specific, exemplifies the struggle of blacks to gain opportunities and recognition. Finally, the film demonstrates how hip hop culture is a tool used by African Americans to reclaim their identity and heritage. Such is evident in the different elements present in the movie such as break dancing or rap which is similar to traditional African moves and music. Thus, concluding that Beat Street is a film which accomplishes the idea of exemplifying how hip-hop culture has been an outlet for blacks to portray their social, political, economic states, as well as their identities since its

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