Rap Music: Artistic Expression In Hip-Hop Culture

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Introduction Contrary to common opinion, hip-hop is a holistic culture and does not refer to rap music alone. According to Ahmed (n.d), hip-hop is the overlying culture from which rap music has its roots. By definition, hip-hop as a culture includes other creative elements and cultural nuances such as breakdancing, turntablism/deejaying, beatboxing, and graffiti (Ahmed, n.d). Initially considered a fad encapsulating the playful tendencies of urban African American teens, hip-hop has evolved into a permanent fixture in America’s entertainment landscape. This paper examines some factors that continue to impact the evolvement of hip-hop.
Artistic Expression in Hip-hop
Artistic expression is central to hip-hop as a culture. Rap music, for example,
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This resulted in the removal of many art programs from city schools. This essentially mean that little room was left for self-expression, especially among African Americans who were the most affected (Ahmed, n.d). As a result, Ahmed (n.d) states that African Americans were forced to form a highly expressive underground culture.
Commercial Factors
Much of the rhetoric characterizing hip-hop culture was raw and to some point considered dangerous as it bordered on incitement. However, as hip-hop grew more popular and begun attracting more fans, its rhetoric became more accommodating so as to appeal commercially. The result was the successful establishment of a multibillion industry. Today, hip-hop nuances such as rap music are considered lucrative careers attracting worldwide players.
Hip-hop, like any other culture, encapsulates the beliefs, values and morals of the African American community. Although it begun on a negative note due to the prevailing socio-political issues during the 1960’s, hip-hop has continued to evolve over the years into a worldwide movement that is not characterized by color, but by its ideals of freedom and justice. Consequently, Simon (2003) argues that hip-hop has more clout in advancing civil rights in America today, than the powerful messages of Martin Luther King

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