I will admit it, I do not like majority of hip hop music and will therefore not listen to it. As a result I am not aware of many hip hop artists, only the mainstream artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Jay z, T.I, 50 Cent and those alike. What I have come to realise though is the largely male and African-American dominance within the mainstream hip hop industry. The top 5 wealthiest hip hop artists are men of colour. So where are all the females and white men? Does hip hop have a stereotype and if so, how was this created?
Hip hop culture is commonly recognized by its main elements:
However, these elements are simply forms of art designed to express a deeper meaning. The average Aussie I don’t believe would say they are rich in culture, sure there is an Australian culture but at its roots it is not full of art, practice and faith. However, when you experience indigenous culture of any country you see the culture they immerse themselves in and the passion they have. It is this relationship between an individual and their culture which drives such powerful feelings for expressive art forms, hip hop included.
As was demonstrated in the group presentation on local and global hip hop and in April K. Henderson’s reading Dancing Between Islands: Hip Hop and the Samoan Diaspora, indigenous and culturally rich communities such as the Maori’s of New Zealand, Samoans, Tongans, Africans, African-Americans and Aborigines, all seem to have a differing sense of identification with their culture which translates into extremely powerful and meaningful forms of art.
Techno and ethnoscapes helped facilitate the spread of unique forms of hip hop, with cultures drawing their own links and practices from one another to create hip hop for everyone to consume and relate to. The importance of performing and embodying local languages and cultures within hip hop enables artists to send a modern, personal message while being connected to their own heritage (Henderson).
While hip hop music still doesn’t particularly interest me, the deeper meaning behind it is extremely fascinating. You only have to research a little about the hip hop industry to dispel previous hip hop stereotypes and realise the history behind it. That is when you find amazing artists that don’t rap about “bitches”, “hoes” and “gettin’ down” but actually have something meaningful and quite powerful to say. Once you look past majority of the mainstream hip hop you hear on the radio, your ears are opened to a whole new section of the genre which, if you can keep up, is not that bad to listen to.