The ever-changing world of Popular Culture and Hip Hop

When you really stop to think about how popular culture has developed and changed over the years, music such as hip hop can be a very helpful demonstration of the change. When I watched the movie Beat Street, the world of hip hop consisted of mostly African American and Puerto Rican kids in NY jamming to their own songs about their lives, the good and the bad, breaking to them, and doing graffiti. Recently, we have had the explosion of the so-called “hyphy movement” in my home of the Bay (aka. Yay) Area, mainly lead by Mistah F.A.B, Lil’ Jon, Keak da Sneak and E-40. Aside from the style of the hip hop changing from the Beat Street style hip hop to the hyphy movement, the content has also changed dramatically. In the early days, hip hop used to be about how rough the world is and how to get further in life, but now all you really hear about is how the rapper/artist rocks 8 chains and drives nice cars and gets lots of ladies and talks about their city (aka the Hyphy movement). Mistah F.A.B.’s stuff is actually pretty interesting. In his song “Baydestrians,” he talks about the Bay Area culture including ‘ghost ridin the whip,’ goin’ stupid, dumb, and hyphy, and etc.

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9 Responses to “The ever-changing world of Popular Culture and Hip Hop”

  1. astrangerwithcandy Says:

    the thing about hip-hop is, it’s this big umbrella. on one hand there’s the “gangster rappers” who dominate the mainstream right now with their watered down sound and asinine lyrics. on the other side of the coin, we have the “underground.” there’s literally hundreds of emcees and groups out there who make passionate music with a plethora of topics; and they get next to no coverage.
    now, this can be said for most types of music. the most conventional music will get the most airplay(i’m looking at you nickleback). that’s just how it is and probably always will be. granted there are a few exceptions, radiohead being one of them.

    we’re living in a truly special time right now however , as there’s so many hybrids & sub-genres under hip-hop it’s ridiculous (in a good way). to name a few from last.fm: indie hip-hop, abstract hip-hop, japanese hip-hop, conscious hip-hop, instrumental hip-hop, experimental hip-hop, jazz hip-hop, electric hip-hop, well you get the idea.

    i have a playlist on imeem that i encourage people to check out, regardless of your preconceptions about hip-hop. i hope you’ll be able to connect on some level. http://www.imeem.com/people/AubPtr/playlist/hPbs6fE6/hip_hops_lament_music_playlist/

  2. camouflageculture Says:

    Nicely curated set of tracks.

    Though I’m not sure that “emo” rap like this distinguishes itself enough from the sometimes-faux earnestness of some slam poetry, any alternative to corporate-sponsored rap is always welcome.

    We have to be careful of the marketing efforts that lurk behind the naming of sub-genres, even in the relatively flexible environment of online streaming channels.

    There was once a time that a great MC was a great MC, no matter what their subject matter was… Many readers will probably not recall the point in time when if you listened to rap you *automatically* knew the best stuff from a wide range of styles… and wouldn’t be surprised if the rare rap tour brought them all to you in one night!

    Kids today (yuk yuk) only know what the radio – and increasingly the Internet – programs them with, independent of the energy and genuine competition that comes from actually engaging the culture.

  3. astrangerwithcandy Says:

    hmm, i’m not sure i understand what you mean by “faux-earnestness” here. they seem contrite enough to me.

    and for the record, these tracks aren’t indicative of all the hip-hop i listen too, it’s just a playlist for when i’m in that certain mood(emo?). it’s a good place to start out for those who are still on the fence about hip-hop.

    emo is a term thrown around so carelessly nowadays; i’m not even sure what it means anymore. care to elaborate? and may i inquire as to who some of your favorite emcees/groups are?

  4. herewithnoone Says:

    hip-hop has changed a lot since it first started. I enjoy both the mainstream & the underground and the meaningful songs & the not-so-meaningful songs. From artists like Immortal Technique to Soulja Boy and everything else.

    A lot of people are saying that snap music and Southern hip-hop in general is either not real hip-hop or is killing hip-hop. I dont think thats true because the artist is expressing him/herself in their own way and isnt that what hip-hop (and all other forms of music) is about?

    Duno what emo is when it comes to hip-hop, but in rock music, its a form of hardcore punk. the mainstream used this term to name a lot of bands as “emo” bands when their style of music was not. Simple Plan was considered emo even though they were pop punk and My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way hated it when people would categorize them as an emo band.

    First rap record:

  5. camouflageculture Says:

    @ astrangerwithcandy…

    0) as i opened the comment with: “nice playlist,” and this is stated without sarcasm.

    1) preferred emcees/Groups in no particular order – Public Enemy, KRS-1, Cannibal Ox, Lil Wayne, ATCQ, De La Soul, Compton’s Most Wanted, 1st Generation NWA, C-Rayz Wallz, Madlib/Quasimoto, J-Dilla, Saafir, Del, Latifah, Redman, Black Moon, 1st Generation Wu-Tang, Ladybug Mecca, The Roots, 1st Generation 50Cent, 1st Generation and “vs. Jay-Z mode” Nas, 1st Gen and “Black Album” Jay-Z, GangStarr…

    2) re: “emo” – I was trolling a little. But to me, introspective raps plus melodramatic production adds up to “emo.” “My Mind’s Playing Tricks On Me” by the Geto boys is introspective, but blues-based, which results in a different listening experience. This doesn’t make what I am calling “emo-rap” “bad” by any means, but it does carve out a niche for emceeing that is very different from that careful balance of rocking the crowd and making one think/feel at the same time. I am not saying that this mode of rap should be suppressed or censored in any way. I’m just old.

    3) and by “sometimes-faux earnestness” i’m referring to a specific style of contemporary spoken word that to me simply doesn’t come off as “true.” It’s valid, but it doesn’t move me.

    4) I also did not mean to categorize *your listening* in any way.

    5) as for MCR and Simple Plan, they can’t necessarily help the audience that organizes around them *or* will categorize them. I don’t think “emo” was a marketing term from the record labels — it was community-generated.

  6. fngrnailtree Says:

    Like how you said vinyl sounds better than MP3’s because MP3’S find a median often and disregard many pitches where as vinyl does not, and photoshop will often group colors making an image that’s flatter than what you would want at times, the same i think can be said for mainstream hip-hop. In any statistic there is almost always a median and that median caters to the greatest common good for the greatest number of people. Most music listeners are just going for the vibe a song puts off, or a beat that makes them move, and it is a very select few heads out there who are really looking for that golden line, or those poetic innuendos. So like those pitches and color pigments that get disregarded by the program, so do many emcees out there who are not touching upon that median. They all get lost in our social system not much unlike a computer. It doesn’t discredit their skills neccessarily as emcees but rather they’re speaking to a particular group that isn’t the majority and because of that they might not get as much play time as the others or as much recognition. This really becomes tragic when the positive is what’s being skewed and skimmed off and negativity is the product to be packaged and sold to the masses. And its also sad to see an artist endorsing a lifestyle or an idea that is complete crap. It makes artists look like used car salesmen who will say anything to get the dollar out of you or their corporate sponsors. And because they’re the majority and the ones being heard, this negative connotation carries through the masses and because the poster icon of what “hip hop is” and it drags down even further those few artists trying to make a positive impact.

  7. astrangerwithcandy Says:

    that was a very eclectic list camo. i can’t say i’m down with all of those emcees, but there are a few those dudes that i love.

  8. Big Shug says it best :

    “This year, I’m not fuckin with coward cats who hide behind their raps and flashy cadilacs, scared of the battle raps and semi auto gats, but who wanna to push wack rhymes from artificial cats.”

    -Big Shug of Gang Starr Foundation, “Play It”

  9. nikeshox20 Says:

    the hyphy movement is just one aspect of hip hop and how it relates to the overall big picture

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