Hip Hop: Oppression And Inequality
Hip Hop: Oppression And Inequality
In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, the theme of oppression with regard to race and its application to the Negros in connection to the Montgomery bus sanctions. There are ways, according Martin Luther King Jnr that oppression can be dealt with: through acquiescence, physical violence or through non-violent resistance. In the contemporary world, fireworks have been lit up on dark blue skies with the Hip Hop stars celebrating the holidays through songs in a bid to speak up their minds on free speech and its freedom. These songs cut across socio-political issues.
As a matter of fact, Hip Hop is a term that is used to describe the urban youth in the United States of America. In the words of Hazzard-Donald (1996), hip hop is an expression of culture that was chiefly associated with the marginalized American youths of African descent. At its most elemental level, hip hop is considered to be a product of the post-civil rights movement as well as the cultural norms that were primarily driven by the African Americans, Caribbean Americans and the Latin American youths.
In recent years, controversy surrounding rap music has been in the forefront of the American media. From the hype of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that shadowed the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. to the demonization of modem music in the wake of school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, it seems that political and media groups have been quick to place blame on rap for a seeming trend in youth violence. however, though critics are quick to point out the violent lyrics of some rappers, they are missing the point of rap’s message. Rap, like other forms of music, cannot be understood unless it is studied without the frame of its historical and social context. Today’s rap music reflects its origin in the hip-hop culture of young, urban, working-class African-Americans, its roots in the African oral tradition, its function as the voice of an otherwise underrepresented group, and, as its popularity has grown, its commercialization and appropriation by the music industry.
Hip-hop music is generally considered to have been pioneered in New York’s South Bronx in 1973 by Jamaican-born Kool DJ Herc. At a Halloween dance party thrown by his younger sister, Herc used an innovative turntable technique to stretch a song’s drum break by playing the break portion of two identical records consecutively. The popularity of the extended break lent its name to “breakdancing”–a style specific to hip-hop culture, which was facilitated by extended drumbreaks played by DJs at New York dance parties. By the mid-1970s, New York’s hip-hop scene was dominated by seminal turntablists DJ Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Herc. The rappers of Sugarhill Gang produced hip-hop’s first commercially successful hit, “Rapper’s Delight,” in 1979′.
Rap itself–the rhymes spoken over hip-hop music–began as a commentary on the ability–or “skillz”–of a particular DJ while that DJ was playing records at a hip-hop event. MCs, the forerunners of today’s rap artists, introduced DJs and their songs and often recognized the presence of friends in the audience at hip-hop performances. Their role was carved out by popular African-American radio disc jockeys in New York during the latel96Os, who introduced songs and artists with spontaneous rhymes. The innovation of MCs caught the attention of hip-hop fans. Their rhymes lapped over from the transition period between the end of one song and the introduction of the next to the songs themselves. Their commentaries moved solely from a DJ’s skillz to their own personal experiences and stories. The role of MCs in performances rose steadily, and they began to be recognized as artists in their own right2.