Hip Hop- America’s Culture Outlook.

Imani Lige-Crenshaw, Chief Editor

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Hip Hop, a movement, a culture, a way of life. From the Concrete Jungle of the Bronx to the Palm tree-lined streets of Compton, hip hop has ingrained itself in almost every part of American today. From the Fashion, TV, to the Social Media industries. This musical Tyrant itself is even projected to take politics, education, and corporate America by storm in 2020 according to Forbes contributor, Ogden Payne. Though what is its contribution to these ever so dominate parts of everyday America.

To know how we got here we’ve gotta go back. Hip Hop knows it’s great, GrandMaster Flash with his classic needle drops that landed in ever street party for years after, to RUN D.M.C and their popularity on MTV. All these famous names found common ground in a new sound all their own and just added some flavor. With the emerging careers of Queen Latifah who was a key player in changing the rap game for females to classic N.W.A. with raw and controversial music that hit America in the stomach, we were giving new sub-genres to the ever-expanding music group. “There have been years of Hip Hop that have been catalytic, expressing frustrations in the culture around racism for example,…” Tricia Rose, a statement from the article The Role of Hip Hop in Culture in Thought Economics. She is right. The song “F*ck the Police” by N.W.A was a huge head turning for America and a look into police brutality that was going on in the early ’90s. Not only did the music effect our world views but influenced them in the fashion department as well. At first, many of the brands you know today, such as Fendi and Gucci snubbed rappers, many of the same European brands then used hip hop artist as a way to sell products by the late ‘90s early ‘00s. This all leads up to the last 2 decades of music we have now and what many of us can remember.

From the Coasts of America to the Dirty South, Hip Hop was now centered in the South East part of America with artists popping up here and there across the map. With the shift came new developments. Misogyny. = Money. As kids, we were dropping and popping it on the lunchroom floor before we had anything to pop, lock or drop. If you listened to Hip Hop Songs from the mid-1990’s it was littered with sexism, though at the time it was not uncommon and the music was mostly underground. By 2006 we had club bangers on the radio saying, “Shorty get low, low, low, low. Applebottom jean, Boots with fur, the whole club was looking at her.” As little girls, we listened and we danced to that. Then came the song, Super Bass in 2008. A song all about your butt. Sexism is a keystone in Hip hop and unlike homophobia that went away, it is still here, AKA Thotiana. Though as in XXL Mag, writer Kathy Iandoli, states, “#MeToo movement growing its wings,…… women had enough of being othered and that inevitably affected hip-hop. It was time to be recognized, evolve and, for some, re-enter the battleground to reclaim a seat at the table.” No matter what you have to say about the blatant disrespect in rap to women, even by mainstream women artist themselves, these last few years has been great to them in not only the fashion industry but social media as well. Early in 2018 at the Met Gala, the epitome of the higher Echelon of Fashion, had two female rappers come to a head. Of course- Nicki Minaj and Cardi B. The story was taken to twitter and the hashtags rolled out. This is probably the best example of how rap in ingrained in America. The Met Gala, since 1948 has been a center for higher fashion, Rap stars Nicki and Cardi dressed in their best, making headlines not only on the Social Media outlets, but even on National news. They were the top story. This is how hip hop has become America, for better or worst.

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