EDITOR’S NOTE: Please welcome Ashley Nicole to the Culturocity family. Ashley is a 17 year-old college freshman at The University of Cincinnati (who graduated high school at age 16). She is also the niece of Culturocity Executive Editor Brian C. Scott. This is her first article as a contributing writer with Culturocity.com, but it certainly will not be the last. In addition to writing for Culturocity, Ashley will also be involved in our social media relations. Show your love. – BCS
Whenever I have conversations with my friends about hip hop whether it is its current state, or the genre, they were always referring to rap. We would talk about why rappers would always mention the same things by glorifying material wealth, their status in the industry, and what they would be doing with loose women. Since rap today varies so much with what was said in comparison to its earlier days, some would even go so far to say that hip-hop and rap are two totally different things. I believe that although rap and hip-hop may not necessarily be the same, hip-hop is a culture in which rap was born.
Hip hop has created not only fashion, politics, and art, it also created a style of music. And within that style of music, each genre had their own interpretations and approaches. There were MCs such as Run-D.M.C., who were against violence, and brought awareness of the troubling times in society through their raps, versus the Wu-Tang Clan who spoke about money, drugs, violence, and the measures they took in order to survive their surroundings. And although they both speak on their sexual encounters with women and materialistic objects, they obviously had different viewpoints they wanted to share.
Today’s rappers, I believe, are no different. Although I do feel that today’s popular rap has desensitized its current audience by leaving out the roots of hip-hop, they have decided to share the point of view of the more ‘glamorous’ side in order to widen hip-hop’s fan base. By rapping about the jewelry, clothes, cars and women they have obtained by selling drugs or knocking people upside their heads, it creates a sort of excitement or fantasy for the listeners who weren’t around that type of dangerous environment. It’s like they get to be a part of the lifestyle without reaping any of the consequences But then could you say that you could separate rap as a whole from hip-hop? No, because it doesn’t take away the fact that these elements of a ‘grandeur’ lifestyle that are being portrayed in popular rap music, all began from earlier rappers in hip-hop, even if they are only portraying one side. As W.E.B Du Bois stated, “All art is propaganda”, and it is true, all art is biased. Just as the earlier rappers of hip-hop such as Run-D.M.C and Wu-Tang Clan had their different platforms and what they stood for, that doesn’t make their style of music a different entity in itself; it’s just a different genre.
So why have people decided to exclude the sounds of rap today? Is it because it isn’t the same anymore? Or is it because to some, there’s no real substance? Just because someone believes popular rap may travel a bit from hip-hop’s morals, doesn’t make it irrelevant at all to the culture. Part of what made me love hip-hop is the fact that it has different textures and influences all mixing together. From the braggadocio rappers who just want to ‘turn up’, to the ones who rap on jazzy beats and whose main goal is to instill knowledge in their listeners and make them question what’s really real. It’s like a bowl of chicken noodle soup for me; you can’t just take the noodles out. It’s not right without it!