Hip-Hop Sub-Culture and the Black Eyed Peas

12 December 2017

A Journey to the End of Hate One song, that I think had a great effect on many sub-cultures all over the world, and was one of the first hip hop songs to have a really universal meaning is: “Where is the Love,” by The Black-Eyed Peas. In this song, they question everyone’s ideologies regarding prejudice, and outlet their feelings towards racism, war, intolerance, greed, United States politics, terrorism, media, and love.

Their hip hop sub-culture is seen in their clothing, and lyrics.However, they agreed to mainstream or sacrifice some of their original style In order to gain wider acceptance, which contrasts their main sausage. The reasons for this song’s success can be Identified through the band’s sub-cultures, its diverse member composition, their style, the time period the song reflects, and their highly relatable message. Popular culture is composed of numerous subcultures, which all have intertwined relationships and influences. To procreate, musically physically or mentally is the essence of what is right In the world.Haphazardly, one can Ingest this Information along with millions of other messages from the media Including song-lyrics. However, when one finds a song with a deeper meaning, or a symbolic reference, or even a introversion vibe, it tends to stick in one’s mind better, and result in massive amounts of sharing, because it is human nature to share one’s experiences with others.

This Is how popular culture, or hegemony is brought upon humans who have friends or own a computer.Hegemony, in my view, Is another word for ephemeral popularity that appears to be natural, but Is In fact pervasively Embedded Into our sub-consciousness by social Interactions. If there were only fly people on the earth, their hegemony would be quite static and unchanging. When you quantify this example into modern standards, the amount of people, interactions, and sub- ultras happening at least 1 million times per second is dizzying. The Black Eyed-Peas were sadly Influenced by hegemony, or the trend of mass coalescence or settling towards certain Ideologies due to social pressure.They admitted to changing their more hip hop and rap focused style with strange rhymes and silly lyrics to a more main-stream pop sound for their third album. Contrastingly, the main message of their song, “Where is the Love,” challenges people to oppose the dominant ideology that wealth is power, and that to belong is to blend in.

They are trying to lead us towards unity and peace, but how can they do this while being so hallow and Industry-driven?Nonetheless, their song had an overwhelming effect on those who were- and probably still are- blindly herded like sheep through their everyday routines and guided by ideological goals because they are so heavily influenced by the media, their sub-culture, and their expected or ‘natural’ values of their “habits”. Carl Wilson describes one’s, “habits,” as the unconscious influences that define a person. 4 Of course, after reading Dick Hebrides book “Subculture: the Meaning of Taste,” I now know that these values only appear to be natural, because become obsolete. The groups social dynamic is quite diverse.It consists of two African-American males, a Mexican-American and one extremely beautiful Caucasian female. This unlikely combination contrasts general racial stereotypes, and consequently widens their fan- base or appeal because more people can relate to more cultural back-grounds or ethnicities. It also sets the perfect precedence for portraying the love,’ between different races that they are so adamant about.

The addition of Justine Timberland’s vocals in the chorus and his own lyrics, add to the song’s aspiration for acceptance in popular culture, because Justine Timberline at that time was an extremely popular anger and celebrity.The defining characteristic of subculture is style. The Black-Eyed Peas are all clothed, in “popular” clothing, even though that involves baggy Jeans, sunglasses and tight tank tops. In older generations, their baggy or low-slung Jeans would symbolize incompetence, or clumsiness, but in today’s society this type of clothing symbolizes superiority over other clashing subcultures. It is also an act of barricade, as excessively baggy pants are not very practical to the consensus.Therefore, their “gangster” style is typical of most most hip-hop groups, because that is what defines their sub-culture. The Black-Eyed Peas addition of pop style makes their music more appealing through melodic, repeated and catchy choruses with the addition of Ferrier and Justine Timberline.

This contrasts the hip-hop subculture which stems from pure necessity. The so-called “fight” for hegemonic power, which, “requires the consent of the dominant is expressed in the hip hop subculture through the congregation of oppressed black and African-American minorities.They express their rebellion of society through their rap music, “gangster” style clothing, and street gangs. An example of some street gangs in North-Eastern America are, “the Bloods ND the Crisps and the ASK”. 3 Hip hop culture became a way of life, that allowed minorities in America to deal with hardships and express themselves while overcoming violence and gang culture. At the very core of subcultures, and styles and popular trends, there lies an under- current of dissimulation, and a struggle for power between these sub-cultures.The song “Where is the Love” pin-points these universal feelings and questions the root of these sub-cultural divisions by asking: where is the love? I am not saying that all sub-culture groups are formed out of hate or racism.

However, simply because they oppose the current ideological society, which Grammas defines as: a “moving equilibrium”l, they automatically create a social hierarchy, which indefinitely creates tension. Or is this a myth, as anything of the contrary seems unnatural, due to ideologies? Nevertheless, this tension is seen in many ways: racial, gender, nationalism, and inequality.These tensions are not always purposefully incited or invoked, but create a harsh reality in which we live. Examples of this harsh reality include war, bullying, consumerism, apathy and much more. The Black-eyed Peas cause many people experience these tensions due to shifting ideologies, due to the, “moving equilibrium,” and are comforted by this band’s attempt at promoting social peace and Justice. The historical event that influenced this song is September 1 lath 2001 : the bombing of the twin towers in New York.This influence is seen in the lyrics, and the feelings of distress expressed in rhymes.

The lyrics, “A war is going on but the reasons under cover, The truth is kept secret, it’s swept under the rug,” references the war on terrorism in Iraq. This is also a slight to the United States’ foreign policy. The Black- Eyed Peas add their own rendition of hegemony: “kids want act like what they see in the cinema, infecting their young minds faster than bacteria”. The word bacteria is another word for culture, in a biological sense.So in a way, the lyric actually expresses that media is infecting their minds faster than subcultures. Ironically, the popularity of this song parallels the ‘weight’ of the monstrous issues addressed in the song. This is due to the overwhelmingly sad time period in which the song was written in response to.

The next line, “If you never know truth then you never know eve,” is extremely true and relates the two main messages of their song: tell the truth, and you will know love, and decreasing lies will lead to more social understanding and productivity.This was an exceptionally popular message because it expressed many people’s feelings on terrorism, after they were so violently confronted with it on September ninth. The final characteristic that made this song so famous, is that it appealed to a range of social classes. The main form of communication, which is especially seen in their music video involves a very universal quotation signs: a question mark. The semiotics of signs and how they contribute to reality are very complex due to many different outlooks of these signs.However, depending on class, these signs tend to have similar meanings. Amazingly, the song appeals to many different classes, from high- classes, to the bourgeoisie, to the lower classes, because of its simple use of signs- question marks and hearts.

Even though Marxism defines hegemony as, “the ruling material force of society, [that] is at the same time its intellectual force,” this song breaks this definition in half, and then glues it back together again. The ruling material force of society is ridiculed for its stupidity of capitalism, in the lines, “only visions of them dividends… En thy brother,” and for being full of animosity. The lower classes of developed countries do not fully avoid these plagues, and are also therefore guilt-tripped and enlightened by this song. The hip hop origin tends to come from lower struggling classes, for reasons discussed earlier, yet it still manages to overpower all classes and subcultures.

On the other hand, the ruling material force, which can also be described as the now famous band has ultimately intellectually over-ruled the music industry through its dedication to being popular in order to earn more money.This phenomenon leads one to believe in Marxism, and question how one might break this unfortunate ‘law’. To understand the semiotics and trends of popular culture, one must follow the together. In a semiotic sense, this would mean to study its history, its influences, and its current ideologies. This is easier said than done, but can allow society to understand itself. The black-Eyed Peas have, “offered unity through dance”5 and offered the world a beautifully creative work of art, that can continue to reinforce its AOL of, “spreading the love,” through its very best friend, the media.

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