The American Dream
There are many different functions of the American Dream. However, the American Dream embraces a sight of respective prosperity, personal safety, and personal liberty. The American dream is a continually fluctuating set of ideals, reflecting the ideas of an era represented in popular culture. Popular culture can be defined as a shared set Of practices and beliefs that have attained global acceptance. Popular culture can be characterized by: being associated with commercial products; developing from local to national to global acceptance; allowing consumers to have widespread access and are constantly changing and evolving.Hip hop is a musical genre which developed alongside hip hop culture, and is commonly based on concepts of looping, rapping, freestyle’s, Digging, scratching, sampling and beating.
The music is used to express concerns of political, social, and personal issues. Hip hop started as a blend of late ass’s jazz poetry, the influx of Caribbean migrants and their musical influences and the sass’s and ass’s political and gang cultures of inner city New York. Hip hop’s local roots can be traced back to the mid seventies when it started as gatherings of youth getting together for what they called ‘bloc parties’.Hip hop initially unified many of New Work’s minorities and created inter racial harmony, on a small scale and only for a short time. Borrowed from New Work’s gang culture’s was spray painting. Hip Hop turned gang tags into aerosol art, and thus another facet of Hip hop culture was born. Hip hop’s rise to global acceptance was extremely quick.
It went from local “bloc parties” in the late seventies, to national recognition in the early ass’s with independent artists and labels recording hip hop for the first time.Finally in the mid eighties when Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five went global tit The Message and Run DMS and Aerostatic went number one around the world with Walk This Way, hip hop had become global and mainstream. Through its rise from local, national, to global hip hop showed continued evolution. Initially hip hop involved the sampling of old jazz and funk beats mixed with percussion breaks. Music was spun by Do’s and due to the unsophisticated equipment there was no smooth transition from song to song. Initially the role of the MAC was to entertain the audience during the short breaks when the DC was changing records.This eventually lead the Mac’s to Start joking and interacting with the audience, that lead to short autobiographical raps, and lastly to what we know today as rap music.
Throughout hip hop’s rise to global acceptance, products and trends have followed hip hop’s evolutionary journey. From the back to front and inside out attire of Chris Cross, to the oversized brightly colored pants of MAC Hammer, hip hop has truly become commercialese and associated with consumer products. Like other forms of popular music, hip hop has the usual associated products, such as Cad’s, DVD’s, concerts and concert shirts etc.Where it does differ from other forms of popular music is the clothing lines, shoes, play taxation games (50 Cent Get Rich or Die Trying), associated with the products. Companies have been able to exploit hip hop like no other form of popular music thus far. The range of associated products, endorsements and sponsorships are unmatched, and the attitude of many of the artists seems to exacerbate this relationship to capital. Hip hop crossed a huge obstacle in 2006 when hip hop artists won an Oscar for best song, “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” (Hustle & Flow).
Hip hop’s purists have been faced with a problem due to the contemporary format that hip hop has taken. Many feel that artist have ‘sold out’. Selling out though raises the previous argument about artist’s relationship to capital. Is it the fault of the artist or are they just a reflection Of modern day society? Money hungry, sexist and individualist, the total opposite of where hip hop was when it originated, collectivist, grassroots and pouring out of the ass’s & ass’s civil rights culture. Hip hop and popular culture are both constantly changing and evolving. Hip hop’s early years from the late ass’s-1 986.This stage is categorized with block parties, live music, and unsophisticated rhymes/raps, “A hip hop a hipping to the hop, a hipping to the hop and you just don’t stop”.
Lyrics such as these dominated the scene, until grandmaster flash’s highly controversial song, “The Message. ” “… Broken glass everywhere People pissing’ on the stairs, you know they just don’t care can’t take the smell, can’t take the noise Got no money to move out, I guess I got no choice Rats in the front room, roaches in the back Junkies in the ally with a baseball bat tried to get away but couldn’t get far ‘Cue a man with a tow truck repossessed my car.Don’t push me ‘cue IM close to the edge ‘m trying not lose my head Uh huh ha ha ha It’s like a jungle sometimes It makes me wonder how keep from going’ under. The next era of hip hop is known as the golden age (1986-93).
This period is marked by highly political lyrics from New York, and saw the emergence of against’ rap from the west coast. Taking up the message of the message, New York artists such as KIRKS-One dominated the scene, with highly rhythmic and political lyrics.He caused controversy when he used a famous image of Malcolm-X standing behind a window with a gun. The image was changed to him standing beside the window and instead of holding an M-1 assault rifle; he had a Mack-I O automatic; commonly used in drive by shootings and by gang members. From very early on artists, including KIRKS-One, have been concerned by the associated image of hip hop as rap, and the centralization of it. “Rap is something you do; hip hop is something you live. The difference is kids nowadays, they got the videos.
Rappers don’t need skills to build so they don’t really know (KIRKS One Hip Hop vs. Rap Sound of the Policies”) Also prominent was Public Enemy. The highly confrontational group again dominated, picking up the social issues prominent in the African American ghetto communities. Public Enemy caused controversy with Flavor Flat wearing a clock around his neck, symbolizing that now is the time. The era also saw the emergence of against rap. The sound was made mainstream when west coast rap crew NNW (Enigma’s Wit Attitude) released their debut album, Straight Out Compton in 1988.The next era just simply called The Modern Era (93-present), saw the West coast rappers and the West Coast scene dominate, sparking rivalry between the east and west coast.
This rivalry peaked with the controversy surrounding the deaths of Tuba and Biggie Smalls. The era also saw new sounds from the south, and north of America, but more importantly saw the emergence of hip hop artists around the world, rather than just exported American artists. Access is similar to most other pop cultures. What must be mentioned here though is the ethnocentric view of what makes up most pop culture.Access revolves around technology, and money. Therefore very few can truly be pop culture, because just how attainable or accessible are popular culture’s to the third world? Unfortunately global really refers to the first world. Hip hop and its consumption was initially a contentious issue.
Initially for artists to succeed they had to conform to a “commercial” sound. During the ass’s African Americans lobbied MAT for air time. An hour a week was dedicated to the new fad of hip hop. In order to be heard artists needed a sound that would accommodate a predominately white and black middle class audience.This paved the way for the non-confrontational, party sounds of hip hop. Lyrics had little substance, and like so many other popular genres of music, had manufactured images and sounds. But with the advent of new tech analogies, and emerging alternate labels, hip hop fought back, and the media and powers that be were unable to stop the ambush of hip hop’s political and against rap movements.
This leads to the next point, and is probably more relevant to today’s music more so than ever: just who controls hip hop/ popular music?Throughout hip hop’s emergence and evolution, there was a clear line even within commercial/ successful acts Of those with a political nature, and those with just an old school party sound. Within contemporary hip hop, what has been removed on a commercial level has been the success of artists/ acts with that social and political message. Who shot baggy smalls if we don’t get them they goanna get us all I’m down for running on them (blurred) in they city hall We ride for hall all ma adages stay real Don’t thank these record deals going feed your seeds and pay your bills Because they not Masc. get a little bit of love and think they hotTalking bout how much money they got All hall records sound the same Im sick of that fake thug r&b rap scenario all day on the radio Same scenes in the video, maintains material Hall don’t hear me too These record labels slang our tapes like dope You could be next in line to sign and still be writing rhymes and broke You’d rather have a Lexus or justice A dream or some substance A beamer or necklace or freedom Inning like me don’t playa hate I just stay awake Its real hip hop, and it don’t stop till we get the pop pop off the block (Dead Perez “Let’s get Free”) These lyrics demonstrate the struggle between the artists to have individual redeem yet the reality of the struggle between company and recording artists. The Dead Perez are highly critical of commercial hip hop and its tried methods. Dead Perez are a very well respected crew, but because of the highly political and confrontational nature of their music remain “behind the curtain”. They are the perfect example of control by big corporations and the media.
They have been shut out of popular music because of their highly critical stance on popular music. A perfect case study for control of Hip hop music and Hero’s and Villains and Mythology is to examine the career of Tuba. Tuba’s short career saw him covered in controversy, yet he still remains as popular today, ten years after his death.In the eyes of youth Tuba is more than a rap star, he is a thug, he is a musician, he is a social commentator, a poet, and he is relevant. Love him or hate him, Tuba brought the confrontational political nature of Hip Hop back into the mainstream. American authorities attempted to ban Tuba’s first t-van. Or albums, as his mother’s Panther legacy came shining through his song lyrics.
Tuba talked about confronting police harassment and bullying, drugs and crime, ND of course social issues relevant to not just disenfranchised African Americans, but many of the world’s poor and disenfranchised. Songs like “Bread’s got a baby” talked of the struggles of a teenage mother, and her having to come to grips with the reality Of her situation.The song is based on events reported in a newspaper in America, “… Brenda didn’t know what to throw away and what to keep; she wrapped the baby up and threw it in the trash heap..
. ” But his social comments rises extend to songs about police harassment, drugs, violence and life in the poorest of America’s black neighborhoods. Keep hay Head Up” is a song dedicated to African American women, and the hardships they face due to sexism and racism, but the list goes on “White Mans World” is another song Tuba writes for his black sisters critiquing the system, every woman in America especially black, bear with me can’t you see that we under attack… But it also contains autobiographical recollections of his childhood, Mama why they keep on calling me Niger, keep my hate up, and I wait up, pay me back when I’m bigger..
. ” In many respects, Tuba attempts to “get them back,” but by attacking the system, no doubt again, due to his Black Panther heritage. No other Hip Hop artist has had Dan Quail, the former Vice President of the United States try to have their music banned, or to suggest a senate inquiry should be undertaken. It did fail, but it saw two senators: white, Christian, conservative and Republican and a black liberal Democrat and female leading the charge in the media to have Tuba’s music banned.Also Tuba’s music Was burnt and pulled from shelves in more conservative parts Of the country, demonstrating his hero and villain status. This shows how the perception of popular culture is interlinked with the status of hip hop artists as both hero’s ND/ or villains. It also demonstrates the extent to which institutional power can still influence our perception, access and control of popular culture.
Finally Tuba can also be used to investigate mythology. The nature of his career and his early death are perfect examples of how mythology is created around certain popular cultures. The best example of mythology is the east coast, west coast rivalries, or the rap wars.Tuba, born on the east coast but who later moved to California, was allegedly shot by artists from the New York scene. This created mythology, and competition between the east and west coast of America. A clear line was drawn and fans started to align themselves with either artists from the East or West Coast. This demonstrates the control the media can exercise over popular culture as the rivalry was only between Tuba and Baggy Smalls, but because of media hype, it became a rivalry between two major labels, and then two rival scenes for control of the US and world Hip Hop scene.
Hip Hop and its associated cultures have had huge impacts on society. What has become accepted on a global scale is African American culture.