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The Beginning

A lot of people around the world are very familiar with hip-hop/rap. Even citizens of the most underdeveloped parts of the world have heard about hip-hop/rap and they consider themselves fans of hip-hop/rap. Hip-hop/rap has travelled a long journey from its early days to contemporary society.

Hip-hop has experienced lots of changes along the way ranging from serious to benign. Compared to its early days, Hip-hop/Rap can now boast of a vast amount of audience that stretch for miles outside the United States, where it was born. The genre has also gained more respect over the years than in its beginnings especially among common folk. Not that everyone now admires the genre, I am saying its becoming more acceptable. Also, there is a growing number of participants in the music - underground, mainstream, or for fun (freestyle). Hip-hop has always been a fashion statement and now it is its own industry that commands millions of dollars annually, thus creating jobs/careers for many through the production of the music, video directors, talent hunt, etc. In addition, hip-hop has experienced collaborations with other genres, especially rock and country. Hip-hop has introduced a new form of language to the world. Considering these changes and much more, Hip-hop can be thought of as a planet within the universe of music. Specifically, hip-hop has conceived a whole new culture of arts, language, and much more.

As exciting as these changes sound, I find one aspect of hip-hop really interesting. And I think it is a reoccurring issue within this “planet.� Image! Image! Image! Image! The way hip-hop views itself today compared to the earlier days can be judged by the types of songs that were created back in the days and the types of songs that we are hearing today. These songs directly and/or indirectly represent hip-hop’s mission statement. Mission statement referring to the core of hip-hop, the reason it was created. Why did the creators of hip-hop/rap feel the need to create this genre? Did they view it as a means of income? Vehicle of expression? Just for fun? A sense of community or belongingness? A form of fighting back societal injustice? Whatever the reason (s), the question is what has happened to the mission statement that introduced the genre about 30 years ago? Has it changed? Has it being tweaked to fit purposes? Is it effortlessly evolving into something else? Has it been ignored and replaced? What exactly is it? This is not an exhaustive list, as there are more debatable questions. And there isn’t one answer to all these questions. And it is not this blog’s mission to explore that realm.

As a matter of fact, this blog will be more fun! This blog will first focus on the early, early days of Hip-hop examining the first hip-hop songs to be produced. Then focus will shift towards contemporary hip-hop/rap and the types of songs being produced today. Basically, this blog will journey through hip-hop’s timeline from the beginning to now using one or two songs from every five years and discuss it. These songs will give us an idea of what hip-hop’s goal(s) were and how those goals have changed (if at all).

Music videos will also be discussed because they carry images that have opened doors of criticism to hip-hop. Sexual, gender, and ethnical representations are made by these music videos.

Comments

Good job. I think you raise some very interesting questions about the state of Hip Hop. Are the ideas of the early days incommensurate with the contemporary? It's a hard question to answer, but any well thought out attempt to do so will compelling results. What I think most significant thing you point out, though, is that hip hop has become a global phenomenon, one that has to rationalize the relationship of MIA to Lil Wayne. Looking forward to reading more. 4.75/5

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