My Relationship to Hip-Hop


I was born in 1992, to a suburban white family. Suffice to say that my first exposure to hip-hop culture was not because of them. I have attended public school all of my life and like many others took the school bus. Back in the 90's, all of the cool kids sat in the back of the bus (at least in my corner of the world) and listened to hip-hop. That's my first recollection of the genre. I remember kids having little portable radios and Walkmans, and they would play hip-hop and jam out. For me, hearing hip-hop for the first time was interesting because all of the cool kids were listening to it but my family and parents didn't at all. I remember hearing my parents complaining about "that darn Rap Music" and how kids should not be listening to it. From the start it always felt a little bit rebellious and taboo, so naturally, I liked it. When I would hangout with friends I was all about the music, but when I was at home I pretended like I had never heard it before. As I've grown, I have gotten even more into hip-hop and am not in secret anymore. Although I am by no means an expert. My parents have even gotten into it a bit more as well! I think I would probably consider myself to be an outsider still because even though I do enjoy it, I was not raised on it and I don't really live the lifestyle. I think to hip-hop insiders, it is really more than just music. It's sort of a way of life.


I can relate to your background with hip hop. I am also from a white suburban family. In fact, my parents banned my brother and I from listening to hip hop since it has become so taboo in certain communities. Yet to me, hip hop poses no threat to the integrity of the listener, viewer etc.

I had a similar upbringing as you, where rarely anybody in my family was listening to hip-hop. You would think that having an older brother I would have been much more exposed to it but as far as I could tell he was not listening to that kind of music at the time. If anything it was my sisters mixed CD's that I would steal from her that gave me my biggest exposure to hip-hop. I went through the same experience of listening to it when I was with my friends and acting like I had never heard of the stuff when I was around my parents. Still to this day if I am riding in the car with my parents they would rather listen to things like Fleetwood Mac than the music on my iPod. I definitely agree that to many people hip-hop has a much deeper meaning than just being music to listen to.

It's interesting to note that, even though I grew up in Africa (i.e not white suburbia), I encountered nearly identical sentiments towards hip hop as the three of you; parents forbade their kids to listen to hip hop. I wonder if this speaks more to a universal parental tendency to shield children from harsh realities - as hip hop often broaches issues not discussed in other cultural depictions of daily life, or to a generational and cultural gap between us and our parents?

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This page contains a single entry by hern0188 published on September 10, 2012 8:35 PM.

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