The Effects of Hip-Hop in Our Culture There are many differing opinions on whether or not Hip-Hop has a detrimental effect on our culture and youth today. The question I ask is whether it is life portraying art, or art portraying life? Anytime there is an increase in crime, and a decrease in the number of high school graduates there must be something left to blame. Although it may seem easy to say that the media has an effect on the way we see things around us, to what extent is that true? I grew up during the rise in Hip-Hop and believe that it does have both a positive and negative effect on my generation.
Early Hip-Hop was viewed as a way for young urban New Yorkers to freely express themselves. It was a new art form accessible to anyone. You didn’t need a lot of money or expensive resources to rap. You didn’t have to invest in lessons, it was a verbal skill that with enough practice anyone could perfect (www. daveyd. com/rapphist3). Another reason hip hop became popular is because there were no set rules. Anyone could rap about anything as long as you were original and rhymed to the beat (www. daveyd. com/rapphist4). Those facts still are true today.
If you went into an inner city public school you may be surprised at the number of young children who aspire to become rap artist. In the Black community music, dance, and art is at the forefront of our culture. Many of these traditions are due to our African Heritage, and will probably remain embedded in us for generations to come. Hip hop has created a lot opportunities for black businesses, and entrepreneurship. It has created wealth for Artists that were born in and lived much of their lives in financial hardship. They are given a record deal and many become rich almost instantly.
This may have an adverse effect on young impressionable adults. Fancy cars, Enormous jewels, expensive clothing, and the most beautiful women from around the world fill music videos and other media outlets that cover Hip-Hops culture. The lyrics in most songs today express the benefits of being rich, being famous, and having anything that you desire with no discretion or consequence. The agony in this is that everyone wants to me a Millionaire. Are we really afforded the opportunities that we hear about, see portrayed, and even sing along to?
For a lot of young adults the answer is yes. With little education, not a lot of money and a few good hooks they also can be a millionaire or wealthy. Hip-Hop not only sells records but also dreams. Young adults idolize Hip-Hop artists and believe that they should also have the things that they were able to obtain. Hip-Hop has also caused controversy about the way women are portrayed in videos and also within the lyrical content of its music. I personally believe that if a woman is in a video doing provocative things and dressed in an inappropriate manner that is her choice.
These women choose to put themselves in these situations. I also believe that certain language used to described women in many songs are offensive but we all have a right to freedom of speech. Reality is there are women who don’t respect themselves as society expects them to. More women today are open with their sexuality and may view what was once taboo as okay. Some women see it as a profession that they are being paid to do, what you see in a video is simply acting and not who they really are. Hip-Hop is an art and we sometimes loose sight of that.
Just as in movies, something’s are fiction, just a figure of imagination. The media overall has an influence in our society. Music, television, magazines, and newspapers, all play apart and how we perceive ourselves, others, and the world around us. The way an individual interprets things are solely based on their own opinions, views, and lifestyles. The Media feeds you information and everyone digests it differently. So, the question remains does life imitate art of does art imitate life? In Hip-Hop the answer is art imitates life.
The images that are seen and the lyrics that are heard are simply an artist painting a picture of the world around them. The picture isn’t always pretty or relatable but its life. It’s the issues that go unaddressed by our government, it’s the stories of poverty, it’s the pain that a lot of young adults feel, it’s the dreams of making it, and for some just a good beat to dance to. It is the responsibility of parents to censor what they allow their children to watch, read and listen to. Home is the first influence in our lives. We are a product of our environment and so is Hip-Hop.