How Hip-Hop Music has Influenced American Culture and Society

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Although there is much debate about which city the creation of hip-hop originates, there is no question that is was created in the state of New York. It all started out back in the 1970s as a way for African Americans to express themselves and to tell a story about their realities that they dealt with on a daily basis. This covered areas such as graffiti, break dancing, rhythm and poetry (RAP), deejaying, and emceeing. ( Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was one of the most iconic groups to come out in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their smash hit, The Message, was the first example of a portrayal of reality that hit the mainstream media for the entire country to hear. This song in particular would go on to change the entire hip-hop industry. The Message, portrayed poverty, crime, and violence that went on in the inner cities where African Americans populated. As hip-hop evolved and became more popular, it did not sit well with a number of politicians throughout the country. The lyrics were deemed “too vulgar” and “too violent,” (Kelley 41) as the rap artist who were rapping these songs were just trying to exercise their First Amendment.

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Hip-hop, much like athletes involved in professional sports, is just another example of how African Americans were able to break down racial barrier by using music instead of athletic ability. Hip-hop gave the African American people a voice big enough for the whole world to hear. Within songs like The Message, or Changes by 2pac, and Fight the Power by Public Enemy, they spoke for the minorities of their communities to illustrate to the world what was happening and how it was not okay for it to be happening. This would ultimately lead to the creation of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), the initial organization using hip-hop music as a framework for activism. (Simmons 118) It is easier to break down the racial barriers through sports and music because their is a greater audience on these platforms. In science or religion, although both are important topics, it does not grab the attention of the American people the same way hitting a home run, scoring a touchdown, or edgy lyrics does. 

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How Hip-Hop Music Has Influenced American Culture and Society. (2019, Jul 26). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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