To understand the impact of rap music in cultivating an urban black identity and possible being adopted by non-back groups you must understand Hip Hop. It is imperative to realize that to Hip-hop is not just about music. It is a special era of culture where fashion, art, music and language. Hip-hop became deeply emerged with images that became consistent, abundant and universal. Hip-hop is inadvertent, yet an echo of united facts in societies abroad, the estates of England and the inner cities of New York and the impoverished areas in Ghana and the towers of Shanghai. This is a manner of expression, an insurgence, communicated via the conversion of fundamentals of cultures. Rap music has help mold urban black identity positively and negatively. This identity is often times respected and adopted by non-blacks who are exposed to rap.
Hip hop is more than rap music. It is a subculture and art movement developed in the Bronx in New York City during the late 1970s. More specifically, Hip hop is characterized by nine fundamentals. Four of these fundamentals, are deemed essential to comprehend hip hop musically. The main elements of hip hop consist of four main foundations. Afrika Bambaataa of the hip hop collective Zulu Nation outlined the pillars of hip hop culture, coining the terms: "rapping" (also called MC or Microphone Commander), a rhythmic vocal rhyming style (orality); DJing (and turntablism), which is making music with record players and DJ mixers (aural/sound and music creation); b-boying/b-girling/breakdancing (movement/dance); and graffiti art. Additional fundamentals of Hip Hop subculture and arts movements outside the main four are: hip hop culture and historical data of the movement (intellectual/philosophical); beatboxing, a percussive vocal style; street entrepreneurship; hip hop language; and hip hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth fundamental is commonly deemed street knowledge, hip hop fashion, or beatboxing.
As per rap music facilitating a black urban identity it has most definitely been a substantial influence. In recent centuries, negative imaging surrounding rap music has been in the forefront of the media in the United States. More specifically the controversy surrounding the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that resulted in the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G placed rap music in a highly visible negative spectrum. Apparently, political and media groups are eager to place culpability on rap for an apparent trend in youth violence. Nonetheless, critics are anxious to identify the violent lyrics of some rappers while ignoring the underlying message in rap. Rap, like other types of music, cannot be understood fully until the foundations are studied exploring its historical and social context. Today's rap music reflects its origin in the hip-hop culture of young, urban, working-class African-Americans, its roots in the African oral tradition, its purpose as the voice of an otherwise underrepresented group, and, as its popularity has grown, its commercialization and appropriation by the music industry.
Rap music subjected urban blacks to very violent images. Rap music seems to be extremely violent when compared to other forms of music such as country-western or popular rock. The rationale behind this theory is that rap stems from a culture that has been indulged in the fight against political, social media, and television, for many rap artists, rapping about violence and gang related issues is a direct reflection of daily life in racially, low socioecomically stressed, impoverished inner-city ghettos and housing projects. Violence in rap is not an affective representative that threatens to damage America's youth; to the contrary, it is the voice of pre-existing issue from young people whose worldviews have been altered by exposure to severe economic inequalities divided largely along racial lines.
However critics state that rap music only portrays a realistic look at inner cities across America. The revolutionary approach to violence and criminal activity for which rap is frequently criticized is defended by some artists as the comprehensible result of the noted inequalities that face African-American communities. These disparities are the same inequalities from which rap originated and remains vested. America's most recent census reported that African-American youth are the most likely group in the nation to live in poor households and neighborhoods, to be unemployed, to ,be the victims of homicide or AIDS, or to spend time in prison at some point in their lifetimes. For many impoverished, inner-city youth, the gun, which has had a central role in the lyrics of many gangsta rappers, represents a way to empower oneself and gain respect within continuing cycles of racial and economic prejudice.
Non blacks It is well known that there are an overwhelming number of whites and other non-blacks that listen to Rap music, attend rap events, and wear clothing influenced by rap culture. More specifically the media and all other forms the press has come to view rap as the long-awaited resolution to strained race relations in the United States. The media represents that whites who listen to rap are less racist, and more liberal than other whites . This popular positive assessment of rap blatantly contrasts the negative view of rap that has governed American society since the early 1990s. Society is more apt to demonstrate the Rap commonly linked to violence, drug use, misogyny, disregards for the law, and prejudice towards whites.
Nonwhites are concretely influenced by rap music in relation to its influence on urban blacks. Due to the overwhelming number of whites and other non-blacks that listen to rap music, frequent rap events, and wear clothing influenced by rap culture, the media and popular press has come to view rap as the long-awaited solution to race relations in the United States. The media bills whites who listen to rap as less racist, and more liberal than other whites (). This recent positive view of rap starkly contrasts the negative view of rap that has dominated American society since the early 1990s. Rap is more commonly linked to violence, drug use, misogyny, disregard for the law, and prejudice towards whites. There is pragmatic research that offers support for the existence of a positive relationship between Whites' and rap music.
Although rap music is an art form dominated by blacks and black culture, rap is very popular among whites. Rap artist Common (1999) is quoted as saying, [at my concerts] all I see are coffee shop chicks and white dudes, alluding to the large number of whites found at rap concerts. Beyond frequenting concerts a number of sources recognize whites as the largest consumers of rap (). Notably, whites are responsible for 70% of rap record sales. Also, whites are the owners of major rap magazines such as The Source and XXL, which are major vehicles of rap culture (). Whites' interest in rap is questionable however, being that rap is predominantly generated by and more likely associated with blacks. Whites' interest in rap produces the inquiry of what role rap plays in the attitudes and behaviors of white consumers.
Rap is fundamentally believed to play a derogatory role in society. In the early 1990s rap's abusive, violent and anti-government rhetoric resulted in the introduction of the parental advisory sticker (). Studies later revealed support for parents concerns by finding that exposure to rap with violent themes can negatively impact its listeners. Results from several studies demonstrate that whites exposed to violent rap are more likely to become angry, view women negatively utilize drugs, perform poorly in school , and negatively categorize and discriminate against blacks (). To the contrary, rap has also been associated with positive aspects in its nonblack listeners. Many believe that hip-hop a united force that could bring America back together. It suggests that that rap may be a remedy for racial tensions. Similarly, it has been noted that hip hop has interwoven the lives of white teenagers and young adults with black awareness. This suggest that rap music could very well be the catalyst for heightened interracial interactions and among whites. There is a substantial link between rap and whites' racial attitudes.
Ideologies on attitudes and behaviors connected with positive subgroup attitudes indicate that there may be some substance to the media's claims about the relationship is between rap and whites' racial attitudes. More specifically, whites may be made more aware of racial disparities that encumber blacks through rap lyrics, which may lead them to relate to blacks more effectively. Empathy has been shown to alleviate prejudice by nonwhites who listen to rap music.() This may also explain interpretations by the media that white rap listeners seem less racist, have involvement in more interracial interactions, and present themselves to be liberal. Studies suggest that there is some merit to this claim. Studies have found support for a nexus between the exposure to rap and liberal attitudes and behaviors. Additionally it is noted that white and black students exposed to rap that focused on racial disparities (), were more likely to vote for liberal candidates. This indicates that rap may impact persons' ideological worldviews and political behaviors. Moreover, whites that are exposed to violent rap music in having more black friends and were more critical of race relations in the United States of America.
These bodies of studies lends support to the theory that rap may prompt empathy in whites, making them to be less likely to be prejudiced and embrace more liberal political orientations.
There is a grave impact of racial attitudes on perceptions of and affect towards rap music. Although the aforementioned research refers to the impact of rap on racial attitudes, other research denotes that musical diversity can serve as a symbol of social boundaries between groups (). Being that rap music almost solely refers to the experiences of poor urban blacks, for liberals and less biased persons, adopting positive views of rap may symbolize a tolerance of blacks or diversity in general. Whites that are tolerant and more open minded may also listen to and/or view rap positively. The rational for this is because it offers a more realistic view of our society, in that rap educates the populous about the black community. As a result whites' positive attitudes may be indicated by expressing positive attitudes towards rap, even in persons that are not exposed to rap, for the simple that they feel that what they say about rap is symbolic of their general attitudes towards blacks and other groups.
Pragmatic research offers some indication for theories that suggest that a relationship between rap and racial attitudes have been established. Whites who value black humor and storytelling view rap positively, supporting the mindset that tolerance of diversity is correlated to positive perceptions of rap. To acquiesce studies have demonstrated that parents who were willing to allow their children to go to racially integrated schools liked rap more () and that persons that indicating being less racist and identified themselves as liberal Democrats tended to like black music such as rap, reggae and gospel.
Research indicates that white college students that were racially tolerant, tended to enjoy rap more, were less likely to believe that rap is detrimental to American society. Conversely, they believe that rap is an imperative source of information about the black community than less racially tolerant blacks. In addition, it was also noted that whites that embraced more Democratic/liberal views tended to believe that rap is informative about the black community. Similar studies suggest that more racially tolerant and liberal whites tend to appreciate rap more readily.
There are apparent discrepancies in whites' racial attitudes and perceptions of rap. For instance, racially intolerant whites believe that rap is not at all informative about the black community, but are just as likely to agree as to disagree with the perception that rap is destructive to American society.
It is noted that a relationship between whites' racial attitudes and rap does in fact exists. Further, to whether whites embrace and/or listen to rap, their discernments of rap appear to also be indicative of their racial attitudes. As a result, It appears that both observations of and affect towards liking rap disseminating information about whites' group boundaries and general perceptions of blacks.
The reviewed studies have proven a direct connection association between rap music and racial and political attitudes and behaviors. This gives an added credibility to the argument that white rap music listeners tend to be more racially tolerant and politically liberal than non-listeners.
It is important that continued research is needed in this area. Research suggest that rap may impact society in a number of ways. For example, the impact of rap music on whites' racial attitudes may have a future impact on their support for race-based policies such as Affirmative Action. As these young white rap listeners become older and become more politically vocal they maybe more influentially in supporting issues more supportive of blacks. Additionally, to the along with a more liberal political view, rap helps to foster interracial relationships, cross-racial social networks resulting from rap may extend to employment networks, increasing employment opportunities for blacks and other non-whites. However, because much of the experimental inquiries on racial attitudes and rap music have been cross-sectional, it is possible that over time the relationship between whites' opinions of rap music and racial attitudes may transform . It is reasonable that as the average young adult white rap consumer matures, begins a family, and begins their career, the relationship between their opinions of rap music and their perceptions of blacks and espousal of liberal values may grow weaker. Additionally, aside from the aforementioned research, other studies on relationships between racial attitudes and rap have problems in forming a connection. Specifically , it is not empirically known if rap leads to more racially tolerant attitudes or if more racially tolerant whites tend to listen to rap music. It is deemed that if more white liberal and racially tolerant persons are more likely to listen to rap music, rap may not lead to the transformation in values that media experts have claimed, but rather, may only serve as an indicator of the type of persons that listen to and appreciate rap.
Clearly more research is needed to explore the relationship between the influence of rap music regarding urban black identity and the role it plays in non-whites adapting to those identities. Moreover, non-whites racial attitudes and perceptions of rap music and exposure to rap music weigh heavily on society. Obtaining a more complete portrait of this connection among whites is particularly important given that they are the largest consumer of rap music and that white public opinion has a large impact on policy developments and the framing of potentially divisive racial issues (). In order to get a more complete understanding of the relationship between rap music and white listeners' attitudes and behaviors, future studies must longitudinally investigate the relationship between rap and whites' social and racial attitudes so to determine how these relationships fare over time. Additionally, future studies must develop more sophisticated constructs of racial attitudes, stereotypical beliefs, policy that is explicitly racial by implication (e.g., Affirmative Action),and policy that is implicitly race-related (e.g., social welfare policies). Only then will it be clear if being a white fan of rap means accept[in] the criticism of the American system (see Ledbetter, 1992).
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