Hip-hop has etched its own place in modern culture, both as a continuation from the past and as a new vehicle for social change and cultural momentum. The issues presented in hip-hop lyrics come under regular fire, both from those who understand its cultural significance and those that do not. Throughout this conflict, hip-hop continues to speak to a new generation of teens, awakening them to the social concerns of their generation.
Transition Into Hop-Hop
Review the transition of blues and jazz music into the modern hip-hop genre, focusing on the specific cultural references that highlighted the blues and jazz periods and how they relate to modern hip-hop cultural ideals. Through your research, ask yourself what blues and jazz musicians were trying to say about their culture, why they were disallowed from saying it in other ways and what was the significance to their culture at the time. Apply those same criteria to modern hip-hop and discuss what this transition may mean in regards to the changing cultural times.
Read through information presented by the harshest critics of the hip-hop genre, focusing on specific trends and universal objections. Once you have distilled the criticism down to a few specific subjects, look for evidence of these criticisms, evaluating the evidence you find to determine if the criticism is accurate, then question the severity of the criticism to determine if the problem that the critic identified is a serious concern.
Consider the increase in the number of female artists who add to the hip-hop genre, and focus your research on their cultural additions. Review the messages that they present in their music, in comparison to the message of male contributors. Use your research to determine if their contributions represent a change in the hip-hop genre, a reinvention of hip-hop or perhaps a new genre of hip-hop that will be lead by female artists making their own unique contributions.
Select some of the specific claims by hip-hop artists in their music and research the sociological evidence for or against these claims. Review selections of hip-hop music and look for specific, testable claims. As an example, you could test the claim that racial stereotyping leads to an increased number of minority arrests by reviewing minority arrest records from across the country and comparing these numbers to overall arrest records. Test these claims to determine if hip-hop is an effective sociological compass.
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