Why is its music an “out” culture? Where does the “hip hop culture” come from and what does it mean? I’ll explain.
It’s difficult to write a post about rap culture without coming in on an ideological front first. So what I am going to do is speak frankly about what I consider to be the problems that a cultural/cultural appropriation has created for rap and rap music. These are not necessarily problems for rap (although it’s been problematic for rap since I started researching the subject) but problems with hip hop in its totality.
First let me acknowledge that I am not the first to write about this. I’ve written about white rapper appropriation and how rappers can use other cultures to get a boost in popularity. There has even been a book by one of my colleagues “The Case Against Masculine Music: How the Masculine Beat is Harming Hip Hop and Screwing Our Culture.” However, I was writing about cultural appropriation when you could not access mainstream hip hop. You could only listen to the underground, the underground, the underground. And you had to dig up a copy of Public Enemy’s “Hardcore” from a video store, or a CD from a compilation in a neighborhood record store (with copies marked “Hardcore” being of the highest quality and most affordable).
The problem is worse now with rap. Rap is not just a subculture, Hip Hop is now something you can only visit in subculture. You have to navigate through an increasingly fragmented and fractured industry (with even the biggest industry producing less and less of what everyone wants).
A few years ago, in order to be a “real” Hip Hop guy, you had to have an inside source. You had to have the money and the connections. You had to be willing to sacrifice your individuality (something the “authentic” rapper, a fan of the genre who has never actually heard the genre, has been given permission to do). As an outsider, what you have to be able to do is to make sure that when people do listen to the genre they’re not just listening to another genre that is being played, that they’re listening to something that they’re actually invested in.
This problem of cultural appropriation has caused the industry to collapse in many places and Hip Hop has been more or less wiped out. If you don’t know where I am getting this number, the number of hip hop shows has dropped from nearly 600 to less than 300 since 2004 when Eminem’s first album
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