Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop was created as an alternative identity formation and social status in a community by youths. The identities were forged in fashion, language, street names and establishing neighborhood crews or posses. Crews are a big part of the local identity because it’s what they consider family. The crew form bonds by providing insurance and support from each other. They also help to start new social movements. A lot of early hip-hop artists used advanced technology and cultures to make themselves famous. The style of hip-hop included rapping, break dancing and graffiti writing and drawing. As crews and posses formed hip-hop becomes a battle among themselves for prestige or status. Their street names were in relation to a person’s characteristics, expertise or claim to fame. DJ’s used technology to help identify them for e.g. Spinderella, Wiz, and Grand Master Flash. Artist use coolness, supremacy and Power for e.g. LL Cool J, Queen Latifah Ice-T some are mocking names: Too short, the fat Boys, Special ed. These identities helped artists to form social statuses and develop their own and new styles.

Jay –Z/ Shawn Carter is a well known rapper in the hip-hop community. Some may say he is the greatest rapper of this generation (I beg to differ, Team Eminem 100% all the way). Jay- Z rags to riches is story he himself has told over and over again. He is no longer seen as just a Hip-Hop artist but as a business man. Jay-z understood how powerful images in music videos can create status. Jay-Z’s self-performance of being in the projects rapping about hard life to being on yachts living the life of what people dream of is what people look up to.  Jay-Z musical lyrics consist of life in the projects class disparities and racism. He uses his videos to help tell his stories for example “99 Problems”. Jay-Z/ Shawn Carter is seen as the hip-hop artist who went from being a hustler to a business man.

It was and still is a challenge for female rappers to enter the Hip-hop mainstream. In the early years in order to be a rapper you were black, urban and male. As rap continues to evolve the rap game changed from lyrical content to race (Eminem) but one thing remained the same it was dominated by males. The female rappers were underdogs in the hip hop world very few made it into mainstream: Eve, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim and others. Lil Kim is the most successful female rapper of all time. She is known for breaking stereotypes about the duties of women. Her lyrics and style consisted of sexual content, the gangster lifestyle and coining the term “queen Bitch”. She made the word bitch in a positive characteristic than negative. She created personas that would attract attention Lil Kim “Queen B” the black girl and Lil Kim “Barbie” the white person (sound a little like Nicki Minaj, yea I know). How ever there are some female artists who used sexual content to empower women: Salt and Peppa, Missy Elliot, etc. There are different varieties of styles in women rappers but in the end they all lead up to say do what you have to do to survive.

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Posted by yendie   @   21 November 2010

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3 Comments

Comments
Nov 23, 2010

I think every artist not just rappers, create status and identity.
Most singers have to have the right image in order to be known in the music industry. That identity leads to a lot of cross-promotions (i.e. Clothing line, perfume, TV shows). If it all goes wrong it will be hard to comeback from audience backlash.

Dec 12, 2010

Lil Kim did have a big influence in hip-hop considering there are so few female rappers that have made in into the mainstream. And now Nicki Minaj has blown up and suddenly it’s a rivalry between the two female rappers. I think it’s sad that people have this idea that there’s only room for one female rapper in the whole industry. Hopefully this will open the door for more females to enter the industry and start changing the way women are portrayed in hip hop music and videos

Dec 12, 2010
#3 theblog :

I have to argue with you on the team eminem thing you wrote down. Jay-Z’s career has been way longer then em’s career so far and he is still relevant. I also like to think of hustlers as business men. If you ever meet a hustler they are always about their business. so I think the business aspect came very naturally to him. He is definately a role model and someone everyone coming into the rap industry should study.

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