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Hip Hop: An American Culture

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Over the course of history music has been a center piece in every culture. Every genre of music can be linked to a specific culture or demographic group. Within that link one can look at music beyond the sound of it. Music can be seen as an emotion, an inspiration, and a tool for communication.

Within the last 50 years music has become a great unifier of diverse populations ( This is evident in the songs that are written by music artist and groups. Their songs express various societal problems that audiences are living with or can relate with. Music has also become a tool for communication to the masses of a certain demographics. This is extremely evident in the music genre hip-hop.

Since the emergence of hip-hop in 1979, when the Sugar Hill Gang produced the enormously successful song entitled Rapper's Delight (, hip-hop has become a dominant culture force in politics, and marketing by corporations. Recently, hip-hop has become the playing field used by corporations to sell their products and services through hip-hop artist. Hip-hop has also recently become the arena for political issues to be addressed. Considering these two factors one must analyze the outcome of having politics and marketing involved in the hip-hop culture. This analysis should determine whether or not the involvement of marketing and politics is good for hip-hops audience, which contains mostly young teenagers and adults. The effects of hip-hop being used in politics and marketing plays an important part in shaping the minds of these young teenagers and adults. This is because they're involved in hip-hop on a daily basis. It is a culture that young teenagers and adults have come to adopt. A culture that shapes and molds their life in areas such as: their language, clothing, personality, and ideology.

Some of the most important aspects that contribute to a culture are the products and services that are used amongst the members of the culture. In hip-hop culture the products that are associated with it are being mentioned in the songs of the hip-hop artist. This has been a normal routine of rhyming about the products or service artist use, ever since hip-hop groups from the 80's like Run-D.M.C. in their song entitled "My Adidas"


me and my Adidas do the illest things

we like to stomp out pimps with diamond rings

we slay all suckers who perpetrate

and lay down law from state to state

we travel on gravel, dirt road or street

I wear my Adidas when I rock the beat

on stage front page every show I go

it's Adidas on my feet high top or low

My Adidas..

My Adidas...

To artist of today like Nelly in his song entitled "Air Force Ones"


I said give me two pair

(cause) I need two pair

So I can get to stompin in my air force ones

(Big boys) stompin in my air force ones


I like the all white high top strap with the gum bottom

(Big boy) there's somthin bout dem that's dirty why I got em

(Big boy) I leave um strapped and laced and come up out um

(Big boy) the last person that touched um I been shot um, (big boy)

Hip-hop artist have been known to flaunt about what shoes are on their feet, what car they are driving in, and what alcoholic beverage they're getting "tipsy" off of. One of the most widely know songs that portrays alcohol is the chorus in Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin And Juice",

Rollin' down the street smokin' endo sippin' on gin n juice

Laid back--with my mind on my money and my money on my mind

While early hip-hop artist rapped about products and services but were against becoming an icon for companies' products and services, the artist of today are doing the exact opposite. Before only athletes were getting endorsements and shoe contracts, now hip-hop artist have joined athletes in endorsement deals. This is because companies have seen how the younger generation has responded to hip-hop and how they've begun to purchase the products and services of hip-hop. Through doing this, hip-hop has become the new marketing tool for various corporations to attract a younger consumer base to purchase their products and services. Just recently hip-hop artist are receiving shoe contracts, clothing lines, and various other endorsements from industries that were against the hip-hop genre, and culture. Artist like 50 cent (Curtis Jackson) and Jay-Z (Sean Carter) have landed big deals with shoe companies, theirs being Reebok. In 50 cents song entitled "Stunt 101" he mentions his shoe deal with Reebok,

As long as the VS bling, look at that light show

In the hood they say Fifty man your sneaker look white yo

Just can't believe Reebok did a deal with a psycho

Somehow hip-hop has survived even the craziest commercialism, but hip-hop is the ultimate capitalist tool (George 155-156). The emergence of hip-hop as a marketing tool is far from being a burden on hip-hop culture. Through using hip-hop, products and services offered by companies have become appealing to younger viewers. The only way for the companies to attract younger consumers is to associate their product or service with what the younger consumers can identify with, that being hip-hop and its artists. While some companies may shy away from being associated with a culture often marked by misogyny and violence, it is undeniable that hip-hop wields immeasurable power and influence in business. Inspirational in some respects and now synonymous with youth culture in many corners of the world, hip-hop has long been credited with -- or criticized for -- having an impact on everything from clothing to cars ( From flipping through pages in a magazine to channels on the television, if a hip-hop fan sees his/her favorite



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