How Hip-Hop Culture has Promoted Social Revolution in the Last Two Decades
The hip-hop generation is alternatively referred to as the post-civil rights generation. The culture is identified with unique values and cultural perspectives, and it holds generational mentalities that are firmly embedded into the basic cultural movement of hip-hop. Rap music is the most significant artistic triumph of the present generation since the popularity of this genre transcends racial, economic, and geographic boundaries (Shealey, 2010). There is a consensus that Jamaican-born Kool DJ Herc pioneered Hip-hop music in South Bronx New York in 1973. At the same time, Rap, which denotes rhymes spoken over hip-hop music, started as a commentary by the DJs playing records at hip-hop events and developed by MCs while they introduced the artist. Over time, the genre evolved to its current form.
Rap’s potential for political advocacy stems from the function of its predecessors, African-American rhyming games as a method of rebellion to the system of subjugation and slavery. Hip-hop music stems from a culture that has been fighting against political, social, and economic oppression. Therefore, it appears to be excessively violent when compared to other genres (Blanchard, n.d). Hip-hop is fundamentally an underground genre that has grown to be a universal medium of social and political oppression for the young generation and people who are marginalised across the globe. In the midst of the Arab Spring, A group of young rappers is utilising this medium to disseminate revolutionary ideas. Most of the regions that young people have interacted with the revolution using hop hip music are Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and Libya among others. This genre has given to this revolutionary generation is a widely accessible and unfiltered medium for disseminating revolutionary ideas (Ulysses, 2011).
Since its inception, hip-hop has progressed to a certain extent to govern culture, and its influence continues to inflate through market expansion and an ever-increasing consumer base across the world. This paper will explore the social impacts of the hip-hop culture across the globe. It will interrogate how the genre has become arguably the voice of an entire generation of young people from the nineties onward. This paper seeks to answer the following research questions.
The materials to be used in this research paper as the primary sources of evidence are peer-reviewed articles on the subject matter. More research will be done by reviewing the music records and famous rappers who have been identified to produce revolutionary records. The study will dig through the critics and music reviews to understand to what extent the genre is appreciated and valued by the current generation. The primary source of data correction will be via quantitative and qualitative analysis of the available and relevant sources on the web and library materials.
Despite debates over the ability of hip-hop to influence society, the fact remains that the hip-hop nation developed in the nineties, retains profound cultural significance and represents the widespread sentiment of traditionally marginalised and oppressed communities and it is a vehicle for social commentary and awareness (Odenthal, 2016). This paper will concentrate on the influence of the music genre in the past two decades. The central part of the world that interests this research is the Arab world in which the genre has been known to spread revolution in recent years commonly known as the Arab Spring (Mangialardi, 2013). The significance of this research is to reveal how the hip-hop scene in this region is a strange phenomenon for both traditionalists opposing western influence and westerners who believe that the region is held in reins of tradition (Uqba, 2017). This paper aims to fill critical gaps in previous literature about the intersection of music, youth culture and social revolution in the rapidly transforming modern culture. It will explore Arab rappers creativity in engaging with their audience mainly in North Africa, and the way they adapt modernity, authenticity, and identity in the process of instilling revolutionary ideas.
According to Anbaran (2016), culture is a complicated and broad subject affecting every individual in modern time. It has a very influential role in the lives of since the beginning and the formation of communities. To live under the shelter of peace in the modern world, it is significant to understand one’s culture and that of the communities one communicates with. Accordingly, Williams (1989a p. 91) argued that the word “culture meant both ä way of life” and the forms of signification (television, films, and novels) that circulates within a society. He further argued that the challenge of understanding a culture is to understand how the two meanings coexist. In a society saturated with mass-circulated texts, any clear separation between the two meanings becomes impossible.
Unlike in the 1960s, humans are more engaged than ever before in a sharing culture. Music has virtually always been presented in the society as a means to express oneself, as a way to promote change, and as a means to prohibit detrimental attitudes that would inhibit social injustice (Dyer, 2015). One of the most significant developments in youth culture during the last 20 years has been rap music and hip-hop culture, especially among American youths. This phenomenon is particularly prominent with the members of a community of oppressed people. In these communities, hip-hop music is an instrument through which its members speak of their shared social, political, and economic challenges. This culture is a highly accessible, quickly incorporative form that disseminates information through different media (Kelley, 2006).
Johnson, (2014) argues that hip-hop is a worldview that addresses power structures among marginalised people and their cultural identity. The resistive benefits of rap music are not limited to its African-American pioneers, but it is spread across diverse races, nationalities, and classes. It acts as a cultural and political voice of an entire generation of youths. In fact, it is a significant means of political actions for its artist and fans. In addition to its resistive role, the culture includes political deliberation and direct use to increase political awareness and to organise collaborative action (Stapleton, 1998). From New York to Paris, Tokyo to Sydney, hip-hop culture is a diaspora transcending linguistic, ethnic, and geographic boundaries. The culture has become a phenomenon and has affected nearly every country and the commonalities identified by the culture among members of hip-hop diaspora are its core essence of hip-hop being shared by marginalised groups. It is malleable and adapted to speak to members of multiple national cultures and localised socioeconomic and political conditions (Motley and Henderson, 2008).
In 2011, Arab hip-hop, much like the Arab world itself, did not witness any fundamental changes to the structures. The Arab uprising strengthened the social and political consciousness of the hip-hop culture and gave it new energy, vitality, and interconnectedness. In fact, in Libya and Tunisia, it could be accounted for sparking a ‘revolution’ (Ulysses, 2012). Elham (2017) conducted a study that examined hip-hop culture among Muslim youths in Indonesia, Tunisia and Muslim migrants in the United States.
The research found that various Islamic practices and ideologies in different places reflected in the hip-hop produce in those contexts. For the Indonesia hip-hop cultures, their Islamic values and practices are performed as a cultural identity than a political statement. On the other hand, Tunisia rap production is more politically driven towards demanding an Islamic state. Other works of literature suggest that by contrast, the Muslim migrant rappers are often faced with an ongoing conflict with Muslim and non-Muslim Africa-American rappers. The study further argues that hip-hop and resistance vary among communities based on an oppositional act by the youths. Tunisian rappers resist against Islamophobia around the world, Islamism extremists, secular Muslim government and gender and sexual discrimination. The Indonesia rappers resist imposing of unified Muslim culture and politics that abandon ethnic and religious diversity in the country (Elham, 2017).
LeVine, (2015) examined the explosion of artistic production in the Arab world during the Arab spring and found that the main distinction between various forms of artistic expression is not centred on religion, ethics, or morality but rather the contentious issue of living in the revolutionary era. The most notable impact of hip-hop culture in social revolution is the El Général and Tunisian revolution. The rapper became a more powerful voice through his musical influences (O’Keefe, 2011).
Owing to the primary objective of research methodology, Chilisa (2012) argues that a scholar should implement the research methodology that aids to determine the facts via a scientific procedural application. Research methodology produces outcomes of any investigation, and it is imperative to handpick the suitable research methods to make the research project effective. In the view of the modern altered world, research on social sciences require more sophisticated methods of collecting, extracting, synthesising, and analysing data to predict social processes. Therefore, this research will use various means of gathering information through monitoring the internet such as websites and the twitter as a new method of understanding social interaction in regards to hip-hop culture (Gupta and Spitzberg, n.d). The monitoring of communications on the internet creates a deluge of data unlike in the past where researchers used to worry about sample size.
The primary study will be carried out on the internet using various methods such as collecting publicly available internet data from multiple sources. Among the most informative sources that will be used are the contents of the World Wide Web postings, social media, such as Facebook open pages, twitter, reviewing the materials of the music uploaded on YouTube and carefully examining the comments made in response. There is a huge variation among these sources of information.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
In quantitative methodology, the content analysis will be structured by country or the form of advocacy that is related to the hip-hop genres in that specific country (Zichermann, 2013). There will be a list of around five countries, from the Arab world, which are Tunisia, Egypt, Indonesia, Libya, and Mali. These countries have been selected due to the fact that they have been at the forefront of utilising hip-hop culture as a tool to drive revolutionary changes in through music. If a country has more than one form of advocacy such as Tunisia, a few artists will be examined to develop a general hypothesis. The research will mainly focus on the revolutionary artists who have been identified to be on the forefront of instilling revolutionary ideas to the young generation. The study will also utilise survey engines that are present on the internet to improve the sample size and gain more concrete statistical data.
This research will use qualitative data collection approach by picking at least five opinion leaders or critics who are conversant of the subject matter in the specific countries identified. The will be collected through an in-depth discussion through extrapolation and understanding each participant’s particular opinions and thoughts. These participants will be picked on a volunteer basis through communication on their respective social media accounts or web pages. They will be selected based on their opinions concerning hip-hop culture, their ethnic or religious backgrounds, and their affiliation to the hip-hop music industry. The research seeks to collect as much relevant data as possible to build an adequate picture of how hip-hop culture has promoted social revolution in the past two decades.
The following dissertation will follow the guidelines that govern how research on social sciences should be presented. The must-have chapters of this dissertation are an introduction, a literature review, justification of the data selected for analysis, research methodology, analysis of data, conclusion, and recommendations. The title page will clearly state what the dissertation is about and other relevant details, the abstract page will present a brief summary of the results of the research. Other preliminary pages will be such as acknowledgements, and content page.
A project can be defined as a one-off activity, which has limited and clearly defined resources. The point of project management is to ensure that these activities take place within those resources, human and financial and within the available time-scale (Leist and Rosemann, 2011). Research is so uncertain, and it needs to be done in a finite time and with an equally limited resource. Project management will help to clarify aims and objectives, define activities clearly, identify crucial milestones, ensure effective utilisation of resources, define priorities, and increase the probability of successful completion.
To complete the following research project outline, the precise process will be critical. The first step will include choosing the research area. This is defining the general area in which the research will be conducted. The initial processes of the project management are the proposal preparation, which will involve identification of funding sponsors, review and adherence to institutional policies, funding agreements and contracting support and identifying the ethics/regulatory requirements.
The project plan execution is the most tedious process that requires precision for its success. This area will include planning and refining project scope, the project schedule, and project budget. Additionally, this area will also include identification of project risks, planning and defining roles and responsibilities of the involved parties, and planning data management criteria.
The next step will be conducting the research and review progress. This area will involve monitoring project scope and deliverables, monitoring the project schedule, monitoring the budget, managing the roles and responsibilities, and managing the project risks. Other areas will be such as managing data requirements, administrative management, and amendments. The last position of the project management will involve final reporting and project closeout requirements.
The resources required during the research project timeline are people, equipment’s and material, and facilities. The key aspects that determine the success of a project are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling and closeout. Adequate management of these critical aspects results to the successful completion of the research project. Project management helps communicate the potential value this practice can add to a project and help one to keep control of the research project. The objectives of managing this research project will be to schedule the work more effectively, to identify the amount o time spent on each stage of the project, creation of intermediate goals/milestones, and having a clear oversight of progress as the project as a whole.
Anbaran, F., 2016. “A Whole Way of Life”: Ontology of Culture from Raymond Williams’s Perspective. International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, 67, pp.46-56.
Blanchard, B., n.d. The Social Significance of Rap & Hip-Hop Culture.[online] Available: <https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/socialsignificance.htm> [Accessed 4 December 2018].
Chilisa, B., 2012. Indigenous Research Methodologies. London: Sage Publishing.
Dyer, D., 2015. Music: The Path For Social Revolution. [online] Available at: <https://www.theodysseyonline.com/music-the-path-for-social-revolution> [Accessed 4 Dec 2018].
Elham, G., 2017. Rapping Islam: A Comparative Study of Hip Hop Culture in Indonesia, Tunisia and the United States. [online] riffith Research Online. Available: <https://research-repository.griffith.edu.au/bitstream/handle/10072/366343/Golpushnezhad_2017_01Thesis.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y> [Accessed 4 December 2018].
Gupta, D. and Spitzberg, B., n.d. Revolution in Social Science Methodology: Possibilities and Pitfalls. Revolution in Social Science Methodology, pp.1-34.
Johnson, E., 2014. My Culture, My Voice: The Impact of Youth Hip-Hop and Spoken Word on Adolescent Participants in Positive Youth Development Settings. Master of Social Work Clinical Research Papers.
Kelley, E., 2006. The Influence Of Hip-Hop Culture On The Communication Skills Of Students As Perceived By Teachers At Selected High Schools In Houston, Texas. Doctor Of Philosophy.
Leist, S., and Rosemann, M., 2011. Research process management. ACIS 2011 Proceedings. Paper 36.
LeVine, M., 2015. When Art Is the Weapon: Culture and Resistance Confronting Violence in the Post-Uprisings Arab World. International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 4(1), pp. 626-647.
Mangialardi, N., 2013. Egyptian Hip Hop and the January 25th Revolution. Master Thesis, pp.1-102.
Motley, C. and Henderson, G., 2008. The global hip-hop Diaspora: Understanding the culture. Journal of Business Research, 61(3), pp.243-253.
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Shealey, D., 2010. Representin’: The Rise of the Hip-Hop Generation. [onine] Available at: <https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/Shealey_uncg_0154M_10421.pdf> [Accessed 4 December 2018].
Stapleton, K., 1998. From the margins to mainstream: the political power of hip-hop. Media, culture and society, 20(2), 219-234.
Ulysses, 2011. Hip Hop Revolution. Open Democracy: Free Thinking for the World. [online] Available at: <https://www.opendemocracy.net/ulysses/hip-hop-revolution> [Accessed 4 December 2018]..
Ulysses, 2012. Hip hop and the Arab uprisings. Open Democracy, (https://www.opendemocracy.net/ulysses/hip-hop-and-arab-uprisings).
Uqba, S., 2017. Why Hip-Hop? Revolution hits the Arab Spring airwaves. [online] Available at: <https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2017/3/17/why-hip-hop-revolution-hits-the-arab-spring-airwaves> [Accessed 4 December 2018].
Williams , R., 1989a. Culture is Ordinary (1958). Resources of Hope: Cukture, Democracy, Socialism, pp.chapter 9 (91-100).
Zichermann, S., 2013. The Effects of Hip-Hop and Rap on Young Women in Academia. [online] Available at:< https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/36081/1/Zichermann_Sandra_C_201306_EDD_thesis.pdf > [Accessed 4 December 2018].
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