Hip-Hop:Express through music

‘Global Hip-Hop and the African Diaspora’ is mainly about hip-hop and its meaning as ‘connection between African and African diaspora’ from a social perspective.

Hip-hop is a part of black American culture which can be combined with respective issues and characteristics. This means that hip-hop can be developed and repositioned by the African diasporas based on their own environment and that it critiques social issues or problems.

Eminem’s case can be an example of hip-hop’s traits, based on social criticism and  expression of suppressed feelings of African-Americans. Eminem is a famous American rapper. However he has had a difficulty in surviving in the hip-hop field because of these traits of hip-hop.  Criticisms can be brought up by African and African Diasporas with a regard to the fact that Caucasians cannot understand and experience their problems based on the fact that ‘marginalization’ of African and African Diaspora is the source of hip-hop to some degree.

In addition, there is another example of a hip-hop group, named ‘Public Enemy’ in ‘political’ and ‘conscious’ rap era. This group’s music is notable for quoting speeches of leaders in the African-American civil rights movements such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. They speak for African-Americans by making music that contains social criticism such as ‘ Fight the power’ and ‘Revolutionary generation’.

The most interesting thing in this text was that the author used the word ‘glocal’(Osumare,266). ‘Glocal’ means  the relationship between local and global. I thought that the use of this term was really brilliant. The author explains a general definition of ‘glocal’ and applies this term to the hip-hop culture by analogy. The author compares ‘local’ to ‘hip-hop, the African Diaspora in different local communities’ and  ’global’ to the shared value.

Then, the text is focused on the concept of ‘collective Marginalities’(Osumare,268). The author gives this concept by asking question, that how people of other nations and different language areas other than the United States can interpret and reinvent African-American and Latino hip-hop culture. In this point, the political and social function of hip-hop is mentioned and it can be interpreted that these are resulted from a common thing, ‘marginality’. There are four connective marginalities which bind the hip-hop generation:  culture,class,historical oppression and youth. To explain this, author add a diagram, which shows the connection between these factors and hip-hop culture.

The author used several examples of the African Diasporas, corresponding to these connective marginalities. The author focuses on ‘African Diasporas’ by using quotation.‘People can be divided into at least five distinct African-influenced cultures’(Osumare,272).After that, two kinds of hip-hop culture in different diasporas are enumerated, giving several examples of their respective backgrounds or circumstances and artists: Cuban Hip-hop, Brazilian Hip-Hop.

I think it has important meanings with a regard to adaptation for indigenous purpose. African and African diasporas, who are sharing common roots and values, promote their hip-hop culture based on their circumstances and political issues. It is different from the typical perspective of american hip-hop music. Hip-hop would be considered as the product of materialism and commodification from the typical viewpoint. However, hip-hop is a genre, which is linked closely with socio-historical problems.

To me, thoughtful perspective toward hip-hop culture was really impressive because I thought that hip-hop is just an genre of american popular music. In my opinion, hip-hop is a genre that is the medium of music which expresses social consciousness and critical sprit. Also, hip-hop has infinitive possibilities that various things can be integrated and combined.

Works Cited


Osumare, Halifu. Global Hip-Hop and the African Diapora. Ed. Harry J. Elam and   Kennell Jackson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, n.d. Print.


Discussion question

-Do you know any kinds of hip-hop culture, commingling with other countries’ issues ?

-Would it have been possible for hip-hop being exited as global culture, if there were no connective Marginalities of the hip-hop culture?


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2 Responses to Hip-Hop:Express through music

  1. hollywen says:

    I am very interested in the rapper and the hip-hop band you mentioned in your article. I think they are good examples to help us understand hip-hop culture better. In China we do not have much rappers sing for social, political, religious or historical issues. It never occurred to me that songs can be a reflection of politics until I first listened to a song from Black eyed peas. I was quite impressed and shocked by a song named the song is “Where is the love”. It put fierce and straight criticism towards the terrorism and war in the world. It is not only for one certain nation but criticize the whole world war and terrorism. It calls on peace and love among people and is an explicit reflection on the world situation that terrorism is frightening and people feel insecure. And it got a hit when it was released because people felt the resonance.
    I think in the beginning of hip-hop culture, connective marginalities were very important for it to spread and gain popularity. Because it were the connective marginalities that aroused people’s resonances and attracted people’s attention. As hip-hop culture develops, the extent of connective marginalities may expand as well. It may be used as a tool to reflect social-historical problem by majority people, not only by some certain ethnics.

  2. ljdoherty says:

    I feel that your second discussion question is almost redundant. Hip-Hop (or at least good Hip-Hop) is primarily oriented around the lyrics. A catchy rhythm or melody in the background will always help but there have been some hit tracks which have incredibly basic instrumental elements in the background and all their success comes only from the lyrics. The only way therefore for Hip-Hop (or again, at least good hip-hop) to be appreciated globally is if the lyrics are applicable to many different cultures all around the world; connective marginalities. If only the style of beat or melody become popular globally, it no longer can be considered real hip-hop. In order to be real hip-hop, lyrics need to be paramount. Therefore I say no, hip-hop could not become a global phenomenon without the connective marginalities.

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