One of the most recognized hip-hop artists of all time is Tupac Shakur. Hip-hop has become a way for many musicians, singers, or regular people to get a point across. In most hip-hop songs they portray a story whether it relates to where they grew up, alcohol issues, drug usage, or violence. Many different cultures have become very talented hip-hop artists such as people from Cuba and Brazil. Hip-hop artists are becoming very influential because of their ability to openly produce a song that contains so many issues and the artist is able to bring these issues to light.
In the song “California Love” by Tupac Shakur, he sings about how all of these poor and struggling areas like Compton and Oakland have many issues such as drugs, prostitution and shoplifting. He compares these cities to arguably better and safer areas like Hollywood, Pasadena, and San Diego he says that people from these nicer areas are welcome to join the people from the rougher areas he does this to show that people are scared of these areas because of all the criminal acts committed in not ideal areas (Shakur). Tupac’s family has been very supportive in the Black Panther Party, which was a revolutionary movement by blacks to prevent police brutality in black communities. Tupac’s godmother Assata Shakur was a major force in the Black Panther Party and other organizations was convicted of first-degree murder and seven other felonies and was sent to prison. She eventually managed to escape from prison and was exiled to Cuba (Osumare, 280). Tupac used these issues that he faced in his life and implanted these views into his hip-hop songs. He has published some of the top albums in hip-hop history.
In hip-hop most songs provide a story about the local issues. In Brazil, “directly addressing local issues of crime, violence, continuing social inequalities, and negative portrayals of Afro- Brazilians (Osumare, 282).” Many hip-hop artists use their songs as a way to express their opinions about the government. These issues show why many of the best hip-hop artists live or grew up in generally considered bad areas such as Compton, Oakland, Favelas, Havana, and the Bronx and there are many more that produce very successful hip-hop artists. Also in these areas they are heavily populated by blacks and it is often seen that most hip-hop artists are black. Other ethnicities have issues with hip-hop because they are not generally from these places and have had these experiences.
I enjoy listening to hip-hop because I find these songs interesting and I try to understand all of the meaning behind them. But I will never truly understand unless I decide to live in one of these lower end areas. But hip-hop will be a style of music that will be played for a long time, because there are many stories that will be told by new artists.
Discussion Question 1: What would other ethnicities have to write a hip-hop song about?
Discussion Question 2: Can you think of a hip-hop song that relates to your experience at UC Davis?
Osumare, Halifu. Global Hip-Hop and the African Diapora. Ed. Harry J. Elam and Kennell Jackson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, n.d. Print.
Shakur, Tupac. “California Love.” Tupac. 1996. Web. 21 May 2013. <www.youtube.com>.