Masculinity in Hip Hop

After my last post, I decided I would stick with the topic of women stepping forward as leaders. This time, however, I would write about the women who were prominent in the domain of hip hop music. Our Contemporary American Poetry class, taught by the sassy librarian Mrs. Lewis, decided that we would examine these two topics because they tie in with each other on multiple levels. I thought that looking at them both through the eyes of women in history would be interesting. Once I researched the many women who played major roles in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Arts Movement, I decided the next step in thoroughly researching these topics would be to find a few women who were leaders in the hip hop world.

Music itself has always been influential on society as a whole. I mean look at the Elvis-hip-thrust... That movement caused more drama then anyone could have ever imagined! Anyway, music can influence the way people dress, talk, act, and even sets the tone for many cultures concerning socioeconomic status, race, gender, religious beliefs, and even sexuality. So of course hip hop, one of the most popular genres of music would have a major impact on many people.

However, as the hip hop world took on this power to change how people think and behave they also took on a great responsibility. The topics, thoughts, and images that hip hop artists would convey to the public, whether they liked it or not, would serve as a message for various diverse groups of people.

Now... For a little bit of background on hip hop! Hip hop music began as an urban underground movement in the 1970s. Popular in the South Bronx area of New York City, "encompassing graffiti art, break dancing, rap music, and fashion, hip-hop became the dominant cultural movement of the African American and Hispanic communities in the 1980s. Tagging, rapping, and break dancing were all artistic variations on the male competition and one-upmanship of street gangs," according to American Decades by Vincent Tompkins.

Although hip hop has often received a bad rap for harboring criminals and gang members, at first it had done the exact opposite. Often times, gang members would diverge from their respective gangs into the underground hip hop movement as members of street-dance crews, graffiti artists, and rap musicians.

Hip hop quickly became more mainstream as it was more commonly featured in movies, music videos, radio play, and media coverage. Soon after, the movement flourished through its many investors who made hip hop an "avenue to success for black and Hispanic ghetto youth."

However, I was deeply saddened that when researching the hip hop movement, I found very few prominent females! It has been a widely discussed topic that hip hop was dominated by men. In fact, hip hop music has had major influence on gender roles within many communities especially the African- American and Latino communities. My question is, why do women have to do everything 100 times better than men to get some recognition! I mean come on! You google hip hop and you'll get millions of articles, and about two of them talk about women [I mean women doing something other than being treated or talked about like a piece of meat, or being depicted half naked with money being throw at them (like so)].

So, I personally think that there had to be some insanely influential females that I'm just missing out on. Keep reading for my next post.. I'll definitely be able to find some female flavor for this topic so that my research doesn't come to a stand-still!

Sources :

"Hip-Hop Culture." American Decades. Ed. Vincent Tompkins. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale, 2001. 10 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Wyoming Seminary. 21 Feb. 2010 .

"hip-hop." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 22 Feb. 2010 .

Phillips, Brittinee. "Gender Roles in Hip Hop Music." Daily 49er 20 Apr 2009: n. pag. Web. 21 Feb 2010. .

Sood, Suemedha. "Beyond Beats and Rhymes: Masculinity in Hip Hop." WireTap Magazine 01 Mar 2005: n. pag. Web. 21 Feb 2010. .

Watrous, Lucinda. "Music and Its Impact on American Society." Associated Content 19 Apr 2007: n. pag. Web. 21 Feb 2010. .


Mr. Collier said...

I am impressed with the astute observations in this article. The topic encourages more thought and provokes conversations--the whole purpose of a blog post!

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