Hip-hop is defined as a culture and form of ground breaking music and self-expression. Along with the 4 original main elements of hip-hop (MCing, DJing, Graffiti and Breaking), hip-hop includes many genres and distinctions such as commercial, gangsta, conscious, grime and booty. For some hip-hop is much more than the art and entertainment, “Hip-hop is the constantly evolving spirit and consciousness of urban youth that keeps recreating itself in a never-ending cycle”.
What once originated in African and African-American culture, hip-hop has evolved into a global phenomenon as it has spread across national, cultural, ethnic and linguistic boundaries. The globalisation of hip-hop not only highlights how quickly things can spread, but also how technological advances have created new circulation channels for music production.
According to April Henderson’s ‘Dancing Between Islands: Hip Hop and the Samoan Diaspora’, the Samoan involvement in street dance and music in California significantly impacted Samoan cultural production in other places where Samoans had settled such as New Zealand. For many hip-hop artists in New Zealand, the connections with America, particularly California, brought popping, locking, breaking and the music back home to them. These forms of California street dance were travelling quickly, as Samoans were popping and locking on the streets of California, their cousins back home began to mimic their moves and therefore learn the art.
Nowadays, rappers and hip-hop artists are portraying stereotypical and self-degrading images of themselves due to their song lyrics and music videos which highlight violence, sex, wealth, power and egos. It appears hip-hop has taken a step back from social, cultural and political messages which once helped voice opinions for those who felt they didn’t have a say.
The following video explores what the current hip-hop music scene has taught YouTube personality/comedian Jenna Marbles: