In this assignment, we will
investigate what is hip-hop and explore if hip-hop can be a form of post
modernism. We will also analyse historical and social origins of hip-hop and
discuss what is post modernism by providing a coherent understanding of postmodern
theories. We will also evaluate a form
of hip-hop and explain how it may influence society.
Post modernism was a response of
modernism, this is because modernism Is the utopian and idealistic idea of
individuals and society acceptance in process. It argued that certain
ideologies or facts are caused by religion or science and can be used to help
explain reality. Whereas postmodernism is more of an uncertainty or doubt
reason, it questions concepts that there are common predictabilities or facts. (Tate,2018)
however, postmodernism can be hard to describe, because it would be an offense
to the postmodernist principle that does not convince terms or facts which
occurs. In an article, it explains that postmodernists believe that the west
declares liberty and success but they are nothing more than empty promises,
also that they have not accomplished the needs of society. They explain that “truth” is comparative and
is driven by each individual for themselves.
Many Postmodernist do not try to justify what is “true or false”, this
is because they believe that there is no such thing as complete certainty. They
take a step back from the world and view themselves as being in fault, this is
because the individual’s idea of truth becomes vague from fault, therefore no
one has the right to describe what is real and insist that their idea of morals
is true or false. (AllAboutPhilosophy.org,2018)
Post-modernist claims that Post
Morden society is diverse to modern society, the difference is that
establishments which use situations to bring people together are less
influential now and with the increase of globalisation and technologies people
are more likely to have more freedom to create their own identify and culture.
For example, the increase of media such as the internet allows a huge number of
individuals to create and publish their own music, websites, videos to be
consumed by the public. In our society, we rely on the media a lot to inform us
on what is happening around the globe. In a post-modern society, the media
makes a “hyper reality”, this suggest that the media tend to be more real than
reality. Which makes It hard for us to differentiate image from realism. It
creates a flow of images and disturbs the balance of the future making it
uneven, meaning that there is no longer a reasonable set of common morals and
usually people tend to believe anything as the truth, this then causes our
Identity to be damaged, however we are able to change this by choosing
particular media and images to help express us as an individual.
(globalisation, modernity and
Historically hip-hop is recognised
as a statement of urban youth, where it continued across the district and
became a celebration but also used as a device during protest. (Stolworthy,2018)
In the 1980s and the 90s hip-hop because a well-known admiration of a cultural
movement, the musical style of the hip-hop is a rhythmic language and is a form
of influential arts. Hip-hop culture has become a huge influence on music,
dance, Art and fashion etc. (Stolworthy,2018)
Clive Campbell also known as DJ Kool Herc was a Jamaican immigrant who was 18
years old and he presented a vast sound of music to the inner part of the city.
Everything connected with hip-hop today all links back to him. He used
turntables and combined records of old popular hits to produce a composition of
music. Using two turntables he stretched the instrumental breaks, which allowed
individuals to dance longer, this then lead to breakdancing. MC (master of
ceremony) would then use lyrics or rhymes over the beat to keep the music from
Cindy Campbell (Herc sister) known
as “the mother of hip-hop” also played a part in the movement, this is because
she would organise parties which participated an influence to the movement,
this then lead her to be recognised and labelled as the first hip-hop promoter.
However now that we have a
general understanding of postmodernism and hip-hop, I would like to focus on
one element of hip-hop and that is rap. Rap is a very popular vocal skill it is
a different form of hip-hop because hip-hop is a subculture. In 1980s Rappers turn
out to be striking and moneymaking advocate of hip-hop, this is because it was
a form of expressive culture in the sense of certain individuals. But in the 21st
century many individuals accepted that rap is a significant pedestal of
hip-hop. Rap consisted of Jamaican and New York origins, also rap and the hip-hop
movement developed in African America but also in the Latino districts in 1970s.
In Africa long time ago,
villagers or storyteller would play music while they would tell stories about
their families, ancestors and events which they may have experienced. they
would play music by using instruments which were handmade, this is a form of
rap at its origin. The storyteller is an
important assent form of communication, because they would convey stories about
when many people from Africa were captured and force into slavery. Singing was
coping mechanism for many of those individuals who were experiencing enormous
amount of hurt and despair. When the slaves where in the fields working they
would frequently sing because it was the only sense of freedom they had. One person
would be the lead and sing out a particular line of a song and the rest would
reply back with the next line of the song. (mize,2018) This style is still used
in today society, for instance when you go to a concert the artist who is singing
would sing a section from their song and then would get the crowds to sing the
next section as a way of community and connecting with their fans.
Afrika Bambaataa was an important
influence in the movement of hip-hop and spoke about the four elements of
hip-hop, these are breakdancing, DJ, MC and graffiti. He was involved in an infamous
street gang called black spades. In an interview, he spoke about the hip-hop movement
and the transition from a gang to the Zulu nation. The Zulu nation is a music
organisation for the youth, it was created to help defend and promote Hip-hop
culture. The Zulu nation was not a gang but it allowed many involved in a gang
a sense of freedom away from the gang movement. The organisation celebrated peace,
love and unity and the good way of living. (Getz,2018)
He explained that there were many
types of music back in Bronx, but the gang movement of hip-hop was inspired4 by
the father of hip-hop Dj Kool Herc and many other individuals who played an influence
in the movement. He stated that people
should know that rap started in the continent of Africa. He also talks about a
fifth element in Hip-hop which he says is knowledge, this is being able to have
an understanding of culture. In relation
to post modernism this makes connections to the idea of identity and culture. For
example, certain people who were involved in a gang may believe that Hip-hop is
their saviour, this then becomes their idea of the truth because it is their
reality, but people who were in the gang will have a similar understanding and
views on moral compare to those who were not in the gang. It is like an
acceptance to society. In a way, it can be a good thing for polices and cops
because instead of worrying about gang crimes they will know that all members
will at the party rapping and dancing, celebrating the hip-hop culture. (Getz,2018)
the reporter mentioned one of his song called planet rock. He explains that
this song was about when there were not type of electro music in the black community,
and he wanted it to be a ‘new sound of a new funk’ and wanted to add the electro
sound to give it a new wave of electro movement. (djvlad,2018) In an article
also mentioned that Bambaataa had been reported by a fellow member from Zulu
nation allegation of sexual abuse. Ronald savage reported in 2016 that he was molested
on many occasions by Bambaataa in 1970s. many other allegations were made against
him for sexual abuse, but Bambaataa denied these accusations and claimed that
their purpose was to ruined his reputation in the hip-hop culture. (Getz,2018)
In today’s society, Hip-hop and
Rap has made a huge impact to the public, it is a powerful source in the world.
Behind every song there is a message being conveyed from the performers to the audience.
The message being conveyed can be either positive or negative. However, as an
artist is it important what type of story they want to convey, in today generation
most rap are about sexual desires, violence, gang and spiritual connections. Many
rappers have massive influence to the public and are idolised. For instance,
Tupac was an American rapper and actor, he was born on the 16th June
1971 and was murdered on the 13th September 1996. He has sold 75 million
albums which made him a top selling artist. (HipHopDX,2018) Many of Tupac songs
were about his life and the controversy which he is surrounded with. His song ‘me
against the world’ is a great example of postmodernism, “it’s called me against
the world. So that is my truth” (HipHopDX,2018) this is what he declared in
1995 when he was in prison. This song played more of a positive impact on many of
his fans, this is because he was talking about his idea of the truth about his
life and struggles, which many peoples can relate. “everybody thought I was
living so well and doing so good that I wanted to explain it. And it took a whole
album to get it out.” (Rolling Stone,2018) This suggest that there have been many
stereotypes and contradictions being made about Tupac and he feels that he is being
misunderstood so he made an album to tell the story about his ‘reality’, which caught
many attentions from his fans.
In an interview, he said “I don’t
want to be forgotten” many of this listener will remember who is, because of the
story he has told and the way he has portrayed it. He would be viewed as this young influential
individual, who has been disappointment by the world and society and is so eager
to express his vision of realism. Which makes the connection with a post-modern
society and media, “I’m not saying I’m going to rule the world or I’m going to
change the world. But I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change
the world.” (Rolling Stone,2018) he voices about how the media does not talk
about the issues that is happening within his community. Therefore, he feels
that it is abnormal that no one is talking about it, so he believes that it is
his duty to use the platform to talk about this issue. He states that it is
their job to spark someone that is watching them, he knows it would not change
the world instantly but it will change the way people think, so if he talks
about how dirty this world is then someone will clean it up and that’s his idea
of the truth. “every time I speak I want the truth to come out, every time I speak
I want them to shiver” (Rolling Stone,2018)
In conclusion, Hip-Hop can be a form of post-modern,
this is because we have not yet accomplished a utopian society. Hip-hop is a
cultural movement of freedom and understanding and post modernism is about the “truth”
which is driven from an individual. The media and Hip-Hop are both powerful
source in our generation today. They can both have good and bad influence. However
hip-hop expresses experiences and clarifies in specific cultural, historical and
social contexts. Personally, Hip-Hop is an amazing cultural movement which
bring community together, it tells a story for everyone to relate with which
makes it our truth and reality.
Academic.eb.com.ezproxy.mdx.ac.uk. (2018). Home | myUniHub.
online Available at:
Accessed 24 Dec. 2017.
AllAboutPhilosophy.org. (2018). Postmodernism. online
Available at: https://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/postmodernism.htm Accessed 19
djvlad (2018). Afrika Bambaataa on Going From Gangs to Being a
Hip-Hop Legend. image Available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfkPzUOpnWc Accessed 25 Dec. 2017.
Evans, N. (2018). Mix your own tracks on Google turntables as
Doodle marks 44 years of Hip Hop. online mirror. Available at:
Accessed 24 Dec. 2017.
Getz, D. (2018). Afrika Bambaataa & The Zulu Nation
Represent Socially Conscious Hip Hop On ‘The Get Down’. online Bustle.
Accessed 25 Dec. 2017.
globalisation, modernity and postmodernity. (2018). ebook Available
Accessed 22 Dec. 2017.
HipHopDX. (2018). 2Pac’s “Me Against The World:” A
Retrospective. online Available at:
Accessed 26 Dec. 2017.
Mize, c. (2018). History of Rap – The True Origins of Rap Music.
online ColeMizeStudios. Available at:
http://colemizestudios.com/how-did-rap-start/ Accessed 25 Dec. 2017.
Rolling Stone. (2018). 8 Ways Tupac Shakur Changed the World.
online Available at:
Accessed 26 Dec. 2017.
Stolworthy, J. (2018). A history of Hip-Hop as Google celebrates
44 years of the music movement. online The Independent. Available at:
Accessed 24 Dec. 2017.
Study.com. (2018). What Is Rap Music? – Definition, History
& Artists – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. online
Accessed 25 Dec. 2017.
Tate. (2018). Postmodernism – Art Term | Tate. online Available
at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/postmodernism Accessed 21 Dec.