Hip Hop And Feminism Essay

4386 words - 18 pages

INTRODUCTIONMusic is a powerful tool in human minds; it is an integral part of our lives. From music, individuals gain information about society, social and gender roles, and expected behaviours. Whichever music you chose to listen to is a part of your personal identity. In music lyrics it is the words that give a song meaning.It is the purpose of this research paper to examine the expression of sexuality and portrayal of women in song lyrics from hip hop artists. As stated on Wikipedia, "hip hop music is a music genre typically consisting of a vocal style called rap which is accompanied with backing beats." I will examine the societal structures behind hip hop music as well as examine some ...view middle of the document...

As well, over the years the content evolved and hip hop diversified.It is often said that hip hop music reflects the life on the street in the inner city; it is basically a storytelling of the black urban experience (Rose, 2008). On the other hand, putting all profanity aside, I believe there is an aspiration from hip hop. As the author Tricia Rose stated in her book, "I was fascinated by its challenges to musical rules, its ability to use the powerful tradition of black oration and storytelling to render stylistically compelling music dealing with the pleasures and pains lived by those with the least (p. ix)." It is a great way for singers to express themselves as lyrics are often based on the realities of growing up in poor neighborhoods.HIP HOP'S CRITICSHip hop music is a male dominated culture and for the most part they are black males. Although there are many issues that need to be tackled concerning hip hop, it is a subject that needs to be dealt with delicacy as there are racialized issues that accompany it. Hip hop lyrics typically employ inner city slang; however over the years lyrics have been filled with profanity. There has been much criticism that hip hop lyrics are too violent, sexual, and derogatory towards women. Although we must keep in mind that not all hip hop music is sexual or derogatory, there are many artists who are creating music that is appealing to society as a whole.The content of hip hop lyrics is homogeneous, many include subjects such as; jail, drugs, sex, money, crimes, cops, power, pimps, bitches and hoes, etc. No matter what type of music genre, sexuality has been part of culture throughout the whole of human culture. "Gangstas, hustlers, street crimes, and vernacular sexual insults (e.g., calling black women 'hoes') were part of hip hop's storytelling long before the record industry really got the hang of promoting rap music" (Rose, 2008, p.2). Although sexuality has been in existence for a long time, each culture infuses music with different levels of sexuality; hip hop deals with sexuality in a very assertive and self confident approach. However, one could say that there is a large market for sexist music as only within a sexist society could such a market exists (Rose, 2008). We are all products of our society and I believe the heart of the problem lies in the overall society. We, ourselves, are providing the fuel for the functioning of our society. As a result, one must wonder, what does this say about our society if one of the largest listening audiences listens to hip hop music? The majority of hip hop consumers are suburban whites, "the rise in rap/hip hop was driven primarily by the sale of images and stories of black ghetto life to white youth (Rose, 2008, p.4)." Therefore we cannot say that sexism is exclusive to dark skin colour.Sexuality in hip hop music emerged in the early 2000s and it is one of the highly visible criticisms (Rose, 2008). Having sexist music within a society does have a negative...

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