This is a summary of what I have learned through my research and use of the Gale Literature Resource Center.
Beyond being simply a genre of music, hip hop has become a platform for African Americans to address social issues plaguing their community. The socioeconomic status of African Americans in the Bronx in the 1970s was what inspired several members of this community to find their own voice. Kamau Rashid Ph.D. suggests that “the collective effect of school closures, population displacement via gentrification, and mass incarceration” created a climate in inner cities that allowed hip hop to spread. Although this may have influenced the earliest hip hop artists, most commercially successful artists at this time had to appeal to a powerful capitalist industry and thus often avoided political themes. However, as drum-machines became more available to low-income populations more overt messages about racism could be heard throughout the Bronx. As hip hop has continued to develop it has offered a unique “glimpse into the heart of people whose misery has usually been shielded from broader mainstream view.” Although it has been subject to significant criticism, hip hop music without a doubt has influenced people and cultures across the globe.
Hip Hop’s origins by Seth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.