Hip Hop, the alleged art form that includes rap, break dancing and drawing graffiti, is to the uninitiated, such as me, a cultural chasm as impossible to understand as it is to appreciate.
I will try. Remember. I’m a middle-aged white man who as a kid
watched Roy Rogers on TV. But I supported the Civil Rights Act. So, if we’re from different planets, try to understand at least before you call me a racist.
What are the pro and cons?
First of all, do you believe art is anything you say it is?
What if I recorded myself burping? Then sold that record to a fool who bought it, took it home and played it, hearing my burping. If enough fools buy it—–it’s art.
I could charge you $25.95 to listen to me belch.
Back to Hip Hop.
To break dance, you have to be limber, and thus young. That’s a pro. If a policewoman who weighs 250 pounds comes to hassle you, you can easily outrun her.
That’s a pro too.
According to a Hip Hop website, break dance began as a form of fighting among revolting slaves (I assume they mean the slaves were rebelling against something, and not revolting in their personal habits…as in yuk!). This makes perfect sense to me, though how you can fight someone while spinning on your head is a little hard to envision.
According to proponents, Hip Hop has helped to curb inner city gang violence. If that’s true, great. A pro (it may also encourage indolence and loitering on street corners).
A slogan on one of the Hip Hop websites proclaimed, “It ain’t where ya’ from, it’s where ya’ at.”
Hip Hop must then, I assume, promote incorrect usage and fracturing of the English language—and thus ignorance.
That’s a con.
Rapping—-most white Americans are familiar with. Now, I have to be honest here and politically incorrect. I hear rap and it reminds me of the ravings of a lunatic in an asylum.
I wouldn’t mind it except when I stop my car at a stoplight and the guy next to me has rap playing real loud on his car stereo. I start to fidget and get angry, usually mumbling something like “brainless” as the light turns green.
That’s a con—at least for me.
Deejaying, or “cuttin’” and “scratchin’” as it’s known in the hip lexicon, is toying with a recording so that it makes a strange sound. This, psychologically, seems to fulfill the desire some have that “if it’s new, or different, it’s good.” For example, I could eat a plate of beans, play a Mozart record in the background and record myself breaking wind over Mozart.
That would certainly be a different interpretation—a new twist.
The newness of Hip Hop is definitely a pro. But earlier use of the word “rebellion” is key. Hip Hop is a rebellion against the accepted norms of white culture by young unemployed people in poor urban areas hanging out on street corners—a pro or con depending on which side of the fence you’re on.
There is something particularly fascinating to me about American values, and Hip Hop fits right in. This is a country that worships money and success above all else. Yet, our emerging cultural icons come from the most (economically) disadvantaged areas.