A Study into the appeal of Hip Hop culture, focusing on Ali G

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A Study into the appeal of Hip Hop culture, focusing on Ali G

From the time of Elvis Presley and his pelvic thrusts being found offensive and un-Christian, to today's icons of hip hop culture, the most outrageous part of youth culture is what young people enjoy or find most appealing, which is normally material that is very rebellious or subversive.

For today's youth, icons such British comedian Ali G are seen as appealing as well as offensive mainly by the older generation for their portrayal of hip-hop culture, which is defined as:

'A popular culture movement originating in the USA in the 1980's, incorporating rap music, break dancing, and graffiti, and the wearing of characteristically baggy clothes'

Chambers Dictionary

In its main rap music and graffiti art are seen as offensive due to their unsociable aspects; graffiti art is mainly done in places where it is not welcome, and rap music has always been portrayed in a negative light. From the time of Public Enemy and NWA (Niggaz with attitude), who were the forefront and pioneers of gangster rap music, to recent rappers Xzibit, and Snoop Dogg. Gangster rap music (which is the main sub-genre of rap) represents violence as being an integral part of gangster life.

The following song lyrics reflect hip hop culture:

'The only reason you alive cos I aint said the word'- Represents the power rappers have, killing is represented as part of the gangster life.

(Snoop Dogg-Lay Low)-LYRICS(year 2001

Misogyny is also represented as a feature of the gangster life.

'I never go to clubs, I never chase a bitch'- Bitch a term used casually for females, with negative animal connotations.

(Snoop Dogg-Lay Low)-LYRICS (year 2001)

Rappers also promote the use of drug taking.

'Smoke weed every day'-The use of drugs is represented as an acceptable, and sociable thing to do.

(Dr.Dre-The next episode)-LYRICS (year-2000)

The common use of expletives only adds to the ideology that the gangster life is one of being socially unacceptable, for example commonly used expletives include,

'I'm a down town nigger so fuck all you niggers'

(Snoop Dogg- Back up off me)-Lyrics 2001

The term nigger even though they are black could be seen as racist. Though mainly from outsiders or people who do not understand the hip hop culture, because with a twist of irony it is the derogative term given to black people by white western society, black people have taken this term and in the majority use it the sense of stating someone who is a friend.

'U're my nigga dowg, and Eazy im still wid u'

(Dr.Dre-Forget about dre)-Lyrics 2001

Thought it is still true the term can be used in a derogatory term to describe black people, the same way white people used it to decribe black people.

'Nigga u'ze a penguin lookin' mutherfucker'

(Dr.Dre-The Chronic)-Lyrics 1992

Ideologically the representations made of the gangster life are as true as can be perceived, but rappers produce an image of themselves in the mould required to sell the records, it is true that some rappers do live the life of the music they produce. Evidence can be seen in the drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur, and soon later the killing of rival rapper 'Biggie Smalls' after there verbal assault on each other which included Tupac claiming to have had sex with his wife, and also threatening his life in a song.
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"You claim to be a player but I fucked your wife"

"We gonna kill all you mutherfuckers"

(Tupac-Hit em up)-Lyrics 1995

Yet in the same field you have rap stars such as 'P Diddy' who has recently changed his image to a much softer one, and does not proclaim his relationship to the gangster life. However he was portraying a completely false image as he was brought up as a rich middle class boy, who started his career in hip hop as a music producer for 'Biggie Smalls'

Rappers do this to give them ...

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