Introduction to Hip-Hop: A Social Gift and Burden

Internationally recognized for its undeniable influence on society, Hip-Hop, established a medium in which the people had the power. For 2 days straight, NWA’s “Fuck tha Police” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” streamed through the radios of Yugoslavians who were fighting to oppose an internal disagreement with their government. This was an odd occurrence, considering the fact that Yugoslavia and the streets of LA and NYC are worlds away, geographically and culturally. And yet, these were the songs that galvanized the people of Yugoslavia. Many minorities had found a place where they were represented, and they yearned to be a part of this musical and cultural movement. Most people wouldn’t think of music, particularly Hip-Hop, as a trusted source for quotidian information; DJ Kool Herc, accredited as one of the pioneers of Hip-Hop, even famously remarked: “Rap is the CNN for black people”.  “Modern day griots” address general audiences and unify people under an umbrella of both raunchy and vital urban street poetry. Although repeatedly criticized for its excessive use of profanity, violent and vivid content, and tenacious grip on adolescent minds, Hip-Hop has managed to transcend its intended listeners and influence many aspects of American life, which resulted in both repugnant and appreciative reactions.