Hip-Hop is NOT Culture

shouts to BC dot C

I have been trying to wrap my head around this topic for several weeks now. Ever since I saw a subway advertisement for the VH-1 produced show ‘Hip-Hop Honors,’ I have been in a lousy mood. When I think about the history of VH-1 and MTV in relation to Hip-Hop, I get pissed the fuck off. I am old enough to remember the time when these cultural hustlers would not recognize Hip-Hop because the T.I.’s didn’t believe they could make money from it. They thought that because this art was originally produced and created by disenfranchised people, it would not translate to the suburbs and the exurbs of America.

Give RUSSELL SIMMONS and RICK RUBIN hell’a credit too. When the T.I.’s saw how many white were coming to see acts like KURTIS BLOW, T-LA ROCK, RUN-DMC and of course, the BEASTIE BOYS, they realized there was money to be made. Keep in mind that Hip-Hop’s prime demographic group is white males between the ages of 14 yrs old and 28yrs old (a/k/a the new teenage years).

I went to see 50CENT at the 70,000 seat Ford Field in Detroit and the only black folks that I saw were the ones tap-dancing on stage and the fools selling bootleg tee shirts outside the arena. Hip-Hop music is how white in America gets a chance to go on an ‘urban safari’. From the veritable safety of their iPOD.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stop calling Hip-Hop a culture. This demeans the achievements of actual cultures that have shaped everything from language to economics to politics. Hip-Hop has not transformed any of the aforementioned standards. Hip-Hop in America is marketed as an alternative to securing an education, so much so that the word ‘bling’ now appears in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Hip-Hop in America is marketed to promote consumerism without regard for fiscal austerity, so much so that people without a pot to piss in have a bottle of champagne in their refrigerator. Hip-Hop in America is marketed as an over-sized white tee shirt instead of the realization of socio-political responsibility, so much so that ‘VOTE or DIE!’ rolls off of my lips as easy as ‘JUST SAY NO!’

The actual culture is called capitalism. Hip-Hop is an artistic movement that is an outgrowth of the culture of capitalism, much the same way that 5000 years ago North African culture produced the pyramids. Though to tell you the truth, Hip-Hop isn’t nearly as great or everlasting as the pyramids of Giza. I don’t think any beings will look at the ‘Black’ album 1000 years from now and think that they missed some kind of cultural zenith.

I am not telling you not to enjoy watching a program that features performances from some of the artists that have crafted the soundtrack to our lives, just don’t get all longwinded and quasi-intellectual. No one will care what you have to say anyway.

20 Responses to “Hip-Hop is NOT Culture”

  1. Stone says:

    Eh….how many times do I have to say this? Rap is the shit that gets played on the radio, and the shit this is pimped to the white masses (ie 50 Cent).

    Hip-hop is the artistic movement of a neglected people (they don’t HAVE to be black, but it helps) and not only is it music, but it’s the CULTURE that revolves around it (dress, talk, mannerisms, etc). The music is only such a small part of the actual movement.

  2. p-city says:

    C’mpn Stone, what movement? What culture?

    Hip-hop had a chance to be a movement and a culture in the beginning, but somewhere it stopped being about the people within the “culture”. It started being about giving those outside of the “culture” a chance to explore unfamiliar terrain.

    Think about it. On Blueprint, Jay-Z even admitted it:

    “…I penetrate pop culture, bring ’em a lot closer to the block where they
    pop toasters, and they live with they moms
    Got dropped roasters, from botched robberies niggaz crotched over
    Mommy’s knocked up cause she wasn’t watched over
    Knocked down by some clown when child support knocked
    No he’s not around – now how that sound to ya, jot it down
    I bring it through the ghetto without ridin ’round
    hidin down duckin strays from frustrated youths stuck in they ways…”


    Hip-hop became about “bringin’ em [consumers] a lot closer to the block.” Therefore, hip-hop became about promoting “the blocK’. Not the way it could be… or should be… but rather the way that people from the suburbs envision “the block”.

    When you make a living selling safari tickets, you make sure that the lions and tigers and walk right up to the safari van and scare the paying customers. When you make your living selling “audio safari” tickets, you make sure that Tony Yayo and company do the same thing.

  3. Hashim says:

    There are music cultures.

    People socialize around music and it changes the way they dress, speak, and sometimes even their outlook on life.

    Hip-hop is a music. It also fits the definition of a culture.

    So does punk rock. So does reggae.

  4. SGT99999 says:

    Run the google search “define: culture.” The second definition is “the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group.” The race and/or age of the membershe social group doesn’t matter, the fact is that there is a social group that likes the rap music style. Thus, rap music is definitely a culture.

    I think the opinion in the original post is provacative because it throws out a red herring using different aspects of the meaning of the word “culture.”. The first or third definitions, “a particular society at a particular time and place; ‘early Mayan civilization'” or “acculturation: all the knowledge and values shared by a society.” Sure, rap music is not the same kind of cultural movement as building the pyramids or even a taste shared by everyone in our society, but so what? From todays perspective, building the pyramids was a stupid waste and the ancient Egyptians probably prefers The Bangles (Walk Like an Egyptian, haha) to Eminem. Who cares?

    Frankly, there was not really anything of substance supporting the premise of the original post. Since it was posted in a category called “Black Bullshit,” I have to think that this whole post is just a thinly vieled exercise in race bating.

    Come on, black girls are pretty, you want to kiss one, but none will have you. Keep trying, girls are just girls. Maybe you should try bathing and brishing your teeth, and keeping your eyes off their assets when you talk to them.

  5. Alex says:

    Hashim has it right on this one. You misinterpret what the word “culture” means.

  6. Billy Sunday says:

    The previous poster is right on when he advises me to start bathing and brushing my teeth, but in all of his polysyllabicity he misses the bigger picture. And I will not be ‘Googling’ anything since I own no stock in their enterprise. Peep game here…

    Culture permeates all levels of society Culture IS the expression.. Hip-Hop does not determine whether scud missiles are thrown on Iraqis. Hip-Hop does not decide to televise people stranded on a rooftop as opposed to airlifting them to safety. Hip-Hop does not make AIDS drugs accessible. If you choose to not live Hip-Hop you have other options. I would like to see you just try and avoid capitalism.

    People that have an illogical reverence for Hip-Hop want it to be this important moment in time instead of being the simple historical footnote that is the destiny of Hip-Hop. It was a beautiful artistic movement that was spwned from a culture that said (and still says) poor people are disposable. So poor people (in this case the American Jiggaboo) fashioned silk from a sow’s ear and the culture called capitalism bestowed fancy honors and haughty entitlements on the poor people.

    But don’t get it twisted playboy, Hip-Hop is NOT culture.

    white girls are culture!

  7. ray says:

    Whoever wrote this article is a wanna be intellecutal idiot….
    I would give a rebuttal to his lame assertion…but it is not worth my time

  8. ray says:

    Billy anyone can find a myriad of definitions of the word culture on the internet idiot…

  9. ray says:

    And lastly your usage of Rakim’s mugshot deflates your arguement from the beginning…because you are using one of hip hops best artist in a negative manner

  10. p-city says:

    Ray –

    If hip-hop is a culture, why? What makes it so?

    Even if Billy is an idiot (which he is), that doesn’t disprove his point.

  11. apple halsey says:

    Ray –

    I think we can all agree that Billy is an idiot.

    But he didn’t use Rakim in a negative manner. The mugshot and whatever Rakim did to earn it exists, whether or not Billy used it. And it’s unclear what his status as “best artist” has to do with deflating the argument about culture.

    Actually, considering you’ve added nothing to the conversation, except time you claim not to have to refute in any credible fashion the discussion at hand, I’d say you ain’t looking too smart yo’self.

    I’m just sayin.

  12. Definition/Smefinition. The underlying sentiment of what Billy is saying can’t be downpalyed. What kind of a legacy is hip hop leaving? Is it merely a tool for capitalist interests (like everything else)?

    I think that he was attacking the naiveté of those that believe current hip hop has transcended capitalism and turned into a force that can change the world.

  13. apple halsey says:

    Word. But why is that? other artistic movements have been the vanguard for significant social change. Or at least have expressed change in the process of occurring…

    Actually, I think hip-hop does meet both of those criteria. Just not in a progressive sense.

    Hip Hop has become a cultural vanguard for regressive change.

  14. the_dallas says:

    Party people,
    Play nice now. no internet thuggery or name calling since it a sure indicator of Teh Ghey-ness.

    I posted WILLIAM HOLLER SUNDAY’s article because it made me think. Period. Point blank.

    I asked BLU CHEEZ to give me an image that was ‘HIP-HOP’. And I don’t think you can get anymore Hip-Hop than the ‘R’.

    So I began to think about what BILLY wrote and I looked at the photo and then I asked myself. Would a culture persecute one of its shining lights?

    I love the Hip-Hop as much as any of you, but it had better check itself before it wrecks itself.

  15. Josh says:

    I guess I’m late stumbling upon this… but in case anyone ever sees this again. This arguement is ridiculous. I hope these guys found real pasttimes by now.

  16. Christian Taylor says:

    ya ite son. hip hop is a culture its done mad lot for people and has achievements just like cultures. I like the hip hop culture way bettta than the hindu culture.. you figadeaL me. What do you care if its demeaning to other cultures son worry bout ya own. I bet that you a busta. word is bond Hip hop like nas, rakim, biggie, big L, jay Z, krs1, kanye west, eminem, and even those that arent promoted as much more of just lyrisists like lupesco and big L. They just like micheal angelo in a sense. word up gahh. they achieved so much for their culture and look at it now, i mean new york need to go back to doin what it was doin back in the day, it shouldn b jus violent and flashin cars. and lastly–> the jersey sure cast is more rightfully famous than Rick Ross . i hate em all but Ross is a choke artist for real. glad he aint reppin N.Y. shout to Rakim big ups to Nas Jay and the WU. park hill cats word up

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