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The Social Responsibility Of Hip-hop

posted 18 Feb 2013, 13:49 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Feb 2013, 13:50 ]
Hip-Hop is no longer limited to rap music and break dancing;
today it represents a multi-billion dollar industry that
influences everything from fashion to prime- time television
programming, professional sports, mass media marketing and
advertising. Today Hip-Hop is becoming a way of life, a culture
that is intricately woven into every aspect of young people's
daily lives.

Artists like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Public Enemy, 2Pac (to some

extent right?) and many more use hip hop to describe the social
inequities of the Black community and the inner city. They are
putting a very human feel to issues that are calloused by
misinterpretation and exoticism and sensationalization. Artists
like 50 Cent and the genre of `gangsta rap' have become
extremely popular in America today, in part because of corporate
manipulation and the large, multiracial audience that now exists
for hip-hop music.

Hip-hop is an expression of the social, political and economic
problems associated with living in urban areas. Since
African-Americans are the dominate group in urban centers, their
influence is the largest on urban music. Hip-hop lyrics, with
their emphasis on "keepin' it real" and marked by a colossal
indifference to mainstream taste, became an equally powerful
influence on young black men. These two influences have created
a brand-new, brand-name generation that refuses to assimilate
but is nonetheless an important part of mainstream American

Legendary hip hop icon Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, of the
pioneering hip hop group RunDMC, told a crowd recently that what
they see on television in music videos is "show business" and
not a true reflection of what hip hop represents. "The whole
purpose of hip hop is to inspire, to motivate and to educate. It
is the transfer of information whether you are in the ghetto or
Beverly Hills. Hip hop is about the life we live–especially for
Black people," DMC said. "Hip hop was created to make it known
that we as a people are in charge of our purpose and our
destiny. The true purpose of hip hop was not just to create
rappers," he added.

Rapping developed both inside and outside of hip hop culture,
and began with the street parties thrown in the Bronx
neighborhood of New York in the 1970s by Kool Herc and others.
Rap, graffiti, spoken word are all part of hip-hop. There, of
course, is much more that is hip-hop, but you wouldn't know it
through playing video games that are based on hip-hop.

TJ Crawford, founder and executive producer of the MPR Report,
a radio talk show airing weekly on WVON 1690 AM, has said, "It's
beyond just hip hop, it's beyond just a generation, This is
about people who want better for their people and recognize the
power that is in the music. People who move in that same type of
spirit are trying to see who they can connect with to take it to
that next level."

Opportunities are few outside of the ghettos; therefore, their
language focuses on their world. Instant gratification reflects
the short life expectancy. Thus, when money is gained, it is for
conspicuous consumption. Hip hop is the culture of a people who,
separated from mainstream society, turn into themselves to
create their own standards of survival in a hostile world.

However, those that continue to proclaim "victim, victim" will
never realize beyond their "victimhood." With hip hop having
such a big influence today, more than ever before, it is
enlightening to see some organizations realizing a
responsibility to protect the integrity of such a powerful
influence. This is brought about by public education
organizations, dedicated to raising public awareness about
social, cultural, political and economic issues important to the
hip-hop generation in America and throughout the world.

One such organization, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network which
was founded in 2001, is dedicated to harnessing the cultural
relevance of hip-hop music to serve as a catalyst for education
advocacy and other societal concerns fundamental to the well
being of at-risk youth throughout the United States. HSAN is the
largest non-profit, worldwide coalition of hip-hop artists,
entertainment industry leaders, education advocates, civil
rights proponents, and youth leaders united in the belief that
Hip-Hop is an enormously influential agent for positive social
change which must be responsibly and proactively utilized to
fight the war on poverty and injustice.

The Social Responsibility of Hip-Hop involves the idea that it
is better to be proactive toward a problem rather than reactive
to a problem. Social responsibility means eliminating corrupt,
irresponsible or unethical behavior that might bring harm to the
community, its people, or the environment before the behavior
happens. Businesses promoting hip hop have the fiduciary
responsibility to instill a sense of faith and trust that would
not allow a product to harm people just to meet their own bottom

About The Author: JJ Reilly is a leading expert on hip hop and
urban culture, marketing and internet radio business. For more
Marketing Strategies, Resources and Music with free membership
offers visit: or