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The Impact of Rap and Hip-Hop on American Youth and Culture

Read on to learn more about the cultural impact of Hip-Hop music and rap
Collage by Jessica Tanny

Hip-Hop is not just a music genre – It is a whole culture. HipHop has significantly shaped American culture since the late 1980s, impacting American politics, media, fashion, and more. Nowadays, Hip-Hop reaches around the globe and influences culture and music everywhere.

The impact of Hip-Hop and rap cannot be overstated as it has been the leading entertainment genre for over three decades now. Let’s take a look at the genre’s impact on American culture.

Giving Voice to the People

Since the beginning of the rise of hip-hop and rap, music has been an avenue for our youth and young adults, mainly people of color, to speak about and solve problems in culture and society. Hip-Hop and Rap originated from black culture and has deep roots in African traditions.

The history of Hip-Hop is rooted in Black issues and consciousness. Through Hip-Hop, marginalized communities are able to change culture, social attitude, and call attention to the conditions their communities face. It was an avenue to speak up and talk about socioeconomic issues and the injustices that the black community faced regularly living in the United States.

Conscious hip-hop, or political rap, now considered a sub-genre of HipHop, played a massive part in bringing injustices and discrimination to light. It provided a path to discussing these political issues and social conflicts the black community was suffering from and gave the people in these communities a goal to rally behind.

Racial violence and injustice have been an everlasting topic in the genre. Even though the culture has seen significant improvement, the black community still faces regular discrimination. Hip-Hop was a driving force in bringing police injustice and inequality to the public. Artists and rappers brought forth the black community’s conditions and problems living in urban areas, especially poorer communities. It helped unite the communities to protest against these injustices and work towards a better social and cultural future.

Downsides of Hip-Hop

People still scrutinize Hip-Hop for being aggressive, violent, and detrimental towards young adults and the youth. People think the genre is full of chauvinism, vulgarity, violence, and nothing else. While this can be true, and there can be a lot of misogyny, sexism, violence, and drug abuse glorification, there is still a lot of good to be taken from the genre.

Rappers usually rap about what they live and experience in their environment and communities. Just like all other genres, there is both good and bad. Artists live and experience different communities. They all have different stories and messages. These artists can become role models to a large number of marginalized people of color who might lack relatable leading figures in their lives.

The Influence of Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop is now at a point where it influences all cultures. It has been a voice for multiple generations and a social and cultural awareness vehicle. The impact of hip-hop on American culture and its youth is indeterminable.


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