Sunday, June 14, 2009

Review of Rick Ross's new album

Rick Ross’s third album “Deeper Than Rap” is more of the usual we can expect from Rick Ross than an album that explores ideas that are deeper than rap. If listeners can somehow forget about the deception Ricky has laid on us regarding his past, they might be able to pretend they are listening to real mafia music. Apparently, Ricky has not heard of the recession the country and the urban community is experiencing as the only references to reality in this album is his occasional references to Hollywood slander. Ricky has called on his friends, such as Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, and Nas to help the listener forget they might be listening to a con-artist, (the track “Rich off Cocaine” might have the listener think WTF, wasn’t Ricky a C.O.). The beats overall will make your head bobb, but “Deeper Than Rap” is full of clich├ęs and nothing new.

MORE TO COME

Ok, so I know I have not been on here for awhile, but more to come I promise!!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Shift from Sociopolitical to Misogyny in Current Rap Music Lyrics Part I

Rap’s counter-public space been redefined since its inception (Kitwana, 2002). In the new millennium, rap artists have abandoned the anti-racism messages and focuses on money and sexual exploits (Sullivan, 2003). (Although, I am concerned with popular rap music lyrics, one would be able to find conscious rap music; however, one must be ready to strenuously look, as it is not readily available to the public). As one can make arguments of the effects of commercialism and globalization on redefining rap’s counter-public space, I am interested in misogyny and its transitions in rap. Rap is an extremely masculine space and sexism and homophobia has always been evident in the lyrics[1], however, I am concerned with the recent shift to the ultra sexualized black woman appearance in the lyrical content of rap. When looking at the misogyny in rap music, “…it is useful to think of misogyny as a field that must be labored in and maintained both to sustain patriarchy but also to serve as an ideological anti-feminist backlash. What better group to labor on this “plantation” than young black men” (hooks, 1994,). It is wise to remember that misogyny is a male attribute, and in hip-hop, black males take the “rap” for it.



[1] An example of this is clearly exhibited in GrandMaster Flash and The Furious Five 1982 song, “The Message” where in one verse he is describing a sexualized woman who must get a pimp and in another verse where a man kills himself after becoming “an undercover fag”.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Four Elements of Hip-Hop: A Historical Look at the Beginnings of Rap

I am not sure that many people understand that Hip-Hop is formulaic, like many other cultures, and contains four elements. Rap music is one of four elements of the cultural force known as hip-hop and thus the focus of this essay. The four elements are rap, djing, break-dancing and graffiti. Directly influenced from the rubble of the dying Black Panther Party, modern history of rap begins in 1979; however, rap’s formation has its origins from African oral traditions (Dyson, 2004). According to Hip-Hop scholar, Imani Perry, rap music’s cultural framework consists of four elements: 1. Its primary language is African American Vernacular English (AAVE); 2. Its political location in society distinctly ascribed to black people, music, and cultural forms; 3. It is derived from black American oral culture; 4. It is derived from Black American music tradition (Perry, 2004). Rap music is an oral space of discourse among the urban, inner-city community. As slave narratives functioned as a counter-space for historically invisible African-Americans, rap music serves as a counter-space to African-American and Latinos who had been denied access to the public space. This space is how African-Americans and Latinos have negotiated the multiple rifts in between “…their disaporic cultural heritages, white appropriations of them (in music, fashion, language), and a dominant media culture that still renders them stereotyped or marginalized” (Pough, 2004). This space brought nationalism and sociopolitical messages that concerned African-Americans and Latinos to the forefront.