Hip Hop Vs. Ethics Essay

1745 words - 7 pages

Ethics of The Music Industry
Works Cited Not Included

Hip-hop culture has been socially labeled as deviant, a counter-culture, un-American because of its lack of moral. Specifically, "gangsta rap" which glorifies guns, sex, violence, drug use and gang activity has been castigated. This type of rap promotes a nonconformist and rebel adaptive behavior. As a result, it gives hip-hop culture a deviant label. A simple definition of deviance is "behavior that does not conform to group-shared norms; behavior that (in some way) does not meet the expectations of a group or a society as a whole and is subject to social control" (Liska 2). Mr. Kirkland, along with rap entrepreneur Russell Simmons, ...view middle of the document...

Larger society may disapprove due to their immoral ethics and promotion of deviant ideas, but larger society also supports freedom of speech. Whether or not morals are worth the loss of a basic constitutional freedom of speech is in question.

The indicator of moral panic surrounding hip-hop music is: volatility. The eruption of this newly found threat to fans of rap music by famous "gangsta" rappers and it's fairy-tale like "gangsta" life themes have occurred within the last decade. The volatility and eruption of these rebel ideals, specifically "gangsta" rap started on the West Coast, innovated by N.W.A., "Niggaz With Attitude." NWA was most controversial music group to top the charts on the "Soundscan system, which tracked sales of national record sales, during the early 90s" (Farrish 2). NWA's lyrics and images heuristically analyzed and promoted gang affiliation, drug dealing and use, homicide, sex, misogyny, alcohol abuse, and hate on police campaigns. "The rap industry is an oligopoly where 5 large firms dominate the market" (Rose 55). According to hip-hop philosophers such as Rose, hip-hop music has become homogenized. According to Marxian theory, "fetishism of commodities, the market and not the artists, determine the demand for products" (Rose 79). Since "gangsta" rap became quickly popularized, this popular culture experienced hegemony. The market gave power and maintained consensual adopted dominant popular ideologies of "gangsta" rap music. Hip hop culture with it's growing popularity started as a subculture and quickly approached mass-culture in which all classes and races participated in the adoration of hip hop culture. The tremendous record sales were seen in inner city to white suburban towns. The goal of cultural industries being to maximize profits, forcing the hip hop cultural industry to imitate the successful product of "gangsta" rap under the big labels pursuit of profits. Thus, an imbalance of conscious rap occurred, with the influx of immensely popular "gangsta" rap.

"Gangsta" rap glorifies deviant behavior with a nonconformist rebel attitude towards societal problems. The "gangsta" philosophy is centered on threatening societal values, breaking moral barricades, and crediting rappers or so-called "gangstas" as experts pronouncing their diagnosis and unorthodox solutions to institutional problems and social inequalities. Their solutions being illegitimate means of making ends meet. For example, the glorification of guns, gangs as family, guns, drug dealing, the black market and "thug life". The hostility can be felt when politicians, elder African-Americans, and mainstream media label rap artists as socially deviant and hip-hop culture as plain "un-American." The reasons for this perspective on hip-hop being that hip-hop destroys social order, its deviant, criminal, violent, socially irresponsible, and misogynist. The consensus among these social institutions is that hip-hop forms constructs deviance.


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