MUSI 2520 Study Guide - Final Guide: Palestinian Hip Hop, Israeli Hip Hop, Media Reform
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Global Innovations: #1 Essay basis for Test
Though created in the United States by African Americans, hip hop culture and
music is now global in scope. Youth culture and opinion is meted out in both Israeli
hip hop and Palestinian hip hop, while Canada, France, Germany, the U.K.,
Poland, Brazil, Japan, Africa, Australia and the Caribbean have long-established
hip hop followings. According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is "now the
center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world," that crosses social
barriers and cuts across racial lines. National Geographic recognizes hip hop as
"the world's favorite youth culture" in which "just about every country on the planet
seems to have developed its own local rap scene." Through its international
travels, hip hop is now considered a “global musical epidemic,” and has diverged
from its ethnic roots by way of globalization and localization.
Although some non-American rappers may still relate with young black Americans,
hip hop now transcends its original culture, and is appealing because it is “custom-
made to combat the anomie that preys on adolescents wherever nobody knows
their name.” Hip hop is attractive in its ability to give a voice to disenfranchised
youth in any country, and as music with a message it is a form available to all
From its early spread to Europe and Japan to an almost worldwide acceptance
through Asia and South American countries such as Brazil, the musical inﬂuence
has been global. Hip hop sounds and styles differ from region to region, but there is
also a lot of crossbreeding. In each separate hip hop scene there is also constant
struggle between "old school" hip hop and more localized, newer
sounds.Regardless of where it is found, the music often targets local disaffected
Hip hop has given people a voice to express themselves, from the "Bronx to Beirut,
Kazakhstan to Cali, Hokkaido to Harare, Hip Hop is the new sound of a disaffected
global youth culture." Though on the global scale there is a heavy inﬂuence from
US culture, different cultures worldwide have transformed hip hop with their own
traditions and beliefs. "Global Hip Hop succeeds best when it showcases ...
cultures that reside outside the main arteries of the African Diaspora." Not all
countries have embraced hip hop, where "as can be expected in countries with
strong local culture, the interloping wild-style of hip hop is not always welcomed".
As hip hop becomes globally-available, it is not a one-sided process that
eradicates local cultures. Instead, global hip hop styles are often synthesized with
local styles. Hartwig Vens argues that hip hop can also be viewed as a global
learning experience.Hip hop from countries outside the United States is often
labeled "world music" for the American consumer. Author Jeff Chang argues that
"the essence of hip hop is the cipher, born in the Bronx, where competition and
community feed each other."
Hip hop has impacted many different countries culturally and socially in positive
ways. "Thousands of organizers from Cape Town to Paris use hip hop in their
communities to address environmental justice, policing and prisons, media justice,
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While hip hop music has been criticized as a music which creates a divide between
western music and music from the rest of the world, a musical "cross pollination"
has taken place, which strengthens the power of hip hop to inﬂuence different
communities. Hip hop's impact as a "world music" is also due to its translatability
among different cultures in the world. Hip hop's messages allow the under-
privileged and the mistreated to be heard. These cultural translations cross
borders. While the music may be from a foreign country, the message is something
that many people can relate to- something not "foreign" at all.
Even when hip hop is transplanted to other countries, it often retains its "vital
progressive agenda that challenges the status quo. Global hip hop is the meeting
ground for progressive local activism, as many organizers use hip hop in their
communities to address environmental injustice, policing and prisons, media
justice, and education. In Gothenburg, Sweden, nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) incorporate grafﬁti and dance to engage disaffected immigrant and working
class youths. Indigenous youths in countries as disparate as Bolivia,Chile,
Indonesia, New Zealand, and Norway use hip hop to advance new forms of
This article or section may contain previously unpublished synthesis of published
material that conveys ideas not attributable to the original sources. See the talk
page for details. (March 2009)
Even in the face of growing global popularity, or perhaps because of it, hip hop has
come under ﬁre for being too commercial, too commodiﬁed. While this of course
stirs up controversy, a documentary called The Commodiﬁcation of Hip Hop
directed by Brooke Daniel interviews students at Satellite Academy in New York
City. One girl talks about the epidemic of crime that she sees in urban black and
Latino communities, relating it directly to the hip hop industry saying “When they
canʼt afford these kind of things, these things that celebrities have like jewelry and
clothes and all that, theyʼll go and sell drugs, some people will steal it…" Many
students see this as a negative side effect of the hip hop industry, and indeed, hip
hop has been widely criticized for inciting notions of crime, violence, and American
ideals of consumerism although much of the hip-hop dancing community still
chooses to refer back to more "oldschool" types of hip-hop music that does not
preach violence and drugs.
In an article for Village Voice, Greg Tate argues that the commercialization of hip
hop is a negative and pervasive phenomenon, writing that "what we call hiphop is
now inseparable from what we call the hiphop industry, in which the nouveau riche
and the super-rich employers get richer". Ironically, this commercialization
coincides with a decline in rap sales and pressure from critics of the genre.
However, in his book In Search Of Africa, Manthia Diawara explains that hip hop is
really a voice of people who are down and out in modern society. He argues that
the "worldwide spread of hip-hop as a market revolution" is actually global
"expression of poor peopleʼs desire for the good life," and that this struggle aligns
with "the nationalist struggle for citizenship and belonging, but also reveals the
need to go beyond such struggles and celebrate the redemption of the black
individual through tradition."
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