Tobias Chappel ll
(BLACK PR WIRE) (FAMU-TALLAHASSEE)( March 11, 2009) - - Hip hop is an undying voice for the youth of America. Webster’s defines hip hop as being an urban youth culture associated with rap music and the fashions of African-American residents of the inner city.
According to Dr. Kawachi Clemons, hip hop culture means more than just music and the behavior of individuals living in urban areas. “Hip hop is a derivative of all black music,” said Clemons, a music professor at Florida A&M University. “Hip hop is an artistic form of expression that allows people to discuss political, social, and economic issues within inner city living.”
Some students said hip hop has been a significant factor in their lives. Trey Causley, 19, a business student attending FAMU, said hip hop culture is responsible for him wanting to do something positive with his life. “Hip hop helped me understand that there are other people who are successful and came from similar life situations that I face daily,” Causley said. “I see rappers such as Jay Z and Nas, who lived the street life and transformed into successful entrepreneurs. In my opinion, they are living the ‘American Dream’. Growing up I didn’t have any role models, and it was people such as them that made me realize that I can do anything and that’s why I’m in college today.”
While some individuals said hip hop motivated them, others believe hip hop brings unity amongst America’s youth. “Hip hop embraces culture,” said Mycheal Kweme, 22, a social studies education student attending the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. “I think hip hop culture unites people of various backgrounds and breaks down stereotypes.”
Although some perceive hip hop culture as a positive influence in their lives, some said hip hop today has lost its original purpose and only contributes to brainwashing America’s youth. Xian Moore, 20, a fashion design student at Norfolk State University, said hip hop culture has become a gimmick to make a quick dollar. “I don’t pay attention to hip hop culture as much,” Moore said. “Hip hop has lost credibility. It seems like everyone is claiming to live a hard knock life just to get signed to a record label. Hip hop exposed a lot of issues and allowed people growing up in the projects an opportunity to let their voices be heard, but now it’s just all about the money.”
Some believe hip hop is just a device used to target younger audiences in believing whatever message the source wants to be communicated. “Hip hop is a determining factor in our politics,” said Colby Dailey, 20, a broadcast journalism student attending FAMU. “It persuades listeners into thinking exactly what the artist and writers want them to think. They use terms a couple of times and we began to use them.”
Shean England, 18, a marketing student attending Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, said young people are influenced by individuals they look up too. “It’s very rare that someone will look up to someone that’s at a lower caliber than they are,” England said. “Younger generations look at hip hop moguls as sources of inspiration. Their songs alone can change people's mindsets and way of acting.”