This study is an edited version of my Personal Interest Project that I completed during my senior high school year that investigated Hip-Hop as a medium for minority groups. If you’re interested in seeing more like this, follow The 2Thousand.
During the process of my research, the Hip-Hop community experienced the loss of many artists from those who had paved the way for the future generations, to those who had only just began to flourish within the culture. Dedicated to Craig Mack, Fredo Santana, Jimmy Wopo, Lil Peep, Lovebug Starski, Prodigy, Smoke Dawg and XXXTentacion. Rest in Peace.
In 2017, Hip-Hop/R&B exceeded Rock for the first time, becoming responsible for 25.1% of music consumption in the United States (McIntyre, 2017). Fusing elements of jazz, blues and dance music, the genre began in the 1970’s and enabled the African-American community to respond to the systemic silencing by institutional powers including the government (Deshazier, 2017). Over time, Hip-Hop has come to serve as a reflection and embodiment of environments and social realities in a globalised world. Upon personal reflection, the impact of the music on my identity became evident and prompted the direction of the research to examine Hip-Hop as a medium of social change (Personal Reflection, 2017). Through investigating Hip-Hop as a social commentary, the hypothesis denotes that Hip-Hop has and continues to benefit social change for minority groups. The globalisation of Hip-Hop in different environments and societies have created sub-genres that adopted the genre’s social activism, allowing change upon societal beliefs and values.
As Hip-Hop lyrics are the social commentary that this Personal Interest Project (PIP) investigates, content analysis was chosen as a primary research method to identify how an artist’s ethnicity, approach and choice of platform varies the impact the song can have within society. A questionnaire investigated the public perception of Hip-Hop, gaining qualitative and quantitative data from sixty-two respondents of differing genders, ethnicities and generational cohorts. Personal reflection provided original and contemporary insight on Hip-Hop’s growing popularity and influence within Australian society from my own meso level experiences as a Hip-Hop artist. Secondary research gained insight into the media’s perception of Hip-Hop’s social commentary and contribution to the social inclusion of minority groups. Genius.com provided detailed analysis of lyrical content to deconstruct the message in the songs and remove bias from and validating the content analysis (Genius.com, 2018).
The research examines generations as the cross cultural component, exploring the generational response to Hip-Hop as a social commentary on a micro, meso and macro level. Ethnicity was explored as an additional cross cultural component, investigating how the globalisation of the genre has allowed for differing ethnic groups to use Hip-Hop as a medium of social commentary. The continuity and change aspect was incorporated throughout by investigating the influence of technology on changes within Hip-Hop and society over time; and the continuation of Hip-Hop’s social commentary. Completing this PIP allowed further exploration of the role of macro institutions and artists in their ability to influence change on meso and micro levels of society. In a changing global world, the role of music in commentating on social issues has been paramount. Addressing these issues and the societal change the commentary can have, enhances social and cultural literacy and creates greater awareness within society and culture.
CHAPTER 1: DEFINING HIP-HOP AS A MEDIUM
“Hip-Hop is inherently political; the language is political. It uses language as a weapon — not a weapon to violate or not a weapon to offend, but a weapon that pushes the envelope that provokes people, makes people think.” – Dr. Todd Boyd (Simons, 2003).
Hip-Hop derived from the influx of Caribbean migrants in the 1960’s and politically driven gang culture in the Bronx during the 1970’s. Pinpointing the exact origin of rap is dependent on when one acknowledges a particular cultural expression or product as rap but one event that is collectively agreed to be a significant contribution to Hip-Hop’s origins, is DJ Kool Herc’s 1973 back-to-school ‘bloc party’ (Dyson, 2004). Hip-Hop’s beginnings unified many of New York’s minorities and created interracial harmony on a meso level before becoming a global commodity that allows for the expression of different standards of life. Globalisation and technological developments contributed to the marketing, accessibility and creation of Hip-Hop music present within society (Kopycinski, 2017). A minority group can be defined as a group of people with common characteristics which distinguish them from the majority of the population (International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioural Sciences, 2001). While Hip-Hop music began as an outlet for the African-American and Latino community, it has now evolved across generations, gaining a global audience and providing a social commentary for minority groups of differing ethnicities and sexual orientations.
The commercialisation of Hip-Hop culture and paraphernalia led to the globalisation of the genre which, over time, introduced various sub-genres and artists that adapted Hip-Hop’s self-expressive nature. Due to the differing environments and contextual social issues, the themes discussed within the lyrical content of Hip-Hop have expanded. During the mid 1970s and early 1980s, Hip-Hop represented an alternate form of social recognition and status for African-American and Latino youth and was a vehicle for collective uplift and social critique of policies and politics that disadvantage minority groups (Petchauer, 2011). Primary questionnaire results indicated, 92% of participants supported that the themes of Hip-Hop have changed since its birth 40 years ago with 40% indicating the themes have become less meaningful, focusing on money, drug abuse and sexually charged themes. 38% of the aforementioned 40%, identified as female from either Generation X, Y or Baby Boomers stating there is an “under representation of [female] artists” in a genre that “conveys sexist and misogynistic ideas of women” (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). This indicates the negative perception of Hip-Hop from females of older generations and the change in perception over time to Generation Z. These changes may have occurred from the commercialisation of Hip-Hop music for profit, shifting societal expectations, artists’ attitudes, or a combination of this (Basham, 2015). Nevertheless, 89% of questionnaire participants agreed that Hip-Hop positively contributes to social change, with one respondent identifying the continuity of this throughout time, “Hip-Hop has always been a platform for minorities to express and raise awareness to social issues within their society.” A member of every generation, aside from Baby Boomers, selected that they strongly agree that Hip-Hop positively contributes to societal change. Though Hip-Hop was birthed around the 1970’s, its dominance within mainstream society became prevalent in the 1990’s, therefore Baby Boomers may be unfamiliar to the genre. Another participant detailed that despite the evolution of Hip-Hop, “there is one commonality throughout time, the struggle faced by groups in society”, further explaining that “it’s just what that struggle is has changed as society has changed.”This refers to the changing of themes that generationally mirror the cultural and social issues to incite and continue conversation for different minority groups of a particular time and environment (Primary Questionnaire, 2018).
The continuity of explicit themes in contemporary Hip-Hop, has created a stigma surrounding the genre’s impact on society, powered by the media’s portrayal of Hip-Hop. 61% of questionnaire participants claimed that the media portrays Hip-Hop negatively, with respondents stating that it is “heavily stereotyped within society” and described “as a bad influence on the youth.” Although, 35% of participants expanded on their response, with a Generation Z respondent expressing that the media is becoming increasingly receptive as a result of the genres increased discussion of social issues and the inclusion of featured Hip-Hop artists in Pop music (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). This indicates the rapidly changing media portrayal of Hip-Hop in recent times and suggests that while the media has the power to influence persons perception of Hip-Hop, the intention of the music may not be met due to generational differences in understanding the music’s purpose. The growing influence of social media within Western society has consequently contributed to the media’s portrayal of Hip-Hop. Similarly, both social media and Hip-Hop possess the ability to create fast-paced change by breaking down social and racial barriers (Simmons, 2010). While 68% of questionnaire participants selected ‘yes’ as to whether they frequently listen to Hip-Hop, 79% of all respondents identified as being within the Generation Z cohort. As the questionnaire was predominantly distributed online, the results signify the prevalence of Hip-Hop and social media in the socialisation and the positive perception of Hip-Hop by Generation Z that reflects the constructive impact that Hip-Hop can make within youth culture and wider society (Primary Questionnaire, 2018).
Changing themes in the lyrical content of Hip-Hop have altered as an outcome of the diversity of artists within the genre and the changing and evolving issues within society. Recently, there has been a developing discussion of the LGBTQIA+ community within Hip-Hop through artists like Macklemore, who was frequently named as an artist who comments on social change (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). The conversation of discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ community has used Hip-Hop as the medium to advocate for social change in the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ community, targets Hip-Hop’s core audience of the youth and distributes the artist’s message on an international stage (Personal Reflection, 2017). This demonstrates the change across generations, commentating on the social issues of the time and environment. Contributing to this, communication technologies have increased the marketing of Hip-Hop through social media, the accessibility to music through streaming services and allowed artists to add powerful visuals through music videos, televised performances and cover artwork to further support the artist’s political and social messages (Vella, 2016).
In response to Hip-Hop’s success in the mainstream media, television shows such as the Late Night Show with David Letterman have given artists a platform to further the impact of Hip-Hop as a medium. J. Cole’s performance of Be Free in 2014, a year where Letterman achieved 2.8 million total viewers, enabled Cole to send a political message about the police brutality in the U.S.A. on a platform outside of his demographic, allowing him to reach a larger audience and increase Hip-Hop’s the potential impact (Nielsen, 2014). The aforementioned majority of Hip-Hop listeners belonging to Generation Z are also recorded to watch the smallest amount of live television (Primary Questionnaire, 2018; Nusca, 2009). Therefore, the use of Hip-Hop is a powerful medium, but even more so when utilised with a platform outside of the Hip-Hop culture, such as television.
A more contemporary example of Hip-Hop utilising television can be seen during the 2018 BET Awards where Meek Mill delivered his first performance, Stay Woke, since being released from jail earlier that month. During the performance, Meek Mill discussed police brutality and violence within the African-American community alongside moving visuals of a Philadelphia neighbourhood, where a young girl is shot by police officers (Yoo, & Wicks, 2018). Furthermore, Meek Mill wore custom paraphernalia associated with the deaths of XXXTentacion and Jimmy Wopo, both rappers who were shot and killed that week. Communication technologies can assist the impact that Hip-Hop can have for minority groups by providing the opportunity to depict visual representations of social issues, on a macro platform, with a demographic outside of the usual Hip-Hop listener.
Hip-Hop has always by virtue of its creation or by purposeful choice, included social and political messages (Rocha, 2017). Hip-Hop has become the most popular genre in the world from its growing popularity and online culture created through social media, allowing the social commentary to have a larger impact on society. As society and communication technologies progress, the approach of Hip-Hop artist change to benefit the influence of Hip-Hop in creating social change. Although, the chosen approach can influence its impact and the success of the social change created. The variations of artist’s discussion of social issues can be attributed to the genre’s globalisation allowing for the birth of sub-genres; and technological advancements that have evolved marketing techniques, created further artistic expression and allowed artists to reach a larger demographic.
CHAPTER 2: RAP LYRICS AS SOCIAL COMMENTARY
Rap’s reign in popular music culture is more than just commercial. Its style and cadences are everywhere in new music (Guan, 2017). As Hip-Hop music is near inescapable in contemporary society, artists have utilised their power in popular culture to create change like never before. While 50% of Generation Z participants concluded that the themes of Hip-Hop have become less meaningful, this may only refer to the commercial rap that today’s mainstream society is exposed to (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). This has expanded due to the increase in advertisement through online media platforms. Peter Rosenberg, a prominent Hip-Hop radio DJ, argued that “If you hate today’s commercial Hip-Hop, fine, but guess what? We don’t remember the 80’s and 90’s for Ice Ice Baby and Bust a Move. We remember it for Fight the Power and Protect Ya Neck.” Today’s criticism on rap as a result of commercialisation, should not detract from the impact the Hip-Hop has as a social commentary (Rosenberg, 2018).
The art resists the overarching themes of racial discrimination inherent in American popular culture and affirms the racial status quo while simultaneously offering alternate perspectives (Ogbar, 2007). Although, the impact that Hip-Hop as a social commentary has on creating change is dependent upon an artist’s ethnicity, gender, approach, choice of platform and the society and culture in which the social commentary is being made. Content analysis of the lyrics within White Privilege II by Macklemore and Kendrick Lamar’s album, To Pimp a Butterfly (TPAB), investigated how Hip-Hop artists differently discuss racism and how this is received within society (Content Analysis, 2018). The continuity of social issues such as racism have remained prominent throughout rap lyrics, as evident in 27 questionnaire participants who answered “racism” as a social issue discussed within Hip-Hop (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). This highlights the awareness of racism being discussed in American Hip-Hop that is transferable to the societal issues within Australia, however, it is arguable that people are not socially aware of the contextual racism within Australia.
Kendrick Lamar, an African-American contemporary rapper, was referred to by 38% of respondents, as an artist who discusses social change (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). TPAB, released in 2015, explores the trials and tribulations of an African-American man in modern America through the metaphorical growth from a caterpillar to cocoon, to butterfly (Molina, 2016). In The Blacker the Berry, Lamar deals with racialised self-hatred and directly targets American society, questioning the place of African-Americans within modern America. Qualitative analysis of the lyrics within the content analysis, Lamar refers to himself as a “proud monkey,” highlighting a racial slur and appropriating the term as a means of empowerment. Furthermore, analysis of Lamar’s lyrics suggests an accusation towards American culture of “hate” towards his ethnicity and attempting to “terminate the [African-American] culture” (Content Analysis, 2018).
Lamar’s aggressive delivery and language is used to create a social commentary that demands change, highlighting the negative history between African-Americans and American society and culture. Contrary to the content analysis findings, Marshell (2018) suggests that mainstream American society has accepted “black excellence” in popular culture through the representation of minority groups within the entertainment industry that allows for greater representation. Additionally, the article argues that awards such as the Pulitzer Prize do not “legitimate him [Kendrick], his work, or his art form,” but more so demonstrates the macro acknowledgement of Hip-Hop as a medium for minority groups to create a social commentary (Marshell, 2018).
TPAB was a beautiful reflection of Lamar and others circumstances. Understanding the socio-political climate of the time, amidst the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, Lamar delivered a work that deeply resonated with his audience (Singleton, 2015). Diversifying his approach throughout the album, Lamar’s Alright, became an anthem for BLM activists and was used to demonstrate the collective identity of the minority group (King, 2016). The authenticity of Lamar’s adolescence, being raised in Compton, California, where 96.6% of the population are of African-American and Latino descent, allows listeners of the minority group to connect with him through the racial injustice faced (Statistical Atlas, 2015). Listeners could feel the authenticity of Lamar, as he demanded societal justice and equality, through the varying artistic approaches that were symbolic of the minority groups relationship with America. The macro acceptance of TPAB is evident in the album’s eleven Grammy nominations, the most nominations for a rapper in a year (Fallon, 2016). This encompasses the institutional recognition of TPAB’s impact as a contemporary album that authenticates the impact that rap lyrics can have as a social commentary to promote change. The meso recognition of Kendrick Lamar as a socially conscious artist is evident across generations with 32% of Generation Z, 30% of Generation X and 38% of Generation Y identifying him as an artist who discusses social change (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). Persons environment and society can impact on the change an individual can make over time. In contrast to Lamar’s impact and positively received approach to racism within modern America, Macklemore, a Caucasian Hip-Hop artist has been criticised for his own discussion.
The historical relationship between Caucasians and Hip-Hop is a complicated one, stemming from the historical appropriation of African art (Ogbar, 2007). Featured on his album This Unruly Mess I’ve Made, Macklemore’s White Privilege II provides a unique perspective on supporting a movement and protesting to something he, as a Caucasian male with white privilege, has never experienced (Genius, 2016). Macklemore acknowledges the criticism he has received in the lyric “you’ve exploited and stolen the music … the culture was never yours to make better,” demonstrating his understanding of cultural appropriation of African-American culture through his Hip-Hop career. Although Macklemore’s White Privilege II was poorly received within the Hip-Hop community, his Same Love song resonated with the social climate of the time and gained international acclaim as an LGBTQIA+ rights anthem from people inside and out of the Hip-Hop community.
Same Love by Macklemore discussed the same-sex issue within America and was released during the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Washington State. Despite the rarity of the issue being discussed, and Macklemore’s heterosexuality, he reflects on his own opinions and experiences with the idea of non-heterosexual sexuality. Macklemore discusses the homophobic nature of Hip-Hop and the role that communication technologies, specifically YouTube, plays within the continuation of this. In the lyric, “our culture founded from oppression, yet we don’t have acceptance for ‘em,” Macklemore acknowledges Hip-Hop’s origins and challenges the social exclusion faced by LGBTQIA+ community despite the genre being created as a social inclusion for other minority groups such as African-Americans. As Macklemore digresses, he explains that the use of technology and the online culture has perpetuated homophobia through the use of term ‘gay’ in a negative connotation (Content Analysis, 2018). Same Love received a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year, demonstrating its critical acclaim from macro institutions and its acknowledgement as a socio-political statement. Reaching the Top 100 charts in over eighteen countries, specifically reaching Platinum five times and a peak position of number one in Australia. The success of Same Love can be attributed to the unique themes of marriage equality within the song which are uncommon within Hip-Hop. The success of this song and the contextual events that occurred after, reflect that Hip-Hop is an ever dynamic force with potential for social change (Ogbar, 2017). In reflecting the song’s success and its creation of further conversation of same-sex marriage, over fifteen countries have since legalised marriage equality, demonstrating the macro change of evolving inclusivity by governments (Winsor, 2017).
Australia have particularly embraced the song and the social inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community on a macro level. The amendment to the Marriage Act 1961 to include the “union of 2 people” demonstrates a change in societal values, and the role of Hip-Hop in generating this change (Australian Government, 2017). Macklemore performed as the pre-match performance for the 2017 National Rugby League (NRL) Grand Final and exhibited the macro power of Hip-Hop music. A large debate arose behind the controversy of mixing sports and politics, with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott posting to Twitter demanding Macklemore’s Same Love not to be played at the Grand Final (Anonymous, 2017). Contrastingly, specific radio stations such as 2GB and 3AW refused to broadcast Macklemore’s performance in support of Tony Abbott’s statement that “footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final” (Carmody, 2017). This macro rejection was challenged by the NRL’s demonstration of social inclusion and acceptance by continuing to televise Macklemore’s performance. Acceptance on a meso level is evident with the song reaching a number 1 position on the iTunes chart days prior to the Grand Final, 6 years after the song’s initial release. Through globalisation, local Hip-Hop scenes have developed in many countries which has created social commentary surrounding the countries own minority groups and social issues (Errey, 2017). Though Australia specifically has had only a short 20-year history of Hip-Hop, its impact upon the Australian culture has been significant, glocalising the genre to provide applicable social commentary to their social and cultural context.
CHAPTER 3: AUSTRALIA’S ADAPTION OF THE GENRE
Hip-Hop’s social critique and protests roots have now globalised across the world, allowing artists to provide thought provoking and articulate responses to the social issues of their society and culture. Australia particularly, has birthed a subculture to powerfully commentate on the socio-political climate of the culture and time. Australian Hip-Hop began during the 1990’s in the Western Sydney Suburbs, an area traditionally regarded as working class, underprivileged and crime-ridden, with a large proportion of immigrant inhabitants (Mitchell, 1998). Richard Guillatt (1994) suggested that the Australian youth was being subjected to “an unstoppable geyser of American pop culture” which threatened the hard-won Australian cultural identity (as cited in Mitchell, 1998). This is reinforced by the 67% of respondents who answered ‘no’ to whether they listened to Australian Hip-Hop and the 53% who were unable to list themes discussed with the sub-genre. Across generations, Generation Z consumed the largest amount of Australian Hip-Hop, with 38% of Generation Z participants responding ‘yes’ along with 25% of Generation X respondents (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). While the Americanisation of Hip-Hop culture has arguably lessened the authenticity of Australian youth identity, it is an inevitable by-product of Hip-Hop’s globalisation.
While Hip-Hop has brought American culture further into the Australian society, Australian artists have capitalised on the genre by using their power to discuss Australia’s contextual social issues. A common topic discussed within Australian Hip-Hop is the prejudice and discrimination faced by Indigenous Australians (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). Australian rappers Briggs and Trials recently collaborated as A.B. Original, to deliver what they describe as Australia’s “N.W.A. moment.” Referring to the political American rap groups, N.W.A and Public Enemy and their overtly political tracks F**k Tha Police and Fight the Power, Briggs further explains the only reason they could make this album now was because “Australia didn’t have its Public Enemy.” Believing Hip-Hop to be a perfect modern vehicle for Indigenous Australia’s tradition of oral history, A.B. Original’s song January 26 intended to revamp the conversation of the Australia Day date (Stafford, 2017). This indicates the difference in cultural environments and development of Hip-Hop’s ability to commentate on social issues, although similar themes of discrimination and racism can be correlated between the two societies.
Many Australians perceive Australia Day, held annually on January 26, as a chance to celebrate the country’s culture but for Indigenous Australians, the day represents the genocide of Indigenous people and their culture (Westcott, 2018). In A.B. Original’s January 26,Trials raps “F**k celebrating days made of misery. White Aus, still got the black history.” Referring the continual rejection from the macro institution, the government, to change the Australia Day date to be inclusive with the identity of Australia’s multicultural society (Content Analysis, 2018). The song’s impact, representing Hip-Hop’s ability to provide social commentary, is evident in Triple J’s changing of the Hottest 100. Amidst the 2017 debate over the Australia Day date, Triple J announced the official moving of the Hottest 100 from January 26th to the following day. Triple J stated that their decision to change the date was to maintain inclusivity and ensure the countdown could be enjoyed by everyone listening in Australia and around the world (Sargeant, 2017). Additionally, the city of Fremantle shifted their Australia Day celebrations to January 28 in the same week that A.B. Original’s album Reclaim Australia was released, further demonstrating Hip-Hop’s ability to provide social commentary and although it arguably did not directly create the macro change, it undeniably contributed to the conversation (Cheer, & Kallios, 2017).
Mirroring the African-American use of the genre, Indigenous Australians also use Hip-Hop as empowerment by providing a macro platform to continue their Indigenous culture in contemporary society. In doing so, Hip-Hop has created an inclusive social environment for people in which they use to create a social inclusion for their ethnicity’s culture within society. Arnhem Land rapper, Baker Boy, demonstrates the extent of Hip-Hop’s globalisation across the world and can relate to the struggles discussed within Hip-Hop (Howie, 2017). In an NT news interview, he pointed out similarities between the life portrayed by his Hip-Hop idols and his own, Baker Boy argues “there was a lack of communication, a lack of education and also less opportunities” (as cited in Howie, 2017). Baker Boy’s success can be attributed to his involvement with Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects, a program visiting young Indigenous people in remote, regional and urban communities to deliver Hip-Hop performances and workshops that promote relevant campaign messages (Indigenous Hip-Hop Projects, 2018). This demonstrates societal change and the increase of opportunities on a meso level for Indigenous Australians through the use of Hip-Hop. Baker Boy gained significant exposure from the Triple J Indigenous Unearthed High Initiative, a competition for the Best Indigenous High School act. While not explicitly limited to Hip-Hop, the competition is a macro recognition of Indigenous talent and enables Baker Boy to educate Australia on the adversity faced throughout his Indigenous heritage (Watt, 2017).
As societies change over time, so do the technologies that assist with this change. Within Hip-Hop culture, the spread of cultural identity has been aided by technologies signaling a shift in society. Baker Boy’s uncle, said that his nephew “was achieving things they’d only dreamed of back in the community – this is the late 80’s,” explaining the growth of Hip-Hop and its ability to spread Indigenous Australian culture through the use of communication technologies, something that was not accessible to previous generations (Vanovac, 2018). Communication technologies within contemporary society has allowed macro institutions such as the media to report on current affairs faster than ever before. In doing so, the socio-political climate of today is increasingly discussed and prevalent in multiple facets of society. As a result, the globalisation of Hip-Hop through technology has enabled artists to use the genre as an outlet for artistic expression and to convey their political beliefs and values. In support of this, 96.4% of questionnaire respondents believed that technology has assisted in creating social change for minority groups which indicates a commonality among generations regarding the use of technology for the benefit of social change (Primary Questionnaire, 2018). Hip-Hop allows for an individual’s cultural identity to be strongly expressed throughout their music, that can explore issues within the individual’s society and environment (Personal Reflection, 2017). Baker Boy expresses his strong cultural identity by incorporating English and his native Yolngu Matha tongue in his rapping. Blending both his Australian and Indigenous culture throughout his music, continuing the Indigenous culture in the rapidly changing society (Watt, 2018).
Australia’s multicultural society is home to a diversity of ethnicities, that display their cultural identity through several facets of their environment and society. Though Hip-Hop is a relatively new genre within Australia, minority groups have used it as a powerful medium to create a social commentary on the social issues regarding the relationship between minority groups and Australia. Australian society has responded positively to the change that Hip-Hop artists are creating, evident through the changes in society on a macro level that has inevitably created discussion on the meso and micro levels. In recent years, Hip-Hop has created a significant change within Australia such as revamping the debate of January 26. Its impact is probable to continue in relevance of the socio-political climate of Australia with the up and coming generation of social activists and artists who maintain their strong cultural identity to empower and continue the culture of specific minority groups.
The research undertaken successfully proved the hypothesis that Hip-Hop is a powerful medium as a social commentary for minority groups. My PIP explored how Hip-Hop has been used across generations and ethnicities as a vehicle of social change and how the genre will continue to be utilised. I learnt the significance of the music for minority groups is larger than a commodity, but instead an essential platform to continue their culture and provide a macro voice to discuss contextual social issues. Communication technologies share a similar ability to Hip-Hop, in relation to providing a contemporary social commentary and I found that combing the two mediums allowed today’s generation of artists to reach a larger audience and deliver visuals that parallel the music.
The research tools I used effectively accomplished primary data from a variety of genders, generations and ethnicities that were able to efficiently be triangulated with secondary sources. By correlating the findings of my primary and secondary data, my hypothesis was validated that Hip-Hop is an effective medium as a social commentary for minority groups. Striving to achieve a larger sample size for my questionnaire would further validate the hypothesis. Questionnaire participant’s identity remained anonymous to adhere to ethical research practices. I found it interesting within the responses the acceptance of Hip-Hop on a meso level across generations which was different to my initial thought. Personal reflection highlighted my interest in the topic and whilst it could not comment on the usefulness of Hip-Hop for minority groups, it could examine Hip-Hop as a form of expression and social commentary. Additionally, content analysis correlated with secondary research assisted in analysing the lyrical content and the social commentary being provided within Hip-Hop and removed bias from my findings.
Wide reading of secondary sources in the initial stage of the PIP journey provided a richer understanding of my research’s direction enabling me to create a more definitive hypothesis earlier in the process. The PIP experience established the significance of organisational skills and weekly excerised my abilities as a researcher, thereby enhancing my social and cultural literacy as I frequently synthesised primary and secondary research to present the influence of Hip-Hop as a social commentary. A greater understanding of Hip-Hop’s ability to bridge social gaps within society and generate discussion surrounding the prevalence of social issues that affect the macro, meso and micro environments allowed me as a researcher to enhance my social and cultural literacy skills. The topic of research was chosen out of an longstanding admiration for Hip-Hop and its thought provoking power. Throughout the PIP journey, my respect and appreciation for Hip-Hop only increased as I began to further understand the potential societal impact that the music can have through changes that are occurring within society, as a result of Hip-Hop as a medium for minority groups.
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