Hip Hop and Feminism

Essay by jsecoursUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, October 2009

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INTRODUCTIONMusic is a powerful tool in human minds; it is an integral part of our lives. From music, individuals gain information about society, social and gender roles, and expected behaviours. Whichever music you chose to listen to is a part of your personal identity. In music lyrics it is the words that give a song meaning.

It is the purpose of this research paper to examine the expression of sexuality and portrayal of women in song lyrics from hip hop artists. As stated on Wikipedia, "hip hop music is a music genre typically consisting of a vocal style called rap which is accompanied with backing beats." I will examine the societal structures behind hip hop music as well as examine some critics and defenders concerning this type of music. Hip hop music is reaching more people than any other genres; however it is said that it has become associated with misogyny.

EVOLUTION OF HIP HOP MUSICHip hop music began in the Bronx, in New York City in the 1970s (Sharpley-Whiting, 2007). It is a form of expression that finds its roots imbedded deep within African American culture. At the beginning, rap was not yet known as 'rap' but it was called emceeing (Hip-hop music, 2009). Hip hop music is known for its reciting of rhymes. It became very popular because it offered young urban New Yorkers a chance to freely express themselves. It was accessible to anyone and they did not need any money in order to create rhymes. Like many other type of music, it offers unlimited challenges, and individuals can rap about anything. It is a form of self expression. "By the 1980s, hip hop music swept across the nation and captured the socio-political realities of youth from New York to Los Angeles to Chicago to...