When it comes to power and influence, it’s pretty safe to say that the white male reigns over all. However, when it comes to Hip-hop music, this concept gets flipped on its head.
Hip-hop and Rap music was created by African Americans living in the suburbs of New York as a way to express themselves musically as distinct from other races. As the subculture seeped into the mainstream, while Hip-hop started to be run by corporations run by the dominant male, Hip-hop still heavily relied on marketing it as African-American music. What I find interesting is how Hip-hop is one of the few things right now where another race other than the white male is dominant. Black nationalism is dominant while whiteness is considered as “the other”.
Consider this as a response to Deborah’s post on “How to Be a Man” when she asks if white men are the natural authority on all things male. In Hip-hop music, Black males are the natural authority in two major ways: authenticity and lyrics.
Authenticity. In order to be considered a legitimate Hip-hop/Rap artist, one needs to appear as authentic. To be authentic means to live the lifestyle that created the subculture in the first place.
Lyrics. Through the expression of misogyny and the use of the word nigger, Black male artists are able to be the natural authority. Black MCs are able to refer to each other as niggers, but someone that is another race is not able to do the same. Furthermore, When MCs and artists of different races refer to African-Americans, they must do so in a way that is indirect, otherwise it comes off as racist against Black people. Black MCs and artists can get away with directly referring to other races in derogatory ways, and while it is controversial, they can get away with it.
Does anyone know if Eminem ever uses the word nigger in his lyrics?? If he has, this would be an interesting topic for further exploring, how Eminem’s success has managed to be a notable exception in Hip-hop and popular culture.
Does anyone have anything to add to the list? It could go on forever.