Rap Music and Street Consciousness

Rap Music and Street Consciousness explores numerous issues of great concern to the general public, including drug use, sexually transmitted diseases, depictions of violence in lyrics of gangsta rap songs and depiction in gangsta rap music videos.

Keyes utilizes academic perspectives from ethnomusicology and cultural studies to provide an in-depth analysis of rap music’s roots, evolution, musical elements and rhythm and rhyme analysis.

What is rap?

Rap is a musical genre combining rhythmic and rhyming speech with musical accompaniment, often as part of hip-hop culture movement. Rap was originally popular among African American communities in New York City during the 1970s but has since spread worldwide to empower underprivileged communities, influence mainstream culture and challenge social norms; today rap serves many different functions such as political activism or self-expression.

Rap is unlike traditional music forms in that it focuses on rhythm, poetry and wordplay to convey meaning. Rappers use various rhyming techniques like internal rhymes and offbeat rhymes to form complex lyrical patterns while often including multiple rhyme schemes into one song – such as syllable-based rhymes or consonant clusters – which convey meaning more effectively than melodies and harmonics alone.

Rappers use words as powerful expressive tools, without adhering to any set of predetermined rules or expectations. Their words may tell stories, describe environments or recount their personal experiences – be they humorous or serious. Whatever the topic at hand, an experienced rapper can address it effectively.

This week’s Arachnophonia is brought to you by UR student Alice who is exploring the intersection between musicology and sociology through the study of rap music. Each week’s Arachnophonia features a different resource provided by UR students; giving them a platform from which to share their knowledge with their community.

What is street consciousness?

Rappers use music as an outlet to express their views of the world and document experiences, hopes, fears and economic issues affecting them and their communities; promote ethnic pride and cultural values. Cheryl Keyes brings together academic disciplines like ethnomusicology and folklore as well as urban studies sociology and other cultural studies for an in-depth view of hip hop culture in her book Rap Music and Street Consciousness.

She explores the themes, philosophies and diverse styles of hip hop artists from Afrika Bambaata’s godfather of hip hop through early artists such as Grandmaster Flash and Chuck D, crossover pioneers such as Public Enemy LL Cool J & De La Soul as well as megastars Tupac Shakur & Notorious B.I.G. She incorporates interviews and research in her analysis of their lyrics and performances to provide a nuanced portrait of these influential musicians.

Keyes employs street language in her academic writing while trusting unfamiliar readers to utilize her glossary of common rap terms. Her argument that street consciousness is central to hip hop culture is compelling and comprehensively documented in her analysis.

What is the relationship between rap and the streets?

Rap artists employ music to share personal experiences and reflect inner city reality. Rap addresses issues such as violence, drug use, unprotected sex and gang wars – which are all prevalent across many communities. While rap is no magic solution to society’s woes, it can raise awareness and motivate individuals to take steps against these issues.

Hip hop and street culture have always had a close bond; in the 1970s it was virtually unheard of for any hip hop party or battle to take place without graffiti as an accompaniment. Graffiti has become one of the four elements that define hip hop: deejaying (turntabling), rhyming, and breakdancing; it provides marginalized groups a creative and unique means of communicating social messages and driving cultural change forward.

Cheryl Keyes’ book, Rap Music and Street Consciousness, chronicles the history of hip hop from its beginnings as a youth movement in the 1970s to its global impact today. She employs methodologies from ethnomusicology, folklore studies and cultural studies for an in-depth analysis of this genre.

Keyes’s book is an invaluable contribution to the growing body of literature on rap music. Her approach is both scholarly and accessible for nonmusic scholars alike; she does an exceptional job explaining technical terms without using jargon, while drawing upon diverse sources including critical perspectives as well as interviews with rap artists themselves.

What is the relationship between rap and the media?

Rap has long been associated with street culture, yet the music has expanded well beyond its urban origins and become part of our collective cultural zeitgeist. Partly due to social media’s rise and its ability to facilitate connectivity across platforms – providing hip-hop artists a new channel through which to reach audiences worldwide while at the same time helping democratize the industry by giving independent rappers an avenue through which to develop followings without needing major labels or radio play as part of building recognition for themselves and gain popularity without major labels’ help or radio play from major labels or radio play!

Rap has attracted some misconceptions, including a belief that its music glorifies violent street lifestyles and promotes gang violence. Unfortunately, these false impressions stem largely from misinterpreting its origins and purpose; rap is simply an artistic interpretation of inner city realities such as drug abuse, violence and unprotected sexual encounters – with accompanying videos often reinforcing these themes by showing rap stars flashing expensive jewelry, driving modified cars with tuned engines, brandishing weapons or cavorting with scantily dressed women – which leads to further misinterpretations and confusion over its purpose and origins/purpose.

Rap can be traced to its roots in West African oral tradition, where its influence was strongly felt through griots: revered oral historians and praise singers responsible for transmitting tribal history, family lineage information, news of births, deaths and wars to members of their tribe. Rappers serve as modern-day equivalents to these revered historians through music to inform audiences unfamiliar with contemporary African-American urban life.

What is the relationship between rap and the black community?

Rap music has long been used as a forum to address issues facing blacks in society. In particular, it has highlighted systemic racism from police officers as well as socioeconomic conditions that lead to black on black crime. Furthermore, rap has also been used as a means for encouraging social activism among young blacks.

Scholars argue that rap music has been coopted by mainstream norms. Gangsta rap, for instance, has long been linked with violent and sexist stereotypes which contribute to creating a negative image of black men in society and encouraging violence towards women as sexual playthings or aggression against them. Furthermore, many forms of rap music glorify violence associated with street life which can have adverse impacts on mental health of black youths.

Rap is an influential form of expression, shaping youth attitudes and behaviors in many ways. But it is essential to acknowledge that rap cannot solve all the challenges black youth are currently experiencing; rather it should be used to empower these youth and inspire positive changes in their lives. Therefore it is crucial that we continue to support hip hop culture while simultaneously working to minimize its negative repercussions.

What is the relationship between rap and the white community?

Rap music has not just become popular within the black community; it has also found an audience within white society, particularly young white males. This may be because rap reflects issues similar to those experienced by white young adults such as drug abuse and gang violence; additionally, its captivating appeal taps into young whites’ desire for power and success that many young whites possess.

Although rap music may be perceived negatively, it has also been utilized for positive social change. Rap artists have utilized their music to support anti-drug violence and anti-gang violence campaigns as well as highlight urban communities’ needs, which has helped raise awareness about social issues that often go overlooked by mainstream media.

Cheryl Keyes employs ethnomusicology, folklore and cultural studies techniques in her book Rap Music and Street Consciousness to examine hip hop history. She takes a multi-pronged approach in her analysis that encompasses fashion trends, radio play, sampling laws as well as issues like sexism, racism, gang violence associated with some forms of rap music. Furthermore, Keyes addresses how commercialization has erased its social, political, and economic context from which this genre emerged.