This blog post is dedicated to Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor. Rhyme in Power!
Rap has been a global presence since the early nineties and continues to grow as the culture and technology grow. Asia, the UK, and Canada are probably the top three countries that consume the culture other than the U.S. Through technological advances Hip Hop Culture is able to reach people who never had access to it. The prevalence of phones and the internet has given impoverished people the opportunity to see the culture and learn the lyrics to their favorite raps. With the click of a button a young person in Australia can watch an emcee from the Midwest and learn their style and build off of that. We can see more of an artist as a person via Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. We can see their day-to-day activities and become invested in the person making us more open-minded to the type of music that particular artist creates. Children in Africa can learn the latest Atlanta dances and young Black-Americans can see what dances young Africans are doing in their homeland. This is the good side of technology; connecting with others and learning something from new experiences outside of your own culture and society.
Hip Hop in 2016 is reaching audiences that probably never knew what Rapping, dee jaying, and emceeing were. I may be wrong but everybody knows about graffiti but they may not necessarily associate it with Hip Hop Culture. The hard part is filtering out the bad Rap from the great Rap and making sure that the good Rap gets out there to the globe. I haven’t been overseas in over ten years but it’s safe to say that there aren’t any media conglomerates that have a monopoly on the music industry. So that means no iHeartRadio playing the same five songs all day long. A lot of those outlets are streaming platforms or some type of independent underground station that still allows for the Dee Jay to do his job and show his or her skills on the turntables instead of button pushing all day. The other countries look to the U.S. as the Hip Hop mecca and we are currently putting out subpar work on the mainstream levels. Another good thing about technology is that we can access music at our own discretion.
The real Hip Hop Heads overseas can stream, download, and subscribe to various platforms in order to hear the type of Rap/Hip Hop music they want to listen to and vice-versa. We can listen to whomever we want on those same music sharing platforms and we can download anything we want with a simple click. That’s what it means to be an underground emcee in 2016. Other countries look at what they see on television as a way to interpret what we do, how we act, and how we rhyme here in North America. So if those images are bad or unflattering some may believe that’s how Rap and Hip Hop is supposed to be done. While some may get the good Rap there are others who will still get the bad Rap and these images and videos live on the internet forever. So if young Pirya, Haru, Amelia, or Jaylen are scowering the internet looking for a creative way to express themselves make sure you’re IG, Twitter, YouTube channel, or Podcast is something worth following, watching, or listening too.