ooc: Ok, so I'm a little new at this whole thing (blogging). This is pretty much my first time doing something for class. My hands are shaking and I'm still a bit unsure about pretty much everything. I dunno, I figured you all should know that. I’m going to try to connect my thoughts as much as possible, but please tell me if something seems unclear. Also, I’m acknowledging that I don’t listen to hip hop often and that I’m probably not any kind of expert on anything Thanks.
I'm taking this class called Studies in African American Literature. A majority of the literature was in rhythm with this idea of the blues, especially during the days of the Harlem Renaissance. We read lots of Langston Hughes, Zora Neil Hurston, and W. E.B. DuBois, watched some piece preformed by LenaHorne and Billie Holiday. A big theme that seems to run through them all was this pattern of what Tricia Rose was referring to as "decline and despair". And while she was referring to the white exodus in the post-world war days, I'm going to make the argument that it is at least related to this concept of The Blues. While just like all things change, this concept of decline and despair, which has been a sort of underlying motive of the Blues movement, can be applied still to this very day for the "underground" hip hop.
We always talk about America being a melting pot (and from this point on, I’m going to be talking about strictly USAmerican culture, as I’m not any kind of fool to try to generalize hip hop in other countries to that of USA). Many USAmericans feel as though our culture is a mix of all different types of culture from all around the world. Capitalism plays a big part in this. I think because we have this sense of American Capitalism that the cultural products things that enter or emerge in this country are constantly viewed as having potential to be this sort of marketed product. Hip hop (in my opinion), growing out of what I call The Blues Culture, is no different than any other cultural product marketable in America. While the commercialization of hip hop is great for the makers of money, there is still a huge gap between those who listen to hip hop and those understand and make hip hop. This was part of Rose’s point in both of the pieces. This commercialization of what was once the improvisation of hip hop has not only left hip hop close to dead, but is also helping to perpetuate this stereotypic vision of rappers and hip hop. The author describes that “There's a long history of a particular pleasure in consuming the ideas of black-ghetto-excess dysfunction…this idea that a certain kind of sexual deviance or violent behavior defines black culture has had a huge market in commercial mainstream culture…” Rose argues that because we as USAmericans share mass media and pop culture, the images that people understand and are faced with are the repetitive images of the stereotypic rapper. She goes forward to infer that this “black-ghetto-excess dysfunction” that turns the once-unique hip-hop which grew out of The Blues (again, my argument) of the Harlem Renaissance into this stereotypical, marketable, mass-produced and disingenuous-to-its-roots marketable product.