All of the articles dealt with hip hop as an industry and how that industry is portrayed to African Americans through the commercialization of hip hop and stereotypes in society. The articles also discuss how that portrayal influences the opinions of African Americans to others and themselves.
The first article, “About a Salary or Reality? – Rap’s Recurrent Conflict” by Alan Light, explains the evolution of hip hop from the various camps to become what it is today – a mix of the gangster rap it was from the beginning and the rap pop that grew out of it. Rappers felt that no matter how graphic they were they would sell albums, and at the same time prove commitment to their street heritage. Many said this was the whole point of rapping. San Francisco rapper Paris said that “[e]verybody gets into rap just to get the dollars or get the fame” (Light 143). Others believe that money and fame should not and have not been the sole reason. Light explains this when he says:
Rap is about giving voice to a black community otherwise underrepresented, if not silent, in the mass media. It has always been and remains … directly connected to the streets from which it came. (144)
Although many hip hop and rap artists are only in it for the money and fame, others are in it for a way to get their message out, taking into account artists like Common and Lupe Fiasco. To these entertainers, money is an added incentive. I feel that many artists should have this way of view, instead of making their songs meaningless just to make money.
The second article, “Commercialization of the Rap Music Youth Subculture” by M. Elizabeth Blair, expresses the point of the use of rap music to sell a product even though advertisers know nothing of the subculture. In 1990, programming and ads were collected from three major networks, in which eleven were said to contain rap. These ads are directed towards a younger audience in ways that do not display the true values and meanings characteristic of the subculture. Although there was a decrease in the use of rap in ads the following year, there is evidence that mass-culture industries are presenting rap in ways that they think audiences will be more receptive to, even though most of the producers have little to no understanding of the subculture. In his introduction to The Rap Attack, Tony Van Der Meer explains why this is a problem when he says that “the expression of Black people is transformed when it is repackaged without any evidence remaining of the Black historical experience” (Blair 497). This is what transpires when people watch television that portrays African Americans in the wrong light since this is how most people are exposed to their lives and cultural differences. The fact that we stereotype others based on what we see in the media is a sad truth in our society. It...