Hip Hop Culture, by Tomek, 2004

Hip Hop Culture (Tomek)

The prospects that hip-hop culture offers to the young.

The unique phenomenon of hip-hop culture lies in its easy availability to people that want to be involved in it. One does not have to be qualified professional to prove successful in this field. However, certificates are irrelevant, the inexhaustible creativity is strongly recommended if not necessary. In this essay I will examine the prospects that hip-hop culture offers to young people from the point of view of a person deeply involved in it, emphasizing my own opinion.

As most people know hip-hop culture consists of four core elements, which are: rapping (singing), DJing(using turntables as an instrument), break-dancing and graffiti. This trend has been created in late 70’s in USA. For thousands of people it was a breakthrough that was, and still is, to change their lives for ever. It all started in America but it rapidly expanded into a huge worldwide movement. Now hip-hop is a commonplace everywhere but its development is particularly interesting in the countries of Eastern Europe, where everything started very late—a bit more than a decade ago.
In Poland after overthrowing the communism (in 1989) the western culture had been assimilated and mixed with Polish mindset. The outset of this weird blend is astonishing. It made polish hip-hop a voice of young people that conveyed their message in totally uncensored way.

However, the four elements seem to diverse a lot, they are much alike. They are all based on persistent training and introducing your own ideas, which you could more or less describe as having the style. The whole matter does not require any input of money and special training.

As for music the MCs(master of the ceremony) and DJs(disc jockey) were the first to be noticed by society, although they had to face a plenty of flack in the beginning. This music is about real lives of young people in the post-communistic estates. Its powerful appeal lies in its honesty and straightforwardness. Probably it is the reason for the success of the performers. In fact, currently rap artists are being treated on equal terms with most popular rock and pop stars. From my point of view rap is incomparable with other genres. The argument in favor of this is that texts for most of the singers are being written by professionals, while rap’s fundamental rule is originality of the lyrics. In actual fact rap music is so popular today that many famous pop singers want to have a featuring of rap artist in their songs (for instance Natalia Kukulska & TEDE). Yet some regard it as a betrayal and call it hip-pop.

The second—appreciated trend in hip-hop culture is graffiti, which stems from painting trains and walls around the city. Its new face is a bit different. Above all it is always legal and usually well—paid. Many people pay graffiti-artists to cover the walls, huge posters or other surfaces with graffiti showing the logo of their company or the name of some event. The other possibility for graffiti—artist is becoming a computer graphic designer. Obviously there are many opponents, who maintain that real graffiti should be always illegal and representing your own style. The reality is that you just can not paint trains illegally for the whole life. You will either be caught or stop because of the lack of money for cans (paints in aerosol).

Break dancing is the element, which is commercially last (in Poland) but definitely not least. In general show-business is not willing to provide money for this kind of art. If someone put money in bboying(the other name for break-dancing) it would surely affected its level and popularity. The possibilities are huge, while breaking is perfect for various advertisements, shows etc.

The elements of hip-hop require a huge input of fresh ideas. It is not for boring people. The concept of this culture is to promote living your life in your own way. That can certainly be beneficial. Not only is it important for people that want to adopt hip-hop as a way of life or job but also for those that are concerned about working on themselves. This culture instills certain habits and mindset that can prove useful in break-dancing as well as in private life.

This is not to say that it is the only way that one should choose. It is to show that we are not determined to live in dullness among grey and dirty blocks of flats. We can do whatever we want with our lives and hip-hop enables us to make them more colorful.