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Riginal and Contemporary Rap: One and the Same

In: English and Literature

Submitted By faisercrane
Words 548
Pages 3
Identity-formation by white oppression is something that is still existent in today’s music genre: rap but not a total focus in contemporary rap music much like it was in the late 1970’s, the 1980’s, and 90’s. Even though, some rap music of today strays from the lyrics of white oppression, most rap music still expresses the means of identity-formation affected by social construction just like original rap music. Contemporary, twenty-first century, rap music expresses two concerns: social construction on identity-formation and the life of the rapper. Rap music, when it first broke out, was viewed by society as a deviance from social construction, and the rappers were aware- but they in way- did not care. In King of Rock, a rap song released in 1985 by Run-D.M.C, the rappers’ lyrics, “I won’t stop rockin’ till I retire…It’s all brand new, never ever old school…Cause they don’t make no songs like these!”, shows that they know their music is different, but no matter what they will not change because they were content with the new identity-formation. A contemporary song that shows that same idea of the “I don’t care attitude” towards social construction on identity-formation is Look at Me Now by Chris Brown, featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. This song was released in 2011. The whole song is about how the rappers do not care about what other people think because the life their living and who they are, they are completely contempt and satisfied with. “You ain’t never gonna stop me… Look at me now, look at me now. I’m getting paper.” These lyrics claim that no one is going to change who they are- their identity- because who they are and what they are doing now, getting “paper” which is money, is showing that they are successful. Early rappers expressed their lives through their raps. Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady explain’s his life through his lyrics. “Will Smith don’t gotta cuss in his raps to sell records; Well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too!” Here, Eminem made a reference to when Will Smith made a point that he does not have to be explicit with words in his rap songs to sell records and win awards, but Eminem clearly states that he will write his songs how he wants. This not only refers to his life events, but also refers back to the means of identity-formation. I Made It (Cash Money Heroes), a contemporary rap song, by Kevin Rudolf featuring Birdman, Jay Sean and Lil Wayne that expresses the life of the rappers. Essentially, this song is about overcoming obstacles and reaching one’s dream, but the lyrics go into detail about each rappers’ certain life experiences. A particular lyric is sung by Jay Sean, “Funny how things can change. They didn't believe in me then… Now look who cashed in. They didn't wanna know me back then, But ever since I done gone platinum, Everything turned around,” explains getting his music out to the public was hard and getting on the top charts was a challenge, but since he never gave up and finally his songs hit the top charts, his fame took off, and his whole life has changed.

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