Music has been a means for people to come together and connect for over many decades.
For me, the music I listen to comes from various parts of the world whilst also listening to a vast amount of genres such as punk rock, pop and musical theatre. I love how music can be something that people can relate to, I myself have always found music as something I turned to during difficult times so does many other people.
Cultural appropriation can be defined as the ‘adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture’ (Turnbull, 2019). For over a decade, rap music has evolved into what we know today with so many artists arising from the shadows. Some of the most success rappers include Eminem, Drake, Asap Rocky, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar.
Rap is a global genre originating in New York City during the 70’s, rap incorporates “rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular”, to the sound of an instrumental backing. Rap was first used during the slave trade, so slaves could articulate their creative intellect as a form of entertainment (Blanchard, 2019). Years later, rap music was formally pioneered by Jamaican ‘Kool DJ Herc’ in New York’s South Bronx in 1973 where it originated from African American forms of music, including jazz, soul, gospel and reggae. (Blanchard, 2019).
One of the most successful rappers in this era is Eminem. During Eminem’s childhood he spoke about poverty and allegations of abuse. At the age of 14, he began rapping in local clubs in Detroit. He then quit school and wanted to make a name for himself so he started rapping as Eminem. Eminem uses his music as an outlet from what he has gone through however, he has had many controversies throughout the years.
During his most recent album Kamikaze it showcases homophobic lines during some songs. He’s also been accused of using homophobic references in his 2013 ‘Rap God’. Many have also accused him of white-washing Black African American culture. White-washing is term used for when artist Americanise / Westernise Black African American Culture. In his songs he talks about he benefits a lot from being white in his songs;
“Look at my sales, Let’s do the math If I was black I would’ve sold half” (White America)
“Became a commodity / Because I’m W‐H‐I‐T‐E / ’Cause MTV was so friendly to me”. (I’m Back)
As rapping was traditionally music that Black African Americans used as a way to communicate their stories during the slave trade. Black culture was also an appropriation for a white audience which lead Eminem to success.
From law disputes to contriver Eminem is seen to be one of the most successful rappers in the world although he is white. He has sold more than 200 million records across the world.
- Blanchard, B 2019 (2019). The Social Significance of Rap & Hip Hop Culture. Standford University [online] Available at: https://web.stanford.edu/class/e297c/poverty_prejudice/mediarace/socialsignificance.htm [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
- Turnbull, S 2019, ‘Global Music’, University of Wollongong, [lecture]. Delivered 19 August 2019.
- Dailybruin.com. (2019). What does ‘whitewashed’ mean?. [online] Available at: http://dailybruin.com/1997/11/17/what-does-whitewashed-mean/ [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
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- En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Kamikaze (Eminem album). [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze_(Eminem_album) [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
- 8tracks. (2019). tumblr worthy. [online] Available at: https://8tracks.com/kaitlin44k/tumblr-worthy [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
- Biography.com. (2019). Eminem – Songs, Albums & Family – Biography. [online] Available at: https://www.biography.com/musician/eminem [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
- Pitchfork.com. (2019). Eminem and Rag & Bone Collaborate on New Fashion Collection | Pitchfork. [online] Available at: https://pitchfork.com/news/eminem-and-rag-and-bone-collaborate-on-new-fashion-collection/ [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].
- Twitter.com. (2019). Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) on Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/eminem [Accessed 1 Sep. 2019].