The Signature of Hip Hop: A Sociological Perspective

E. Jerry Persaud


Exploring the conditions and origins of Rap music and Hip Hop culture from a contextual standpoint facilitates a sociological perspective that is often missing. Who were some of the key players? What sort of agency and experiences informed their creativity under conditions that were marginal and wretchedly underdeveloped vis-à-vis the wider society in which they exist? Is it the structure of capitalism, race, or space that germinated the grounds for hip hop culture? This paper draws on various ‘conversations’ and consciousness to shape a narrative of early hip hop culture and its exponential growth to a global phenomenon. Hip hop remain an intriguing cultural enigma while still very profitable for many of those involved. It is often oversimplified in analysis, stereotyped in the wider society, criminalized by authorities, and receives lopsided coverage in the mass media. Yet, hip hop culture has managed to grow from the racial/spatial confines of the South Bronx, New York to touch almost every institution and ethnicity in the United States and across the globe, almost! There is a sociological obligation to examine this culture as this paper attempts to do.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782