Hip-hop is widely accepted to have originated in New York City of America. Today, it has spread across the world, and can be found in almost every country on earth, from English speaking countries like the UK or Australia, to different cultures in many parts of Africa, and Asia.
The genre’s spread effectively demonstrates
the idea of globalisation – the spread of ideas and other resources across different cultures. From its underground beginnings in the USA, hip-hop became extremely popular, and its spread was assisted by America’s massive influence over the global village. Influence over other cultures, which dominates the traditional culture of other countries, is commonly known as cultural imperialism. This is a bleak outlook, which suggests a total smothering of the less influential culture, and a homogenization of world cultures.
In reality, I would argue that the influence from America’s hip-hop culture has not completely blanketed the world, but provided it with the basis for members of different societies to express themselves through a new genre of music. Evidence for this can be observed in the way that hip-hop has been adopted and hybridised, to express differing ideologies or ideas, and even created multidirectional media flows that feed back into American hip-hop (e.g. American rapper A$AP Nast featuring on a Skepta (UK) track).
Another example is Australian rapper Briggs draws heavily from aggressive American rap sounds, and uses them as a tool to campaign against the plights suffered by Indigenous Australians, and promote awareness of his Yorta-Yorta culture.
I feel that in the case of hip-hop, globalisation has been a positive influence, providing cultures across the world with a new mode of expression (and me with more interesting music and stories).
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- O’Shaughnessy, M., 2012. ‘Globalisation’, in Media and society. 5th ed. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
- Tomlinson, J., 1991. Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. 1st ed. London: A&C Black.