Dietel-McLaughlin / WR 13300 / Fall 2012Research Essay ProposalTim Coen
If hip-hop contains so much explicit material and is so highlycriticized, why is it such a popular, mainstream genre? What makes it a legitimate genre?Why do we listen to hip-hop?
Due to its main audience, adolescents, hip-hop/rap music is recognizedas a legitimate musical genre because it incorporates a theme of struggle and hardship, atheme that adolescents relate very well to.
Possible Main Points in Support of Your Thesis:
Hip-hop/rap music is the modern genre that represents the history of AfricanAmerican music, and the relatable theme of struggle in hip-hop has beenpresent throughout African American music history.
Rap has derived from the earlier African American genres of Spirituals, Jazz, Blues, and R&B. Rap continues the themes and messages thatthose previous genres embodied.2)
hop evolved and changed, becoming what is known as “gansta rap”,
the genre became even more popular and successful. More people began tolisten because gangsta rap spoke of the adversity of the ghettos and the rough
times people faced, a topic that rap’s growing audience was familiar with.
Artists such as Ice Cube, Run DMC, LL Cool J and others rose to
fame, all of who were “gansta” rappers. Their spike in popularity signifi
ed thegrowing audience of rap music.3)
The East Coast vs West Coast Rivalry brought about the highest mediaattention for hip-hop, highlighting two paramount artists, Tupac Shakur andthe Notorious B.I.G. With the publicizing of the feud between the two rappers,more and more listeners drew to one side or another, supporting the artistsassociated with each coast
Despite the rivalry, this time period in hip-hop history was called
the “golden era” of hip
-hop. The rivalry brought about extreme mainstreamexposure to hip-hop, and thus its fan base rose again.
Possible Objections to Your Thesis:
Hip-hop compared to other African American historical genres is still aglorification of controversial practices and morals.
The lyrical content of the hip-hop is much more explicit than thatof Jazz, Blues, or R&B
The lyrics may be different, the overall message and themes behindthe lyrics has remained constant through Jazz, Blues, R&B, and now Hip-hop;that theme is one of fighting oppression and coping with hardships.
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