Rap, Black Rage, and Racial Difference

Abstract
Ice Cube "What's a brother gotta do to get a message through to the Red, White, and Blue?" Ice-T Rap music has emerged as one of the most distinctive and controversial music genres of the past decade. A significant part of hip hop culture, [1] rap articulates the experiences and conditions of African-Americans living in a spectrum of marginalized situations ranging from racial stereotyping and stigmatizing to struggle for survival in violent ghetto conditions. In this cultural context, rap provides a voice to the voiceless, a form of protest to the oppressed, and a mode of alternative cultural style and identity to the marginalized. Rap is thus not only music to dance and party to, but a potent form of cultural identity. It has become a powerful vehicle for cultural political expression, serving as the "CNN of black people" (Chuck D), or upping the high-tech ante, as their "satellite communication system" (Heavy D). It is an informational medium to tune into, one that describes the rage of African-Americans facing growing oppression, declining opportunities for advancement, changing moods on the streets, and everyday life as a matter of sheer survival. In turn, it has become a cultural virus, circulating its images, sounds, and attitude throughout the culture and body politic.
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