Comparative Essay

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Pamela Speed
Alison Teichgraeber
English 1301
October 10, 2010
A Look into the Life of Hip-Hop
The misunderstood subculture of music that many have come to know as “hip-hop” is given a critical examination by James McBride in his essay Hip-Hop Planet. McBride provides the reader with direct insight into the influence that hip-hop music has played in his life, as well as the lives of the American society. From the capitalist freedom that hip-hop music embodies to the disjointed families that plague this country, McBride explains that hip-hop music has a place for everyone. The implications that he presents in this essay about hip-hop music suggest that this movement symbolizes and encapsulates the struggle of various individual on multiple continents. McBride introduces the origin of his understanding of hip-hop in a very unique manner. Being a student of Columbia University McBride describes what many would consider, a disconnect from his lower income and less educated black counterparts. The feeling that he describes as an African-American being introduced to hip-hop is one of incomprehension, as well as being somewhat ashamed. The feeling of being ashamed really sets the tone for the essay, because by judging the hip-hop culture on the surface one might find it to go against the societal norm; many would even call it morally questionable. The same disconnect that McBride acknowledges that very night at Columbia, is the same disconnect that many traditional individuals find with the hip-hop culture and what it represents. It was when McBride realized that this revolution of music was not just a phase in American society that he decided to try to make sense of it. McBride makes a powerful statement that acknowledges the point in time he came to this realization, “to many of my generation, despite all attempts to exploit it, belittle it, numb it, classify it, and analyze it, hip hop remains an enigma, a clarion call, a cry of “I am” from the youth of the...
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