Hip Hop Music

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In the following essay I will be applying Arjun Appadurai’s theory of global cultural flows and social imagination to the two African hip hop case studies written by Kunzler and Badsha. I will be analysing the case studies with regard to Appadurai and his theories.

Appadurai’s theory was to look at the effects of globalisation on culture and how it has affected the society. He makes five very important points towards global cultural flows. He thought of it as different streams that flow into and intersect each other. Many of these different flows conflict one another as well as overlap. These various flows reflected upon the way globalisation is on culture. The five points Appadurai makes with regards to the globalisation of culture are: ethnoscapes, technoscapes, financescapes, mediascapes and ideoscapes.( Appadurai, 1996) Ethnoscapes was the constant flow of humans. Examples of this are tourists, refugees, etc. Technoscapes was the way technology evolved and how this information reached different countries. Financescapes was explained by Appadurai to be the global capital; he also states that the flow of capital and the speed at which it flows is greatly unpredictable. Mediascapes refers to the media. The media has evolved to an extent that what the media portrays is considered to be truthful. He suggests that private and public interests throughout the world have control over media. Ideoscapes is the ideology. Appadurai likes to view it as ideas about politics. An example of an ideoscape would be democracy. Ideoscapes and mediascapes are linked closely together. ( Appadurai, 1996)

Apartheid was one of South Africa’s major setbacks. Apartheid was when people use to be classified by race. There were three races namely whit, coloured and black. The whites were the most privileged and the blacks were the least. The coloureds were basically in the middle. Due to Apartheid people were not allowed to go to certain areas as these areas were reserved for the whites. Democracy began in the early 1990’s. This was when the population of South Africa were given equal rights as to the whites. This process was very traumatic and dramatic in the sense that people has to undergo a drastic change. They had plenty of opportunities and freedom that they did not previously have. This was all too much for them to handle as to their previous lives. Democracy changed the environment people lived in by allowing them access to education, living areas and many other opportunities. Change was drastically evident with regards to technology and the way people were living around the world. Due to this rapid transformation people are still trying to change the way they live and are finding it hard to adjust to the political economic ways of life. According to Appadurai’s theory on ideoscapes the case study involving democracy and the political change is an example that his theory is evidently true and happening all around us in present day. ( Appadurai, 1996)

In Badsha’s article he says that old skool rules and new skool breaks, this refers to the past and present as well as the different stages of hip hop music and its development. Old skool rap represents the culture and unity of the community whereas new skool is more about the money, drugs, violence and sex. The ‘rule’ in old skool rules could have referred to restrictions and rules therefore it can be closely linked with Apartheid. In new skool breaks the ‘break’ can mean a break through. This could have been more positive than negative. For example the democracy and freedom. The new skool hip hop artists are not very society driven therefore the break could also mean the divisions in the society. (Badsha, 2003) Most of the old skool hip hop artists were coloureds living in the Cape Flats. They were respected by the society for acquiring culture. The new skool artists are mostly young white youth from middle and upper middle class backgrounds. These new hip hop artists are sometimes only...
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