> The sociological perspective is described as seeing the general in the particular. In this essay I will attempt to apply the sociological perspective to analyze song lyrics from the first verse of the song My Block by Tupac Shakur (see appendix for lyrics). Tupac (1971-1996) is the most famous gangster rap artist of all times. He was well known for his lyrics and their ability to express the grief of the Black community. He was an advocate for Black rights and very much against the societal system and class societies. Many say he exaggerated the conditions under which the Black community and the lower class were in because he was a wealthy man rapping about suppression. To other’s he was part of the petite-bourgeoisie, but he was consistent in attempting to better the conditions under which the lower class were in. > Initially intended for the lower class Black communities, his songs were appreciated by members of all races and classes. In the essay I will try to explain the concepts of authority, sub-culture, roles, social-class and class-consciousness; I will then apply these concepts to the lyrics of My Block. > Tupac's position in the Black community was a highly regarded one in that it constituted the responsibility of representing Blacks in the media. Also, being from the lower class himself he had knowledge of the conditions in which the lower class were living in, specifically the Black community, and was able to relate to and comment on them. I chose to analyze his lyrics because I feel they apply to many societies. The song My Block is a song about Black struggles, and the way of life Blacks are made to lead. However when this song is applied to the Marxian ideology, it can relate to the conditions of the proletariat, in the bourgeoisie capitalist society. > Because I said so
> Max Weber defined a form of authority known as rational-legal authority, which is “power legitimized by legally enacted rules and regulations” ( Macionis and Gerber 424). This authority can be enacted through the law, legislations and governing bodies such as the government. All these forms of authority are controlled by the bourgeoisie. If we relate this concept back to Marx’s class society, we can see that this is the type of authority that was used to suppress the proletariat, which would then be transformed into power that would benefit the upper class and bourgeoisie. In the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, we can see an indirect reference to this type of authority in modern day usage. In one particular line he says: > “The three strikes law is drastic, And certain death for us ghetto bastards.” >Here Tupac is commenting on the California three strikes law and the effect it had on the lower classes. The three strikes law is a law which came into effect in California, March 1994. It said that an individual committing a misdemeanour up to three times could be charged twenty-five years to life in prison; no matter what the offence may have been . The law was implemented in an attempt to answer the call of California’s rising crime rate. The implicit message, however, was for it to act as a form of social control, and to put the lower class in a position where they would be forced to either commit more large scale crimes, which in turn would result in death or life in prison, or to become part of the social system as proletarians. > Tupac uses the term “ghetto bastards” to highlight the point that the audience he is targeting are members of the poor-low class. This group hustles to stay alive; they choose not to sell their labour. Taking this factor into consideration, one might say that the group does not fall into the category of proletarians, who do sell their labour. Referring this back to the three strikes law, a law like this would definitely have an effect on Tupac’s target audience because it would restrain them from finding their means of survival. > As mentioned, authority is a tool used by the bourgeoisie...
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