It might be, but it won’t be hip hop unless it has an alternative culture. The hip hop culture in Europe is really about dance culture, particularly in the hip hop scene. People get together and dance, dance and dance, and the whole thing starts to develop into something else. In the late 1990s, this was what hip hop was all about. People are going to parties, going to shows, going to see people together with similar interests (like hip hop) and the whole community develops into something like a dance group. All of that has gone away and everything is now about the music.
So you are arguing that the music, in the sense of hip hop itself, was already a social dance before it gained its popularity, much like all of us have developed other cultures since time immemorial.
Absolutely. It’s like saying that it’s only poetry that has developed outside of Western cultures. It’s the same thing.
Why is there a stigma on hip hop and black culture in general now?
We’re still seeing the same old stereotypes. There hasn’t really been a cultural shift in the last 10 years but there is still the stigma and there are still the issues of racism, whether it be towards African Americans or Asians. What I think is happening is the public is more aware but the music industry is still very much about the image of the rappers. That’s what’s happening and for a while, that is probably true, but right now, with hip hop becoming mainstream, the industry is just trying to rebrand and make it sound less racist. They’re all trying to make it seem like hip hop is just the music and not the artists. That’s where the confusion comes from.
What do you mean by rebranding?
One issue with hip hop that I’ve had is what you may think, the label rap or rap music, they still have the image of hip hop as the bad music, because of the music that people want to make about it. They’re still trying to make hip hop seem like a cool place, not like some kind of ghetto thing, but they’re still looking at it as some type of cool place. They’re not really trying to break it down, because it’s really hard to break it down, and they don’t necessarily have the marketing budget to really sell it in a new way.
I know of a couple musicians who do. A lot of the people who are into rap or rap music know
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