This paper will explore the themes of performing race in hip-hop music. Through the genesis of the hip-hop industry in the Bronx in the 1970s, rap music has become aligned with afrocentric themes. The music spoke to inner cities and often held themes of economic abandonment, racism, and poverty. Today, non-black hip-hop artists are entering the rap scene. However, the mainstream hip-hop industry is still dominated by black artists. We explore the idea of performing race, specifically performing blackness. Non-black artists do this by dressing a certain way, speaking a certain way, and moving a certain way. We have chosen to identify three case studies to help us explore these ideas and understand how race is still important in the hip-hop industry today. Our case studies include Mellow Man Ace, Jin, and Brother Ali. While success is a complex term, we have discovered that race still follows a predictive outcome in monetary success and fame. The hip-hop industry is always in dynamic change. Our paper attempts to open the dialogue for talking about race and hip-hop music.
- Exploring the Implications of Race in Hip-Hop: How Race Affects Mainstream Acceptance
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