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"Can I Live"

A interpretation of Hip Hop through the Socio-Spatial Dialectic

Mariah Hoffman

on 7 May 2011

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Transcript of "Can I Live"

"Can I live?" How Hip Hop Reflects/criticizes the Socio-Spacial Dialectic By Mariah Hoffman and Dylan Duniho "Housing projects are a great metaphor for the government's relationship to poor folks: these huge islands built mostly in the middle of nowhere, designed to wherehouse lives. People are still people, though, so we turned the projects into real communities" -Jay Z, Decoded (pg 155) Socio-Spacial Dialectic:
'Reaganomics' Reagan advocated social Darwinism, a theory that allows the rich to feel justified in their constant exploitation of the people deemed “less fit” to live. Reaganomics is essentially “the presumption that economic growth was simply a matter of stimulating the entrepreneurial realm with economic rewards” "For black communities, the 1970's set up the prerequitisies for devastation in the 1980's: economic restructuring, social dislocation, and urban regentrification. Through incipient globalization, deregulation, and loosened trade restrictions, there was the loss of manufacturing jobs, especially automobile and steel labor that paid the bills..." Holler if You Hear Me (34) "Space is a social product that arises from purposeful social action and the spaces that are created are not simply containers for social activity, but they actually shape the activities that occur within them." "In 1971, the US Army estimated that 10 percent of our soldiers
used heroin while in 'Nam and that 5 percent were hard-core
junkies. Some black GI's, returning home to an uncertain
future, brought heroin back with them as a hedge against
unemployment. In doing so, they participated in inagurating a
new wave of black criminal entrepreneurship- a street corner
response to President Nixon's rhetoric encouraging black capitalism
in lieu of government aid" Hip Hop America (35) Hip Hop Literature: "Heroin couldn't have run wild in the streets without widespread police and political corruption aiding its dissemination. Hand in hand with this moral failure, the federal government under President Nixon cut back on Democratic antipoverty programs and systematically ignored the economic development pleas of America's urbanites, whose jobs were fleeing to the suburbs" Hip Hop America (36) "By 1992 it was estimated that as many as 150,000 people
were employed in New York City's drug trade." Hip Hop
America (40) "The crack industry became able employers of teenagers, filling
the economic vacuum created by the ongoing loss of working-class
jobs to the suburbs and then to poor Third World countries"
Hip Hop America (40) "From those initial street reports, hip hop would chronicle, celebrate
and be blamed for the next level of drug culture development"
Hip Hop America (40) "During the eight years of Reagan's presidency, the ripple effect of crack flowed through all the social service agencies of our country- welfare, child care, Medicaid, you name the area of concern and crack's impact could be felt in it" Hip Hop America (41) "The world became defined by the hood, the block, or the corner where the search for drugs or their addictive loved one went on everyday" Hip Hop America (41) "As a consequence for many, materialism replaced spirituality as the definer of life's worth... The go-go capitalism of Reagan's America (and its corporate greed) flowed down to the streets stripped of its jingoistic patriotism and fake piety. The unfettered free market of crack generated millions and stoked a voracious appetite for "goods", not good." Hip Hop America (41) "Gangsta rap (or reality rap or whatever descriptive phase you like) is a direct by-product of the crack explosion" Hip Hop America (42) "Another consequence of the crack plague was an evil increase in the numbers of incarcerated black males.." A non-profit called Sentencing Project did a study saying that from 1990 said that one in four African American between twenty and twenty-none-610,000 men in total- was either behind bars or on probation. IN comparison, only 436,000 were enrolled in higher education." Hip Hop America (43) "There is elemental nihilism on the most controversial crack-era hip hop that wasn't concocted by the rappers but reflects the mentality and fears of young Americans of every color and class living a exhausting, edgy existence, in and out of big cities. Like crack dealing, the nihilism may lie down, but it wont disappear, because the social conditions that inspired the trafficking and the underlying artistic impulse that ignited nihilistic rap have not disappeared. And because, deep in the American soul, it speaks to us and we like the sound of its voice." Hip Hop America (48) What is. What Spaces Inner Cities Prisons Corners SOCIETY SPACE Sources: What Creates Spaces What Spaces Create RAP HIP HOP ? RAP Graffitti DJ / Mixing Breaking 1. Violence 2. Distrust for Authority 3. Drugs 4. Materialsim/NIHILISM 5. COnditions of Poverty 6. POLITICS / RACISM THEMES Public Housing How Does HIP Hop manifest itself? Social Relations Gangster Socially Pop GRIOT Commerical Ghettocentric Consious Music Spoken Word Activism CULTURE IDENTITY Materialsim Tattoos Clothing Thoughts on spaces
by jay-z: Capitalism Marx and hip hop http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110424/ap_en_mu/ml_libya_revolution_rap Marx would argue that hip hop is a form of class rebellion,
a rebellion that arises from the lower class as a result of being
alienated from the capitalists and pushed aside in favor of
profit and the continuination of the mode of production. JAY-Z Common Will smith Mos def Dr. dre 50 cent HISTORY New York- 1970-80's Suburbia While Marx's ideas were manifested in print, his ideas
are still relevant today through the art form that is hip hop. Rebellion Modern Day Example-Hip Hop as Class Revolution: Relevant Videos Crack epidemic Reaganomics Politics thoughts on Spaces
by Nelson George Cornel West Cornel West/ Mos def Michael Dyson How would a capitalist turn Hip Hop as
class rebellion into Profit? COMMOdification! "If there was any breath in the genre of Hip hop, it was now, virtually extinct. Where you may have been able to point to a wider variety of conscious artist in the 80, or early 90′s, with the turn of the millennium, it seems like Hip hop is now even more so a narrow lane of superficiality, short sightedness, and the echoes of guns, bling, and hoes. The holy trinity of all that is commercially expedient." - Vernon Graham, exploretruth.com What is it? According to Marxist definition, commodification is "the transformation of relationships, formerly untainted by commerce, into commercial relationships, of exchange, of buying and selling. How does this happen in HIP hop? Through the creation of commerical Hip hop What is commonly reffered to as club music, radio music, and pop rap
turned hip hop into a commodity bought and sold by the capialsit to turn a profit from it. By turning Hip Hop music into something deemed popular by discovering what sells and then funneling the music into that format, the music loses its cultural distinctivness and uniqueness in favor of something that can be bought and sold as a commodity. What was once a way for the expolited class to rebel and bring light to issues pertaining to them and the spaces they inhabit, now was a way to make money; their "problems" were now a commodity. the Music:

2Pac. “Changes.” 2Pac: Greatest Hits. Death Row, 1998. CD.
50 Cent. “What Up Gangsta.” Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Shady Records/Aftermath Records/Interscope Records, 2003. CD.
Dr.Dre, Snoop Dogg, Akon. “Kush.” Interscope Records, 2010. MP3.
Dr. Dre. “N**** Wit A Gun.” The Chronic. Death Row Records, 1992. CD.
Eminem. “White America.” The Eminem Show. Aftermath Records, 2002. CD.
Eminem. “Drug Ballad.” The Marshall Mathers LP. Aftermath Ent./Interscope Records, 2000. CD.
Eminem. “Kill You.” The Marshall Mathers LP. Aftermath Ent./Interscope Records, 2000. CD.
Fabolous, Nate Dogg, Paul Cain. “Po Po.” Real Talk. Atlantic Recording Corp, 2004. CD.
The Game, Ice Cube. “State of Emergency.” L.A.X. Geffen Records, 2008. CD.
The Game. “Money.” L.A.X. Geffen Records, 2008. CD.
Grandmaster Flash. “The Message.” The Message. Sugar Hill Records, 2004. CD.
Grandmaster Flash. “White Lines.” The Best of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, & The Furious Five. Warner Strategic, 2005. CD.
Jay-Z. “Hard Knock Life.” Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life. Def Jam/RAL, 1998. CD.
Jay-Z. “Heart of the City.” The Blueprint. Roc-A-Fella Records, 2001. CD.
KRS-One. “Love’s Gonna Getcha.” Edutainment. Boogie Down Productions, 1990. CD.
Lupe Fiasco. “Hip Hop Saved My Life.” Lupe Fiasco’s the Cool. Atlantic Recording, 2007.CD.
Mos Def. “Life In Marvelous Times.” The Estatic. Downtown Music, 2009. CD.
Mos Def. “Quiet Dog.” The Ecstatic. Downtown Music, 2009. CD.
Nas. “Rule.” Stillmatic. Sony Music Entertainment, 2001. CD.
The Notorious B.I.G. “Juicy.” Ready to Die. Bad Boy Records, 1994. CD.
NWA. “Fuck Tha Police.” Straight Outta Compton’. Priortiy Records, 1988. CD.
The Roots. “The Fire.” How I Got Over. The Island Def Jam Music, 2010. CD.


George, N. (1998). Hip Hop America. New York: Viking.

Jay-Z. (2010). Decoded. Random House.

Dyson, M. E. (2001). Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. New York: Basic Civitas Books.


Encyclopedia of Marxism. (n.d.). Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved May 6, 2011, from http://www.marxists.org/glossary/ Images:
50 Cent. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.hollywoodgrind.com/images/2009/3/50-cent-release-rick-ross- tape.jpg>.
Common. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://obeygiant.com/images/common- with-hope.jpg>.
Dr. Dre. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://handson.provocateuse.com/images/photos/mos_def_08.jpg>.
Ferrari. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.webwombat.com.au/motoring/news_reports/images/ferrari-f430-1- big.JPG>.
Jay Z. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://cdn.pastemagazine.com/www/articles/2011/01/27/jay-z-2008-02-28- 300x300.jpg?1296127933>.
Microphone. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://samahangilocano- ciasi.webs.com/mic.jpg>.
Tupac. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://betterthankanye.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/tattoo_tupac_tattoos-3.jpg>.
Will Smith. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://cdn.wiznation.com/files/2010/08/will-smith-fresh.jpg>.

Jay Z roca wear. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__4AWx_y4H_w/S_QD_wfWAKI/AAAAAAAAAIE/ TjHfbn0gYY0/s1600/Rocawear_145_img.jpg>.
Rick Ross. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.oohwee.net/wp- content/uploads/2011/01/Real-Diamond-HipHop-Jewelry-150x150.jpg>.
Breakdancing. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://fc09.deviantart.net/fs10/i/2006/093/f/8/Hip_Hop_culture_by_IanAnderson .jpg>.
Rocawear. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.officialpsds.com/images/thumbs/Rocawear-Logo-psd33859.png>.
Parental Advisory Logo. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://bis.midco.net/kaylahdenae/images/parental-advisory-explicit-lyrics.jpg>.
Kids. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://caracazomedia.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/dscn0987_2.jpg>.
Lil Jon. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/- yLJpsxgk1nQ/TZt- EKuWLKI/AAAAAAAAAMU/KgsZJJj_UjY/s1600/Lil%252BJon%252Bcrunk %252Baint%252Bdead%252Bchain.jpg>.
50 Cent with shoes. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://foto.mv4u.net/data/media/17/50_Cent-photo_002.jpg>.
Karl Marx. Digital image. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.kgbclothing.co.uk/images/designCanvas/karlMarxDesignCanvas.jpg >.

"Thoughts on Commercial Hip Hop & The New Roots Album." Explore Truth. Web. 06 May
2011. <http://exploretruth.com/etc/interviews-etc/thoughts-on-hiphop-new-roots-album/>.

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