Hip Hop Culture In Saudi Research Paper


Saudi Arabia is known as the home to the hip hop group, Dark2Men, who competed in MTV Arabia's Hip Hop Na reality show. Break dancing has also become popular as a pastime in the region. Though the exact music distribution and sales numbers are difficult to establish, there is huge listenership especially in satellite TV and radio Gana 45() Hip hop culture in the U.S.

Hip hop has been a part of America and especially the U.S. since the early 1970s when it started as a street subculture in the South Bronx area of New York Demers 41.

It was known to have four elements which were rap music, turntablism which is more popularly known as DJing, break dancing and graffiti art. The hip hop culture was more commonly associated with poverty and violence as a result of the conflict between their style and the authority or law. This conflict is thought to have led to the growth of the culture J. Chang 12()

Hip hop was first a form of self-expression upon which groups could reflect and proclaim alternatives to the status quo. There were also attempt to change the status quo through stability and coherence to the hip hop culture. This was directly embedded in rap music. Other pillars of the culture included MCing and B-boying (bad-boying or breakdance-boying). The hip hop culture spread rapidly to other urban and suburban communities throughout the U.S. And rapidly expanded to other forms such as rhythmic beats made by looping breaks on two turntables, juggling and beatboxing which was a technique used to make beats using the mouth.

Today, hip hop is appreciated by a broader demographic and media critics are more socially and politically conscious of the hip hop culture. It has grown and has been commercialized by groups all over the country J. Chang 18()

Social impact of hip hop culture in the U.S.

Hip hop has been known to have many social impacts on the society. One is that it has created avenues for mass communication within ghettos. The hip hop culture has been used to create influences on the youth especially in the ghettos by supplying messages such as spread of diseases and anti-racist messages. The culture has come to be recognized by economic and political individuals and organizations as the best way to appeal to the disenfranchised youth Cook 106()

Hip hop has also changed the language majorly by developing a distinctive slang that is associated with the culture. Slang words are popularized through rap music in what is referred to as hip hop lyricism which has gained legitimacy in literary and academic circles. Some academics compare satirical works of poets which use mood and imagery to portray the message to hip hop lyricism. They state that hip hop lyricism uses imagery, metaphors, irony, diction, tone and point-of-view as the major ways to portray the message. Just like other literary works can be analyzed for plot, motif and character development, hip hop can also be analyzed in the same way Stokes 170()

Product placement has also been an impact of the hip hop culture and is one way through which the hip hop culture has been commercialized. In order to effectively market their products in ghettos where the hip hop culture is embedded, companies or organizations have had to use strategies such as paying rap musicians to become the faces of the products.

A good example of this is when McDonalds used rappers to advertise their products in their lyrics. Another example is when Busta Rhymes was paid to make a song to popularize Courvoisier Herd 1259.

Other companies have adopted other strategies such as adding graffiti on their packaging. Rappers have also delved into the business world with good examples being Dr. Dre with his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, 50 Cent's Vitamin Water, Jay Z's Izod clothing line and many others.

The hip hop culture has also impacted education. As a result of the successful embedding of the culture in the society, organizations and schools are finding themselves forced to explore the culture and teach it in various ways. Dance studies are teaching break dancing while universities such as Harvard offer classes and hip hop lectures. Others have also made efforts to collect and exhibit historical aspects of the hip hop culture Jeff Chang 64()

Herd (1259)

also reports changes in marketing relationships that were formed between rap musicians and some alcohol brand manufacturers in an attempt to increase the commercialization of the rap music industry Herd 1259.
Marketing of alcohol in rap music has joined other trends such as marketing of foot wear, cars, food, clothing, and other hip hop aesthetics in order to increase sales Herd 1259.

Another reason for change in alcohol use as a result of the hip hop culture is that rap music depicts alcoholism as a norm and encourages beliefs and behaviors regarding alcoholic use among the youth Herd 1259()

The case

Introduction to Mecca Rap

Rap in Jeddah and Mecca came from the early adopters of the hip hop culture in the greater Arabian world who were Moroccans, Algerians and Palestinians. The Arabian hip hop culture was closely inspired by Western hip hop culture particularly in the United States and especially groups such as Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy. It is thought that the hip hop culture in the Arab world was as a result of the youth attempting to find ways to raise their voices in order to be heard. The genre has become popular really fast since the early 1990s when it first began and its influence on the society as a whole has been remarkably large.

It is believed that Arabs in the diaspora were responsible for bringing the hip hop culture to the Arabian world. This is because they were able to see similarities between the youth in the diaspora with those in the Arab world in aspects such as discrimination, disenfranchisement, violence and poverty. These are the major topics that are reflected in rap music especially in Jeddah and Mecca.

Long before the people living in Jeddah and Mecca became literate, Arabic poetry was a tradition and this is what was expanded into the modern rap world. Rap duels have become more popular with skilled poets being lauded in the hip hop world. However, their poetry majorly focused on religious elements as a result of the two Holy cities of Mecca and Medina being in Jeddah. However, the elements of creativity in writing and singing could be seen.

Rappers traditionally were known to use clothes such as baseball caps and baggy pants as the norm and they were often seen with a microphone in their hand. The rap culture in Jeddah was also a product of globalization and localization. Though it was inspired and modeled after the U.S. hip hop culture, much of the current hip hop culture is localized to Jeddah. Rappers have taken the cultural aspects of Jeddah into consideration in their rap and this can be seen in the religious nature of their rap and addressing issues facing the Arab world specifically.

Rappers in Jeddah have also incorporated Arabic dance styles into their culture. In the realization that rap music attracts huge audiences, they have used rap music to pass messages to the youth. Though the rap scene in Jeddah can be seen to be much younger compared to that in other Arabian countries such as Algeria and Palestine, it has developed greatly and is not just an imitation of American rap. Arabic slang which is unique to Jeddah is used and there are segments of the society which the music is targeted.

Socially responsible rappers have emerged who help spread social messages on the importance of taking pride in the Arabian cultural heritage of Saudi Arabia through incorporating folk songs with fresh beats and Arabian dances. Jeddah rappers also use linguistic intermingling in a creative way by ensuring that there is an overlap between their rap and Saudi folk traditions, songs, and dances.

It is argued that the hip hop culture in Jeddah is highly transnational and collaborative in nature. This is because it encompasses various elements such as resistance to capitalism, colonial and neocolonial attitudes and creates contributory solutions to society and economic problems.

Ayzee (Jeddah)

Ayzee is a rapper of African origin from Jeddah. According to his profile, he claims to have been in love with music since his early years. He loved dancing, singing and writing music. His rap music represents respect for society and women. He states that his music is majorly aimed at changing the mindset of musicians to bring out the best in them. His musical influences include Boyz 2 Men, Ray Charles, Prince, Al Green, Michael Jackson and Joe Thomas.

The elements that are seen in Ayzee's music are rapping, slang, DJing, graffiti, street fashion and street language. Slang that is in his lyrics includes derogatory terms such as 'shit', 'liquor hole' and…

Sources Used in Documents:


Abu-Ghazzeh, Tawfiq M. "Built Form and Religion: Underlying Structures of Jeddah Al-Qademah." Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review 5.2 (1994): 49-59. Print.

Chang, J. Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005. Print.

Chang, Jeff. "It's a Hip-Hop World." Foreign Policy.163 (2007): 58-65. Print.

Cook, Susan E. "New Technologies and Language Change: Toward an Anthropology of Linguistic Frontiers." Annual Review of Anthropology 33.ArticleType: research-article / Full publication date: 2004 / Copyright © 2004 Annual Reviews (2004): 103-15. Print.

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