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Hip-Hop in the Bronx and Link to Gentrification


Hip-hop is usually associated with economically depressed and predominantly African American (Black) neighborhoods. The art form originated in Bronx County, in the City of New York during the 1970s (Knight). From the beginning, it has been masked by mystery, and this is because the genre started on the fringes of society (Soundbreaking). Consequently, hip-hop artists have succeeded in highlighting challenges people face in inner-cities (Gonzalez). Hip-hop arose as a combination of protest and entertainment, and it has retained its effectiveness as a tool to fight against social and economic challenges.

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Factors Which Triggered the Rise of Hip-Hop

Before hip-hop, the entertainment scene was dominated by disco parties. Such functions, however, were expensive as revelers had to wear certain kinds of clothing and also set aside enough cash to pay the entry fee as well as for meals and drinks (Gonzalez). A significant number of Black youths could not afford such kind of amusement. They resorted to holding parties in their homes as well as in neighborhoods. That is how hip-hop emerged as a different genre of music. Initially, the members of this counterculture were only attracted by musical performance (Knight; Soundbreaking). With time, however, their interests changed, and hip-hop became an avenue for airing socioeconomic grievances.

Hip-Hop as a Reaction to Socioeconomic Challenges

Although some observers perceive hip-hop as a superfluous art form, it has actually been effective as a vehicle for spreading awareness about social issues. For instance, it has been considered as being an opportune mode of expression by the disenfranchised (Soundbreaking). Since the 1970s, youth have exploited the genre to express their concerns about racial discrimination and economic difficulties (Gonzalez). The mainstream communities have misunderstood hip-hop, and this could be due to its constant criticism of inequalities in the society.

Achievements of the Hip-Hop Genre

Unlike the case when the art form first emerged, contemporary hip-hop appeals to listeners from diverse backgrounds. This has justified its choice as a means of advocating for social issues. Artists are composing music which encourages individuals to seek education as well as avert drug abuse and criminality (Knight). A trend has emerged where lyrics are no-longer centered on dissension. Hip-hop has achieved its goals in not just facilitating entertainment but also in guiding youth to live uprightly.

Hip-Hop Influence on Gentrification

Disenfranchised members of the society are in support of infrastructural development. Indeed, the residents of inner-cities welcome the idea of increased investment in their neighborhoods as well as renovation of houses (Soundbreaking). However, a majority are opposed to rapid increase in rent and/or possible evictions (Knight). These messages are expressed clearly in hip-hop music, and it is common to find residents quoting artists or referring to a music track while making their arguments on gentrification (The Get Down). The genre is dominated by anti-gentrification lyrics, and this are informed by the fear that renovation will be coupled with dispossession.


Hip-hop emerged as a form of protest, and initially, this dissent was against the expensive disco culture. Later on, it became an avenue through which young people can express their concerns about marginalization in general. The genre took a racial connotation because at the time of its invention, Black youths are among the most vulnerable categories of Americans as far as socio economic challenges are concerned. The art form has been a success, and this is part of the reason why it is increasingly gaining acceptance across-the-board.

Works Cited

Gonzalez, David. “Will Gentrification spoil the birthplace of hip-hop?” The New York Times, 2007, Web.

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Knight, Christina. “How the Bronx Gave Us Hip-Hop?” Thirteen, 2016, Web.

“Soundbreaking: The World is Yours.” Dailymotion, uploaded by xo ART OF NOISE, 2016, Web.

The Get Down. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Sony Pictures Television, 2016. Netflix.

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