Hip Hop It is exceedingly interesting the way American culture is unoriginal in every way. Just about every aspect of American culture is in some way based on and/or influenced by people of another nationality as well as people of much different ethnicities than that of the typical white-protestant American. This is proven true through what Americans eat, the way they dance, and even the music they listen. Although America is the birthplace of both Jazz and hip-hop, neither was really started by the average white American.
But rather, both Jazz’s and hip-hop’s singings were similarly within the underground world of Black America. The similarities between the paths of these two genres of music are uncanny, especially the way they both began as strictly for African-Americans and then slowly but surely, within the next three decades, emerged in the American mainstream via white artists to eventually be heard around the world. A key similarity between Jazz and hip-hop is that they were both started by young African-Americans, who had nowhere else to turn but music.
Jazz entered the United States at the turn of the 20th century in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. It only emerged after the introduction of the Jim Crow laws though. Before this, third-class black musicians played ragtime and blues, while the then superior second-class self- proclaimed creoles of color (light-skinned blacks of European decent) played more formal marching band type music, as they were above their fully African-American counterparts. This all changed with the introduction of Jim Crow, which said that all African-Americans, no matter how black they actually were, were second-class citizens.
After, both communities combined their sounds and fused together to create the first sounds of Jazz. Consequently, as Jazz became popular amongst the African-Americans, it became unpopular in the eyes of the superior white community. The first places where Jazz was being played was within the likes of black dance halls, parties, and brothels, which led to its association with social deviance, its dismissal by white proper and “polite society,” and its description as a low art formal .
New Orleans’ “Storyteller” area filled the city nights with the sounds of Jazz, drunken people, and sex, which led to it eventually being shut down by the Navy in 19172. Much like Jazz, hip-hop was started in an extremely similar manner in the sass’s. Although much later on in American history, race played as important of a role in the introduction of hip-hop as Jazz. Hip-hop emerged only one decade after the Civil Rights Act of 1960 was enacted, so it would be unwise to believe that the same racial tensions didn’t exist as they had when Jazz began.
Young African-Americans, rather than expressing their feelings through the unique sounds of their instruments like in the sass’s, took a more direct path and addressed their thoughts on society via their words, using talk-sung rhymes over a beat to convey their message. Early popular IP-hop songs such as Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” with its mainstream and person. Just the first line is “It’s like a Jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under,” the “Jungle” referring to the ghetto and the terrible living conditions of countless African-Americans.
The manner through which both Jazz and hip-hop disseminated into mainstream America is strangely similar as well. Both genres of music took several decades to become popular amongst the majority of the American population, and both took popular white artists to bridge the gap. Firstly, Jazz was undoubtedly popularized and introduced to white culture via the “King of Swing,” Benny Goodman. The fact that Goodman was white changed absolutely everything and made it “okay’ for white America to boogie.
His January 16, 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City is described by critic Bruce Deer as “the single most important Jazz or popular music concert in history: Jazz’s ‘coming out’ party to the world of ‘respectable’ music. ” Equally with hip-hop, it was never really and truly embedded in mainstream American culture until Mine, a white rapper, emerged. Yes, hip-hop was definitely more widely spread by the time Mine arrived, with shows on MET and music ideas constantly promoting the genre.
However, hip-hop had never fully reached white America until young white kids had a familiar white face to look up to. Ever since, hip-hop has taken over the country youth, along with the rest of the world’s. Thus, the ways in which Jazz and hip-hop were both started and disseminated are eerily similar. The origins of both genres began in the African-American underground as reactions to and escapes from the second-class lives they led. Both genres also took popular white artists, after decades of progression, to introduce the music to mainstream American culture.