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The Evolution of Rap

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I chose to do my project on the evolution of rap music. Rap is a leading genre of music and a large part of American culture and my own life. Therefore, I wanted to bring awareness to the genre, how it came to be, and how it became what it is today. I broke up the “evolution” into six categories: the Birth of Rap, “Rapper’s Delight,” the Expansion of the Industry, Public Enemy, Gangsta Rap, and the Explosion. I wanted my project to feel as if the viewer was traveling through time and truly experiencing each era. Thus, I used many mediums of media because I wanted to invoke as many senses and feelings as possible. I used advertisements and articles from publications, video, audio, and photographs. I used advertisements and articles to indicate that these were recorded moments in history and to convey that they were monumental moments. However, I used mostly videos and photographs.

Rap music was something to be seen and heard. Therefore, I wanted to show the performances and how they rappers presented themselves. I wanted the viewers to hear the attitude in their voices, see the swagger in their steps, and feel their stage presence. Rap was an extremely powerful medium, and I really wanted the viewers to experience it. In the section, the Birth of Rap, I included an image of the Bronx in the 70s. I wanted the viewers to see what Kool Herc and all the other African American youths saw. I wanted them to see how deserted and unkempt the area was. I wanted them to feel the neglect that the people of the community felt.

In the next section, “Rapper’s Delight,” I included a video of the Sugarhill Gang’s performance on Soul Train. I wanted the viewer to see what the group wore, how they danced, and feel their stage presence. I wanted them to see the crowd’s response and feel like they were a part of it and want to dance, also. Moreover, the third section, the Expansion of the Industry, possesses the most archives; it’s almost as if the page expands. In addition, I included an advertisement about DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, which gives dates for the upcoming debut of a music video and a live performance. I wanted the viewer to see how rappers were being broadcasted on television and understand the growth the rap industry experienced. For the sections on Public Enemy and Gangsta Rap, I used only photos and videos. I wanted the viewers to hear and see just how different each era was, and how the genre really evolved. I wanted them to listen to the verses and understand the lyrics and messages that the rappers were trying to send.

And, finally, the last section, the Explosion, was meant to show what rap music is like today. I used photographs and videos of current artists to invoke a sense of familiarity. I wanted to viewer the realize that the rap music we know and love today would not exist if it weren’t for the previous artists mentioned. The main message that I’m trying to communicate is that rap is a historically significant genre with a rich past. Nowadays, people listen to rap music just to be “cool” and have an excuse to curse. But, rap is much more than provocative rhymes and intense beats. It’s a means of expression and an outlet for those who feel oppressed by society. It gives those who can’t speak up a voice.

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