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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/18780/hip-hop-the-21st-c-sound-of-capitalism-and-entrepreneurship/

Hip Hop: The 21st C. Sound of Capitalism and Entrepreneurship?

October 21, 2011 by

Steve Yates at Prospect Magazine discusses that “the story of hip hop’s journey into the cultural mainstream is the story of its love affair with materialism, or, more accurately, capitalism. Its lead exponents, like Jay-Z and Kanye West, are brilliant entrepreneurs with vast fortunes.

…Hip hop’s rise has been, at root, a straightforward process of free-market enterprise: an excellent product has been pushed with great skill and new markets opened up with real dynamism and flair.

…The view of hip hop as a genre concerned only with the basest forms of materialism is a serious oversimplification. It misunderstands the way that rap’s relationship with capitalism has fed its creativity and led to both its commercial and artistic success.

…NWA embraced the American dream with relish. They set down the unapologetic “money-is-all” credo of the low-level street hustler, in which drug dealing, guns and the police swirl about in a ferocious urban storm. Like other popular representations of American gangsterism—The Godfather, Scarface—it was a vision of unfettered free market enterprise.

…So while hip hop started off as an underground, and often political movement, it has for many years pursued an increasingly intimate relationship with business. Hip hop now has a materialist, acquisitive streak hard-wired into its identity. It is this embrace of capitalism that has taken hip hop from outsider status right to America’s core.”


J Cortez October 21, 2011 at 8:43 am

Hip-hip is a mixed bag in my opinion. It’s true the top names talk about about the joys of wealth, but at the same time, many of them espouse near socialist clap trap in interviews. I think many of the larger stars are very confused on what actually made them rich and what constitutes an economic environment that creates more rich people.

Still, all in all, it’s a great style of music. It is the newest folk music. It is simple, to the point, and open to anyone. While it’s great at party music, it also seems tailor made to be a platform for getting out a message.

Tyrone Dell October 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

I’ll just leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO18F4aKGzQ

AnonymousAnarchist October 21, 2011 at 4:41 pm

And I’ll leave this: W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) Pharoahe Monch featuring Immortal Technique and Vernon Reid

AnonymousAnarchist October 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm

And this: Obama Nation Part 2 Lowkey featuring M1 and Black the Ripper

AnonymousAnarchist October 21, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The Beck/Limbaugh sample is from Lupe Fiasco’s Words I Never Said (featuring Skylar Gray)

Dave Albin October 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

I met Flavor Flav earlier this year at his chicken restaurant (opened next to a KFC, so TMZ covered it). I waited in line a long time to see this rap icon, who I had seen on MTV years earlier. He was working hard to promote his chicken place, even calling out customer’s order numbers as he was rapping old classics. He even took time to get his picture taken with customers as they left. If you look at hip hop/rap classics like Flav’s and Public Enemy’s (his original group), they are quite libertarian in tone. “Fight the Power” is about fighting against authority, and “911 is a joke” (which I heard Flav do in his restaurant) is against inadequate public services in poor, government-created neighborhoods. Rappers and hip hop artists certainly do understand capitalism, and their gold chains are cool!

Mac October 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

C.R.E.A.M. = Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Could be a Mises shirt.

Tyrone Dell October 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

For those of you who don’t know what he’s talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjZRAvsZf1g

Daniel October 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I never understood those hip-hops where some dude just gloats about having money, bling, rims and bitches

Unless he was born to exceptionally rich parents, I don’t see how he could ever get ahead in the first place

Tyrone Dell October 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Yeah, all hip-hop is just guys gloating about money, bling, rims and bitches.

Sorta like this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAedkNCjnOQ

Joe October 21, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Remember this guy?
“They killed several birds with one stone
While you’re at home with anti-terrorism up in your dome
But my eyes are wide open and my TV is off
Great, ’cause I save on my electricity cost
And you can wave that piece of shit flag if you dare
But they killed us because we’ve been killing them for years”

“Home of the Brave” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzvFYaWej0M

Inquisitor October 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

More a fan of metal/progressive rock myself.

Agora October 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

And I’ll just leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tDmmwMnUYU

Melvin Megawitz October 22, 2011 at 9:24 pm
Agora October 22, 2011 at 9:40 pm

…sorry Mel this is what we’ll all be listening to in few years the way things are going.


Joe Thompson October 23, 2011 at 8:41 am

Check out Akala, anti-capitalist hip-hop which transcends the mainstream message.

Ryan October 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Don’t forget about The Roots “Don’t Feel Right” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ihRbPtfmA

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