Personal Research Reflection

For my final project, I am researching about the history of hip-hop, the evolution of the different technologies used throughout the history, and the message it sends out to the world. Growing up my mom would listen to various hip-hop artists from her time period, and my father being from Jamaica would listen to a lot of reggae music. So hip-hop has been apart of my life for a long time. A reason why I have chosen to research hip-hop has to do with one of the classes I am taking this semester at Ohio State. I needed to take this class to fulfill a GEC for visual and performing arts, not knowing that it was about hip-hop and feminism. From this class, I have learned so much about the history of hip-hop, including the origin of hip-hop, the different elements of hip-hop, and the influences of hip-hop. It has also been interesting to learn about the different artists that have contributed and made hip-hop what it is today. It has opened my eyes to the messages and images it sometimes portrays, such as violent lyrics, and degrading women, but hip-hop is also a story telling genre. Growing up, I believed hip-hop to be a male dominant genre, but through this class I have learned that the female hip-hop artists have made a huge contribution as well.


As I mentioned before, my father is Jamaican. So growing up in a multi-cultural home, I was exposed to all different types of music. I remember listening to reggae legends, Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker, Peter Tosh, and Buju Banton. My mom is from Cleveland, Ohio so she listened to a lot of Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Whodini, Doug E. Fresh, and many more artists from the 1970s and 1980s. As I grew up and developed my own taste in music, I always had an interest in hip-hop music and the history of it. I was so surprised and excited to learn that my class was going to cover the history of hip-hop. Another interesting part of the class is we learned that reggae had a huge impact and influence of hip-hop. This was a very interesting topic for me to learn about with my background of being half-Jamaican. I learned that through hip-hop music and dancehall music, the people of inner city America and Jamaica were able to be heard and tell their stories. Hip-hop and dancehall lyrics are often about the violence and struggles that the artists have gone through or seen in their communities. The dancing of dancehall music also influenced one of the elements of hip-hop, breakdancing. Both are competitive type of dance styles. Break-dancers battled each other by locking and popping using their arms, legs, and torso in robotic movements. In dancehall, however, the flexibility of your body is key in competition. In early hip-hop, street parties also used and were influenced by the technology being used in Jamaica such as amplifiers, turntables, and mixers. When hip-hop was first created, no one thought that it would last but hip-hop has been around for more than forty years now. Learning about the history of hip-hop has given me a new appreciation for the music. With new artists and technologies emerging, I believe hip-hop will continue to expand.


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