George Bush doesn't care about black people: Hip hop, public discourse and black politics in the early 21st century

Hazel Bell James Cole

Abstract

Recently, more scholars are examining hip hop as a powerful cultural, communicative force, yet hip hop's political orientation goes unnoticed. This study highlights the politics found in hip hop culture and in rap music since 2000 by exploring hip hop as a social movement. This study utilizes a critical, cultural approach by applying ideological case study and textual analyses methods. Song lyrics, activist efforts and black politics prove the political orientation of hip hop culture, which revealed that rap music in general is limited by capitalistic, hegemonic restraints juxtaposed to rappers serving as the legitimate voice of the marginalized and as victims of the cultural production of negative stereotypes. The study concludes that hip hop as a social movement has revolutionary potential but has not reached its zenith as a movement because of its multiple shortcomings, including: (a) problematic issues of contradiction such as materialism, capitalism and the politics of racism and classism, (b) a lack of a movement-specific ideology shared by minority groups, and (c) the lack of a single leader unrelated to entertainment as the representative "voice" of marginalized citizens to advocate for national policy issues and national reform.