My suburban high school’s composition was 90% white, the rest being a mixture of black, Hispanic, Indian, and other races. 75% of my high school sincerely listened to Hip-Hop, along with other genres of music. Other popular genres of influence included country, soft rock, and alternative rock. 95% of my high school dressed like Abercrombie models. What my high school experienced was something I refer to as flHip-flHop culture. This theory describes the interaction of two societies—suburban (this includes more than just “whites”) American communities, composed of mostly middle-class families (rightfully represented by flip-flops), and Hip-Hop. The range of rap listened to in my high school stretched from Common’s positive-spirited truthful raps to Project Pat’s southern-influenced gritty tracks, so selective hearing was not practiced.
There is a mutual pressure that exists between Hip-Hop sellers (artists and executives) and consumers (fans and critics). Consumerism considers the joint interest of the artist and fan; simple economics show that supply and demand will meet over the long-term, so the producer must dish out what the fans like. And it just so happens that these fans of Hip-Hop are not the same, racially speaking, as the artists that make the music. Hip-Hop is beginning to move beyond race, just as Barack Obama is helping transcend race in politics. In order for the genre to thrive, it must satisfy and coexist with suburban America. But in order to maintain its authenticity and revere, Hip-Hop cannot sacrifice its integrity or values in the process of assimilating into suburbia. After all, selling-out is one of those things that’s looked down upon within the Hip-Hop community, along with snitching, Cristal, and George W. Bush. If the culture manages to maintain its mores, than it can progress from the negative stigmas attached to it for so long.