More correctly, the opposition to mainstream ideology is why Hip Hop evolved into a culture. At its inception Hiphop (consciousness), was the way normal people in the urban parts of America were able to maintain sanity in the face of the hypocrisy of mainstream life. Mainstream life told you that to be successful you had to look a certain way and behave in a certain manner. Beyond whether or not you were productive or positive, mainstream ideology calls for conformity of thought and appearance. Mainstream ideology favors imitation, hype and distraction over originality, concept and skills. Mainstream ideology relies on the suspension of disbelief by the consumer in order to function; these clothes will make your life better and more worthwhile, this drug will make your life better, this sugary snack, fast food or hairstyle will… These ideas are very surface oriented and may enhance your life in superficial ways. Hip Hop reality was much different. It was originally much more gritty and “real” than mainstream ideology asks us to believe.
Hip Hop began as way to describe and acknowledge the way people outside of the mainstream lived, acted and looked. We were not mainstream and we didn’t care to be. We wanted something more realistic than what the mainstream offered, so we created our own culture, not just music, but culture. We called it Hip Hop Kulture (proper). We created something that defined a perspective on life outside that which we were fed by corporate media. Most Americans accepted the corporate ideology and were completely unashamed to support the corporate promotional efforts which made up the majority of the outward existence. Hip Hop didn’t want that lifestyle initially. Rappers, who became the biggest voice for the Hip Hop generation, used to embody the same principals as those who lived the culture. As Hip Hop and rappers in particular, became more financially successful though, rapper’s ideology became more about themselves and less about the culture. This is a by-product of the mainstream ideology. Mainstream artists are more successful by definition because they appeal to more people; with a larger fan base comes more money. So today, those who represented the voice of the culture no longer speak for the culture, but instead for themselves.
Today, rappers mostly speak for themselves. Close behind them in self-serving status are the deejays who mostly seek fame and fortune instead of preserving the culture. The presence of whack emcees and deejays has always been, but the internet destroyed the access to popularity and attention that cultured radio/mixtape deejays once provided. Because of iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Soundcloud, Reverbnation and even MySpace in the mid 2000’s, whack, less-cultured deejays have been able to push a steady stream of unworthy, irrelevant whack rappers to the forefront of what people think is Hip Hop Kulture. So what do we do in the face of such a bombardment of mainstream, irrelevant, conformist bullshit? We make and promote REAL HIP HOP just like those who were most capably inspired to create it in the past.