“Hip hop is a lingua franca that binds young people all around the world, while giving them the chance to alter it with their own national flavor… But one thing about hip hop has remained consistent across cultures: a vital progressive agenda that challenges the status quo.”  Jeff Chang “It’s a Hip Hop World”[1]

Jeff Chang was right and it has only become more true since he wrote those words in 2007. Since its birth in the Bronx some 30 years ago, Hip Hop culture has spread to nearly every corner of the globe, creating an international youth culture movement unlike any before. What began as a means for inner-city black and hispanic kids in New York City to express their frustration with the status quo has become a tool for marginalized communities the world over to empower themselves through music and dance. Add the Internet and satellite television and you’ve got a globalized community of young artists and fans who can interact, exchange, communicate, collaborate, educate, dialogue, debate, organize, and connect in nearly every way imaginable, thousands of miles apart.

As such, Hip Hop is not only the universal language of youth today, but the primary cultural influencer of youth in the developed and developing world alike. This makes it a uniquely powerful tool, and a rich resource of information about what’s going on around the world, as told by young people living it. By informing ourselves about trends in global Hip Hop we stand to learn a great deal about the world and its rising generation.

Chuck D once called Hip Hop the “black people’s CNN”. What we’ve seen over the past 3 decades is the broadening of that group to include all oppressed peoples of the world who want to express their struggle in creative, non-violent ways. The information that such creativity yields is often worth more than traditional media and is now widely accessible via websites such as this one.

So, read on, read carefully, and heed the rising chorus of empowered youth. They are the makers of the future.

[1] Foreign Policy, November/December, 2007.

  1. UpLftd One
    November 17, 2011 at 5:51 am

    It is a shame that Chang refers to 50 Cent and Jay-Z as Hip-Hop artists.Jay-Z gave up on hip-hop ten years ago. His collabaration with Dead Prez does not qualify as a comeback either.It’s also stange that Chang frequentley calls mcs “rappers”. He does a great job of telling of the creation of hip-hop later in the article. Unfortunatley, his decision to abstain from bluring the lines of hip-hop music and “gansta rap” will cause most b-boys to stop a the first page. – UpLftd One

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