Essay Sample on Subculture and Counterculture: Hip-Hop Culture

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Boston College
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The modern globalization and cultural diversity, the countercultures and subculture still exist in the modern society. Manzo (2014) defines counterculture as the social dominions that challenge the mainstream social norms that form and bind the larger society. First, the members of the counter-groups become subculture brought together by the social, economic, and political landscapes of the larger society. For instance, a group of neglected orphans is likely to form a subgroup with a sole intention of getting food and security. However, as their misery progresses, they devise new mentality towards the society. The mentality later develops to a philosophy where they become a non-existent part of the larger society. At this point, the actions and the convictions of such a group tend to challenge the mainstream beliefs adopted by the society. The counter-groups reflect an organized and aggressive subgroup that surpasses the primary reasons for the formation of the group. The paper examines the Hip-hop culture as a dominant subgroup in the modern America.

The Hip-Hop culture developed at around 1970 around the New York City. Today, most people relate the Hip-Hop culture to the hip-hop, or rap music, which is a common form of entertainment in America. However, at the inception of the group, the members had more than eight aspects that define the culture. Some of the aspects include turn-tabling, orality (rap), boying or break dancing, graffiti, beatboxing, the intellectual history of the minorities, and the street entrepreneurship (Kruse, 2016). The member of this subculture follows this definition of the hip-hop culture and fights back to ensure their position in the society. Mostly, they subscribe to the hip-hop music and other forms of art that depict their intellectual wealth that represents their groups.

In 1970, America had racial divisions that mostly affected the minority races. At the time, the Puerto Rican and the black-Americans were the most dominant minority races around the urban towns (Hill & Ramsaran, 2009). Due to the economic inequalities that progressed after the abolition of the slave trade the minority races felt betrayed by the larger society and thus the urge to form a sub-group that would represent their challenges.

The Puerto Rican formed the movement through social interactions under the code name Ghetto Brothers (Rabaka, 2013). The name represented the poor living conditions that the minorities had to endure. In a larger extent, the aspects of the hip-hop culture focus on showing the difference between the Native Whites and the early immigrants who became the subject of poverty, and political alienation. Therefore, the members of the group used the art to air their grievances. As explained by Price (2012) the lack of resource among the pioneers of the hip-hop culture contributed to the aspects that became dominant to the group. For instance, due to lack of money to purchase state of the art music equipment, the hip-hop culture adopted modifications and amplifying gadgets to make their music audible to the public. To date, turning tables and musical add-on are vital aspects of the hip-hop culture. Without these predominant aspects, the members do not fully relate to the group. Moreover, lack of equipment led to beat boxing and street graffiti. It is due to lack of corporate environments that forced the group members to pride on the street entrepreneurship

The hip-hop culture has spread throughout the world due to the correlation of intellectual properties behind the group. In the 1980s, the culture became a necessary voice in the fight against social injustices. Despite the abolition of slave trade in America and the democratic representation of all the citizens, the primary landscapes still lead to the marginalization of the minorities. Due to the defenses in social and economic status, the members of the hip-hop culture becomes deviant from the socially acceptable code of conduct thus forming a counter-group that justifies crime and socially deviance in the attempts to increase social mobility. In 1970, the hip-hop culture held to the crime pays philosophy which was a direct contradiction of the socially expected norms (Hill & Ramsaran, 2009). Today, the hip-hop culture has evolved to more rational approaches to presenting the racial inequalities in the USA and internationally. Today, the members use art such as music, poetry, and racial sensitivity prose to create awareness about the early marginalization and ensure a better future for the minority races.

In conclusion, it is objective to argue that, as seen in Hip-Hop culture, subcultures evolve past their initial philosophy to form potentially aggressive countercultures. The sub-groups in the USA society follows the social and the political structures that lead to the division of ideologies, needs, wealth, and even opportunities. Eventually, the marginalized individuals feel the need to increase their representation thus increasing their motivation to form a sub-group. As the social, economic, and political landscapes change, the nature of marginalization also changes thus compelling the groups to change their approach. Hip-hop culture is a perfect example of the social approaches used by sub-groups and counter-groups to assert their position in the social hierarchy. In the future, the hip-hop culture is likely to evolve to meet the demands of the social and economic landscapes.


Dubspot. (2016, September 17). Origins of Hip-Hop culture | Dubspot. Retrieved from

Hill, S. J., & Ramsaran, D. (2009). Hip Hop and inequality : Searching for the 'real'

SlimShady. Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press.

Kruse, A. J. (2016). Being Hip-Hop. General Music Today, 30(1), 53-58.


Manzo, G. (2014). Analytical Sociology : Actions and Networks. Hoboken: Wiley.

Price, E. G. (2012). The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture : Toward Bridging the

Generational Divide. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press.

Rabaka, R. (2013). The Hip Hop Movement : From R&B and the Civil Rights Movement to

Rap and the Hip Hop Generation. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books.

Vintage Everyday. (2015, May 24). Vintage everyday: Pictures of the Hip-hop culture in the 1980s. Retrieved from


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