Hip hop has evolved from something that was an expression of poor black America to something that is now a showcase of glamour and prestige. Instead of something symbolic of low status culture, it is now being mimicked by the high status culture and used to sell products. In Merchants of cool the narrator described a culture which was no longer an act of expression, but rather an act of consumption. Hip hop seemingly has gone the same route which is now seen in fashion which is now mimicking what was a low status signal.
Not only has hip hop become incorporated into popular culture and seen around many areas of society, it has also split into many different groups making it something that is all encompassing for many styles and fashions. For example, hipsters used to be their own style and not be directly associated with hip hop, but because hip hop has become so widespread it has actually been incorporated into hip hop culture.
One thing I find interesting about hip hop is the culture of patriarchy surrounding it. Many things that target men in popular culture try to sell a way of life for men or define male masculinity in some way or another. Looking at figures such as Eminem, 50 cent, or Snoop Dog it is easy to see a male lifestyle being glorified in drugs, violence, and bitches. Like any popular music or image however, I think that hip hop culture is being incorporated into a different kind of culture which does not specifically target a male audience. Through the years hip hop has gone from hyper masculine performers to more currently people like Bruno Mars, Akon, and even Justin Bieber. Hip Hop is becoming something that is no longer a place for the poor blackAmericato rally behind or for the male American youth to find an identity in. I think that we can expect that hip hop will become less a source for masculine identity and more something that is broader in scope and includes more feminine male figures. As women dominate the marketplace in the coming century, this change will be inevitable. While hip hop went from being an expression of the lower class against the powers that be to being a display of status and sex, I think that we will continue to see it develop into a more feminine and friendly aspect of culture. The demand for hyper-masculinity is there so something will certainly replace it, but women control the market place, and what appeals to women is what hip hop will turn into.
R.I.P. Dr. Dre.