We often hear about academics who study hip-hop. They publish lengthy articles exploring hip-hop’s political dimension, advancing arguments about how sampling is subvervise, or how remixes are actually attempts at remaking reality. They investigate the revolutionary raps of Public Enemy, Ice Cube, and Dead Prez. They delve into the subtext of urban decay and rebellion that underpins graffiti. And so on.
And while all of that is interesting, perhaps it actually misses the point. Maybe hip-hop is nothing more than party music, a method of extending danceable grooves that caught on and snowballed into something far greater than its originators could ever have dreamed. Although political expression has certainly become an important element of the genre, maybe we should remember that it is secondary to hip-hop’s primary purpose as dance music.
For a much better, and lengthier discussion of this topic, check out this article.