Native Americans and Hip Hop

I’ve always been a fan of rap and hip-hop. Those beats that are so perfectly in time, whether anticipating a down beat, or represented by a catchy even triplet, send shivers down my spine and seem to take hold of my body, causing me to subconsciously nod my head and tap my foot. Percussion is as prominent in hip-hop, as violins are in classical orchestras.

This percussive and emotional music known as hip-hop was introduced to the white culture first by African Americans. The prominent background beats in music can be found in the cultural music of Africa. Bringing originally African-based music to the United States, this music proves to be quite similar to the American Indigenous music.

One of my first posts discussed the Native American Music Awards, better known as the Nammys. In this Indigenous inspired annual music festival, Native American musicians perform their highly cultural music. This includes the more modern singer/songwriter genre, but also incorporates ancient indigenous music. From watching multiple Youtube video hosted Nammy performances, I have noticed that this ancient music usually consists of one main catchy melody, attractive harmonies, and a perfectly in time and prominent beat. Being born in a generation influenced heavily by hip-hop music, I have noticed, simply by listening to the radio, that this African American created hip-hop genre is also very percussive, emphasizing the beat, and usually sticks with one melody, with subtle (if any) harmonies. Hands down, time is the biggest component in both African and American Indigenous music. It seems as though the people themselves just have a natural metronome clicking constantly within them, that a lot of the white culture seems to lack.

Not only is the beat in music prominent in both cultures, but so is spoken word. Both African and American Indigenous cultures used story telling as a form of entertainment and education (morals, history etc.), which is represented in both music cultures.

With all of their similarities, these two cultures finally came together. Native Americans have become involved in the hip –hop genre. It’s always interesting seeing how two cultures, completely unaware of each other’s attributes at first, can find such a substantial common ground. The video I’ve posted shows the merging of the two music cultures through a hip-hop song created and performed by a Native American.


About annieais101

I am an 18 year old freshman at the University of Illinois. Driving towards a philosophy major and a music minor, my number one priority right now is school work. However, when I'm not in school or studying for classes, music and my friends are my world. I can't wait to expand this blog and really make it my own! I've never done anything like this before, so it should be fun!
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