Creolization Essay

Robyn Kurman
Sociology 279
Professor Hala

Creolization refers to the interplay between world culture and national cultures, focusing on how commodities, or cultural objects and practices more generally, are assigned meanings and uses in receiving cultures. The idea of creolization calls attention to how people make and remake culture and how culture changes over geographic and historical space. An example of creolization, is the culture of “hip-hop”. The term “hip-hop” consists of two separate slang words. “Hip” means current or in the know, while “hop” refers to the hopping movement(wikipedia).
Hip-hop originated in African-American communities, in New York City in the late 1970s. At first hip-hop music consisted of just rhythmic beats however as it developed the rhythmic beats turned into rap. Rap music consists of beatboxing, chanting, and poetry presented in 16 bar measures. As rap music became more popular, dance moves were created to go along with the beats and a hip-hop style of dress was formed as well(wikipedia).
At first hip-hop artists would perform at basket ball courts, the streets, and at 1520 Sedgwick Ave, in the Bronx a building that is known as the place “where hip-hop was born”. In the 1970s hip-hop started to develop in the South Bronx of New York City. Many gang members began to participate in the hip-hop culture. Afrika Bambaataa, created a street organization known as the “Universal Zulu Nation” so that gang members could channel their violent urges into something creative. As the culture continued to spread it began to receive media attention (wikipedia). Today hip-hop culture is not only popular amongst minority groups; it has also spread to affluent suburbs. It is a style today amongst teenage boys everywhere to dress in baggy jeans, high top sneakers and to listen to rap music.
Many hip-hop artists wear baggy jeans, loose t-shirts, and high top sneakers. However, the baggy jean style began in prisons as popular rap stars did not have belts to hold up their pants because the guards were afraid they may hurt someone or hang themselves. Even after the rappers were released from jail, they continued to wear their pants without a belt to show that they had been in jail (Neer). Since they are celebrities, baggy pants became fashionable even in the suburbs where affluent families tend to reside. Some of the most profitable, and popular, brands began in the hip-hop industry; for example, Phat Farm is worth close to $325 million (Neer).
Hip-hop culture began in the United States but has now gone global. Canada, The Middle East, France, Germany, Pakistan, Poland, India and many other countries have started to create their own style of hip-hop culture. Although the styles differ, there are also some similarities. The U.S Department of State said that hip-hop is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world”. National Geographic stated that “just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene”(wikipedia).
Hip-hop culture is an example of creolization as it has been modified as it moves around the globe. It has also spread from one geographic location to another.
Work Cited
Neer, Katherine. “HowStuffWorks “Hip-hop Fashion”” Howstuffworks “Entertainment” Web. 02 Dec. 2010. <>.

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3 Responses to “Creolization Essay”

  1. Prof. Hala says:

    Nice essay, chock full of interesting cultural references. And, wow, who would’ve thought that back in the 80s that hip hop would get on the radar of the US State Department!

  2. anthonymunozjr says:

    The movie “Style Wars”, is a great documentary showcasing the emergence of Hip Hop in New York City. It may focus more on the graffiti aspects but it does show some break-dancing, rapping, DJing and beat-boxing.

    Another great film is “Wild Style” which gives narrative to a graffiti writer who faces hurdles in life, emphasizing hip hop’s influence on human behavior.

  3. hip hop instrumentals

    Creolization Essay « Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives