Youth subculture: rappers

Youth subculture: rappers
Youth subculture: rappers

Informal public associations are a fairly new phenomenon, they appeared in the 20th century and became a reflection of the social problems of young people, an attempt to self-determine and express themselves.

The ways of expressing their worldview are different for each group - free love and anarchy among hippies, the assertion of nationalistic ideas among skinheads or the propaganda of mysticism among the Goths, but music of various genres has become one of the most massive areas of interest for young people. Hip-hop and one of its manifestations - rap is considered especially colorful and widespread.


In the 1970s, residents of the "black neighborhoods" of the United States often arranged discotheques, where rhythmic dance music with elements of lyrics played. It is believed that people from Jamaica brought this style of performance with them. The style gradually improved, acquired its own traditions and "tricks", the performers began to release discs, and well-known record companies drew attention to the commercial success of the new genre.

subculture rappers

In the 1990s in black neighborhoodsshots are constantly heard, there is a division of territories and spheres of influence of drug dealers and pimps. All these events were the beginning of the fact that the themes and manner of performance of the musicians of this direction changed radically, a new trend arose, the entire subculture was rebuilt. Rappers have experienced a significant evolution in their views, and as a result of this - the emergence of a new trend called gangsta - rap. Its most prominent representatives were Dr. Dre and Snopp Dogg. A feature of this style was the public and scandalous behavior of the musicians, they openly used drugs, provoked the authorities, staged fights and pogroms.

The defiant image of rappers quickly resonated with young people, teenagers tried to imitate them in clothes and behavior, the genre became popular in many countries of the world.


Ordinary listening to favorite songs could no longer satisfy the generation of rebels and individualists, they needed a special model of worship and imitation, allowing them to feel different from everyone else. In many ways, this was reflected in the ideology that rappers adhere to. In short, subculture is a special form of leisure, a way to find satisfaction from life, a kind of escape from everyday life.

There are several million people around the world who are fond of hip-hop, and specifically rap. They are united by similar musical tastes, a special view of the world, which is reflected in the texts of the performers of this genre. Rap has several features that allow you to immediately distinguish them from other subcultures:

  • he promotes freedomyouth and independence from government-imposed opinions and assessments;
  • protest against globalization in all areas of public and political life, this characteristic applies to Russian rap;
  • special rapper clothes: wide dangling pants, jeans, baseball caps, sports T-shirts, voluminous and bright jewelry - chains, earrings;
  • among rappers it is customary to cover their body with tattoos and inscriptions;
  • rich and pretentious lifestyle: expensive cars, beautiful girls and golden trinkets, along with soft and hard drugs.

But the main distinguishing feature is the special performance of their songs, when rhythmic recitative is read to music with a heavy beat.

Features of direction

Rapper music has long been considered not only a kind of hip-hop, elements of recitative are also used in other styles. This is an independent direction, which has its own traditions and characteristics. Initially, rhymed chants were born on the street and were a direct improvisation of the performers, competitions were held among rivals - battles, later such clashes began to occur on stage with a large gathering of people.

rapper clothes

The rap language is an expression of the life of the metropolis, it is diverse and has a wide morphology. Can sing of squalid shacks, a beautiful life or the infidelity of a girlfriend, hard performance alternates with simple and light melodies. In general, contrast is one of the favorite tricks of rappers, this applies to both music and lifestyle. Hobbyists and connoisseurs usually distinguish threeperformance variations:

  • fast, takes place in the form of a conversation between two opponents to the music put on by the DJ;
  • "street" or "life" - contains obscene language and glorifies the ideas and principles of the ghetto;
  • commercial, aimed at attracting fans and making good money, we usually listen to this particular hip-hop.

The members of such a group include a DJ who composes the mixes, the performer himself who reads the lyrics, and a break dancer.


The image of rappers is very recognizable and unlike the rest. This style came to Russia in the early 90s and still remains a leader among young people. All those elements that make up rapper clothing are designed to distinguish a person from the crowd, to designate his individuality and personal social protest.

Some elements later even became the property of world fashion. For example, wide trousers hanging from the hips. There is even a legend about their origin that the first black rappers living in the difficult conditions of the ghetto were forced to wear clothes of older brothers that did not fit them.

rapper slang

True, in recent years, the rapper's style of dressing has undergone some changes, only a T-shirt remains of the usual wide things, but famous performers prefer to buy the rest of their wardrobe from fashion designers. The idea of ​​“combining the incongruous” is very popular in this environment, when strict jackets and trousers are worn with massive or bright sneakers.

Additional items

One more detail, bywhich you can easily determine a person's belonging to this group - rapper baseball caps. Bright colors, non-standard shapes with shiny rhinestones, they complement and decorate the image of a typical representative of this trend.

Accessories of all sorts are of great importance, this tradition comes from the first black rappers from the ghetto. There, the status of a person was determined by the jewelry he had and their value. Among musicians, this custom has received a new development, many performers and their fans hang on themselves a lot of expensive chains, a medallion, an earring with a diamond is no less important detail. Rapper glasses are a great addition to a unique look, they have no practical value, and therefore, they can be made in the most unusual shapes, sizes, colors and from different materials.

Style features

The desire to share common views, to share passion with like-minded people are the main factors due to which youth subcultures unite. Rappers use lyrics to convey their opinions to others and approve a personal manifesto.

Initially, this culture was formed as an opposition to the main authorities, and therefore the meaning of phrases is often of a slogan, agitational nature. Unlike other areas where music and words are equivalent, in rap you have to look for a good combination of test and rhythm. Achieving melody is not so easy, it takes a lot of experimentation and training to become a master of recitative.

No less difficult to know and understand rapperlanguage, lyrics have specific words, phrases and allegories that are understandable only in this environment. The ability to recognize a special cipher is a kind of pass to a special group, proof of belonging to a subculture.

With the spread of rap around the world, each country gradually develops its own special forms of communication in youth groups. If in the United States rapper slang has absorbed elements of the language and culture of African Americans, then, for example, in France it is closely connected with the folklore past of this people, and in Russia it is more imitative in nature, moreover, it contains many borrowings from the English language, sometimes pronounced in Russian.

First performers

Many prestigious music ratings are hard to imagine without well-known rappers on the first lines of the tabloids. The subculture, the description of which can take more than one day, was formed under the influence of strong and charismatic leaders of this movement. A real legend was Tupac Shakur, who was shot dead on the threshold of his house or "50 cent", who survived several armed attacks.

Even when this direction was not finalized and officially recognized, the main role in hip-hop belonged to DJs. In the 70s, DJ Kool Herk practiced alternating rhythmic tracks with break dancers, and Gradmaster Flash recreated the idea of ​​dual turntables, thus making it possible to combine different tracks.

In subsequent years, many bands and artists appeared,each of which made a certain contribution to the development of hip-hop culture, a performance style was formed, a special rapper slang. The first white singers of this trend were the very popular Beastie Boys, and Run D.M.C. not only shot a video, but also signed an advertising contract with Adidas.

rappers subculture briefly

Movement Development

The leading media companies soon realized how profitable this direction was becoming, and therefore began to invest a lot of effort and money in the promotion of new artists. The lyrics and lifestyle of the musicians were constantly in the public eye thanks to the media, and young people actively embraced the values ​​that this subculture reflected. Rappers are increasingly performing aggressive, heavily social compositions, this style will be called gangsta rap.

As the singers themselves stated, with the help of their lyrics they wanted to convey to the listeners the truth about what is happening on the streets, what kind of struggle for life is going on there. One of the first to promote this style was the N.W.A. team, it was there that Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Eazy E began their careers. The theme of violence, weapons and drugs became the main theme in their tracks, which caused dissatisfaction with the authorities and popularity among ordinary people.

For the second decade now, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z have remained the most recognized and revered rappers, famous for their millions in income.

Development of the movement in Russia

In our country, this musical style appeared in the late 80s and early 90s, when such associations were no longer viewed as a manifestation ofcapitalist system and many youth movements came out of the underground. What was the special significance of this subculture in Russian society? Rappers appeared along with breakdancing and graffiti, those few citizens who had the right to travel abroad brought records and videos of American artists. For many, this music has been a breath of fresh air, part of that much-desired freedom.

One of the first experiments in this area is the concert of DJ Alexander Astrov and the rock band Rush Hour, where a program called "Rap" was recorded. Although many recognize Bogdan Titomir and the Malchishnik group as the first performers. From the very beginning, Russian rappers adopted the Western model of this subculture, trying to emulate black ideology and ghetto issues. Against the background of the real social composition of the country, such copying was sometimes very comical and implausible.

Features of hip-hop in our country

Russian rappers

From the very beginning, Russian rappers were only a commercial project, the ideology of hip-hop was embodied only on stage, and not in real life. But such music cannot exist without struggle and confrontation, so gradually the performers found new ideas for conflict situations. Rap also took a lot from Russian rock, which has a much longer history in our country.

In Russia, rap and its elements are taken directly from the American environment, many motives, ideas and lyrics are directly copied from the works of Western artists.

Russian rappers

Hip-hop pioneersBad Balance, Chef and Mikhey are considered groups that became popular in the 90s, it was then that fan clubs and fans of this style appeared in all regions. Already by 2000, the hip-hop market had finally formed in our country, this direction became unusually popular and profitable, which led to the emergence of a new wave of performers: “Casta”, “Dots”, “Legal business”, etc.

In recent years, there has been a trend in Russia towards the emergence of its own rapper ideology and worldview. Adherents of the idea of ​​creating a national genre are not as popular as media singers, but they have made a great contribution to the development of the hip-hop industry in our country: Oxxxymiron, Dolphin, ST and some others.


Perhaps, of all the existing associations of music fans, this subculture is the leader in terms of originality and entertainment. Rappers appeared as part of the party and dance world, but gradually the cheerful disco life began to fade into the background and the motives of social problems, the struggle against the government, and the promotion of freedom and equality appeared in the texts.

rap music

This direction combines vocal experiments, dance art, as well as an active game of the body and facial expressions in the process of performance. Hip-hop has had a great influence on the formation of cultural values ​​among the youth of several generations. Like any social phenomenon, rap is gradually changing and adapting to new world conditions and laws, but at its core, the spirit of protest and rebellion still remains.

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