Anyway, I came across a video about Japanese underground hip hop from the Vice Japan Youtube channel. It was quite interesting to say the least. I am always fascinated at how certain cultural aspects can transcend nations and make it all the way across the world. Hip hop is definitely one of those things, whether you like it or not.
My first thought about watching this Japanese hip hop video was that these guys are HOOD. They go their swag turned on like Soulja Boy. These guys were decked out in bandannas, doo-rags, pants to the ground, hat turned sideways (100 points if you get that reference). Apparently the Japanese hip hop scene is very small. It's funny how trends in hip hop fashion can spread so fast. They were even doing hand signs. I'm black and these guys are blacker than me. LOL
There are many people, specifically black people, that will decry any emulation of hip hop culture by anyone who is not black. I am not one of those people. Yes, hip hop and rap were started by black people here in the United States, but it has gotten so large that hip hop scenes are emerging at every corner of the world, with the mecca of course, being here. I don't like the idea of hip hop and rap being something that is solely and authentically "black." I am black and I do not participate in hip hop culture nor do I listen to rap music. It is not to defy some stereotype. I grew up around rap music and know plenty about it even though I don't go out of my way to listen to it. Occasionally there is a song or artist that I will like but that's it. I don't consider myself a special snowflake for not listening to rap; it is what it is. Being black does not have to be associated with hip hop culture, though that is something that most people don't seem to understand. Since images of black people portrayed in the media are quite limited, most of the images people get are from rap and hip hop music. Thus, it gets associated with all black people and the black experience.
That is why I have no problem with others indulging in the culture, the clothing, the mannerisms, etc. They are not trying to be "black" by doing these things just like I am no less black by not doing those things. Yes, I made a joke about these Japanese hip hop artists being blacker than me, but that is merely in jest and partially referring to people who call me "white" for not being a walking stereotype. Now, that doesn't mean that no problems exist. There are people that take no this guise of faux-blackness as a commodity and selling point, at the expense of black people who have been doing these things all along. It is no coincidence that white rappers like Vanilla Ice (yep, he sold over a million records at one point. It was a dark time), Eminem, Macklemore, etc. gain fame. They produce the appeal of hip hop culture without the negative stereotypes of being black. Also, in other countries, a lot of aspects of hip hop culture and imagery are taken on as a gimmick for widespread appeal, all the while questionable and downright offensive acts take place (use of n-word, blackface, etc.) as is constantly seen in K-Pop.
All that being said, if these guys in hood in Japan want to turn their swag on, wear doo-rags and sing songs about money and "d**k in the p****y" that's fine by me. I'm not the hip hop police anyway. I honestly just thought that it was a little silly that the Japanese hip hop artists were basically mimicking pretty much everything about hip hop culture. There was no originality at all. On the other hand, second rate rappers here do the same thing. However, as for the rappers featured in the video....maybe they should stick to their day job.