Far across the Atlantic in the nation of Somalia, Kaynaan Warsame was introduced to rap from the musical styling hip hop artist of Eric B. and Rakim. Even though K'Naan could not understand English during the time, his heart thumped along with the beat of Paid in Full. As fate might say, music proved itself to be the universal language that transcends all cultures. In no time, K'Naan would hone his rapping abilities, master the English language, and gain admiration across the globe as the "dusty foot philosopher." Minute by minute, as the world grows smaller, K'naan's narrative puts an international face on the burgeoning hip hop movement.
Though produced in the U.S. by African-Americans (some with Jamaican heritage), rap tradition and music is now global in scope. Asia, The Middle East, Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean have long-established hip hop followings. According to the U.S. Department of State, rap is now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world that crosses social boundaries and cuts across racial outlines. National Geographic acknowledges rap as the world's most popular youth culture in which pretty much every country in the world appears to have developed its own local rap scene. Through its international travels, hip hop has become considered a global musical pandemic, and has diverged from its ethnic roots by way of globalization and localization.
From its early spread to Europe to an almost globally popularity through Asia and South American nations such as Brazil, the musical impact has been global. Hip hop sounds and styles vary from area to area, but there is also a lot of crossbreeding. Unlike the old genres, which made popular throughout the country via radio, hip hop has a tendency to keep its regional identity. Regardless of where it is found, the tunes often focuses on local disaffected youth.
Hip hop has given individuals a voice to express themselves, from the Bronx to Beirut, Kazakhstan to Cali, Hokkaido to Harare gangster rap is the new sound of a disaffected global youth culture. Though on the global scale there is a heavy impact from US culture, various civilizations worldwide have transformed rap with their own customs and beliefs. Global gangster rap works best when it exhibits cultures that reside away from main arteries of the African Diaspora. Not all nations have embraced rap, where as should be expected in countries with strong local lifestyle, the interloping wild type of hip hop might not be welcomed.
Although some non-American hip hop performer may still connect with young urban Americans, gangster rap now goes beyond its original culture, and is appealing because it is custom-made to battle the anomie that preys on teenagers wherever no one understands their name. Hip hop is attractive in its ability to give a voice to disenfranchised youth in any country, and as songs with a message, it is a type accessible to all organizations throughout the world. Gangster rap has impacted many different nations culturally and socially in positive ways. Thousands of organizers from Cape Town to Paris use rap in their areas to handle ecological justice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education.
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