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8 Mile: How Globalization Changed Hip-Hop

8 Mile: How Globalization Changed Hip-Hop

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Published by Sheri Mei

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Sheri Mei on Jan 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1Sheri BhirdoNovember 29, 2011GEO 272-World CulturesEssay #3
8 Mile: Class & Globalization
8 Mile is a film about a rapper named Jimmy who is White and trying to makeit as a big named rapper in the predominately black urban area of Detroit, Michigan.Many people feel the film is based loosely off of Eminems life, since he went throughmuch of the same struggle. Eminem states otherwise and says the film is applicableto anyone and is not really based off of his life. However, 8 Mile isnt just asignificant pop-culture film because it features well renowned rapper, Eminem. It ismuch more than that; it is a film that embodies a lot of themes and portrays manymessages in regards to racial identity, class and globalization of hip-hop.Right as the movie opens, we as the audience can tell that this movie isnt going to be a particularly light one. The lighting says it al. The dark lighting, as wellas the bluish and green hue that we see continued throughout the entire movie. Thistype of lighting seems to represent the seriousness of the movie, as well as gives themovie an industrial feel. This industrial feel leaves the audience with an idea that Jimmy lives in an impoverished, urban setting. Then, during the rap battle, we as anaudience are sure that the landscape in which Jimmy lives in is the urban setting of Detroit, Michigan.We can see that the rap battle in which Jimmy is about to participate in takesplace in the urban setting of the shelter, where there are predominately blackspresent. As the camera pans the room of the shelter, we see that a lot of the audienceis Black. Then, the camera focuses back on to Jimmy and we can see that he is theonly White person in the entire room. As a society, we often associate lower class,urban settings with having a predominately black population. In the movie, theblack citizens of 8 Mile also view their own urban place as being predominatelyBlack and take pride in the fact. They reflect their struggles of being Black and livingin urban settings where being lower class is an everyday struggle through music,specifically rap and hip-hop.
2Rap and hip-hop is something in which many African-American youthsidentify themselves with. In Murray Formans social commentary on hip-hop, TheHood Comes First: Race, Space, and Place in Rap and Hip-Hop, he shows how rapmusic differs from all other types of music. In rap music, Forman comments that there are explicit distinctions [in] [which] expose underlying interwoven contextsof racial difference, cultural tastes and audience demographics (xvi, Forman).Meaning, that there is a racial and cultural story behind rap and hip-hop. Theseracial and cultural contexts develop within urban spaces, where again, many Blacksreside. Rap is a form of self-expression amongst African American youth in urbanspaces. The genres music a lot of the time focuses on the struggle and hardships of being an urban minority, especially a lower-class minority, in a predominatelymiddle-class and white society.Rap music, as well as the associations and imagery that come along with rapand hip-hop culture have both created a type of nationalism amongst the Black community for a number of reasons. A standard definition of nationalism accordingto Mitchell is, a feeling of belonging to the nation (271, Mitchell). Nationalism isalso a concept, in which helps maintain autonomy, unity, and identity on behalf of apopulation deemed by some of its members to constitute an actual or potentialnation (271, Mitchell). Therefore, we can safely say that rap and hip-hop culture isa common interest and something that binds a lot of the Black community together,especially when it comes to blacks in urban settings. Again, this is because manyBlacks in urban settings have dealt with the hardships and struggle often talked inthe rap genre. Since rap music is something that is derived from urban settings,many Blacks feel that it is their contribution to culture and society. Hence, manyhave a sense of belonging, nationalism and pride within their community, while rapbrings all of that together through identification. Lastly, rap and hip-hop challengesWhite American society by stirring territorial confrontations between Black expressivity and White law and order (6, Forman). This sense of nationalism issomething like a culture war. The culture war being oppressed Blacks, specifically inurban settings against a predominately White society and as the quote stated,
3white law and order. This being something that Blacks have always had to liveunder.This sense of pride and nationalism among the Black community wasexemplified in 8 Miles first rap battle scene. Jimmy being the only white rapper andWhite person in the room nonetheless, is faced to battle Future a Black rapper in afree-style rap off. The concept of the battle being whoever has the best insult against the competitor, wins. Jimmys competitor makes it clear that being a White rappergains no respect amongst a primarily black community, who identify themselveswith rap and hip-hop music. Jimmys competitor states in his freestyle, They dont laugh because you white/ They laugh because youre white with a mic/ This is hip-hop, you dont belong/Youre a tourist (8 Mile). During this scene, the camera doesa close up of Jimmy and pans on the crowd, where there are only Black people are tobe seen. This gives the audience a sense that Jimmy is not welcomed and is anoutsider.The insult from Jimmy's opponent and the camera angles of the rap battlealone show that the black community feels rap belongs to them. Meaning, nooutsiders are welcome. In this case, Jimmy being the outsider due to the fact he iswhite and trying to get involved in rap, an activity that blacks feel belong to them.This in itself can represent or exemplifying nationalism. Jimmy being white makeshim an outsider in regards to rap music because he does not identify with what rapmusics traditional ideologies and notions. Also, Whites in society are associatedwith being privileged, while whites oppress blacks. Therefore, the Black communityin 8 Mile feel that Jimmy isnt legitimate when it comes to rapping because he is not able to identify with the Black community. This type of problem is very real inAmerican society, as well in other societies. In Mitchell, he states that these types of ideologies formed have been something that has made individuals in societyindentify ones relation in a social state or community (270, Mitchell). In otherwords, these ideologies have separated race, as well as form identifications withhow we perceive race. Also, it has made us form as a society ideologies of who isworthy to be
is and who isnt (270, Mitchell). In the case of 8 Mile, the

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