Subculture can be defined as a small culture that exists within one popular culture. It is a small group of people within a given culture that has its own characteristic features and differs from the rest. People belonging to such a subculture are defined by something unique. This distinguishing feature can be distinct or hidden but, nevertheless, it makes them stand out from the primary culture. It must be something outside the norm. In order to distinguish it one has to look for something that heads in the original culture’s opposite direction. It can range from something considered to be ridiculous to something rather earnest.
There exist many different types of subcultures. One can see them anywhere; some we can easily ignore while others can hardly go unnoticed. Some may make us feel uncomfortable while to some we can accommodate despite the fact that they are not a part of the everyday norm. Some subcultures and certain types of human behavior, associated with them, have actually greatly influenced the human race. That is why mankind began to study this phenomenon so as to determine if those subcultures can be categorized, or if they should just be considered deviations. Before looking into that we should take a look at some of the modern subcultures.
Some people can be easily defined as belonging to a certain subculture without one thinking much about it. For example, cult is a group of people whose religious beliefs and practises seem to be bizarre and this is definitely a subculture. Bisexuals - this is a group of people who have physical sexual attraction towards both males and females, something the common culture finds odd. Some cannot be easily defined as belonging to a subculture, but they definitely are; a clear example can be hit and run drivers. This act can be defined as a characteristic feature of a subculture because it happens in our culture but is outside the norm.
In search of identity or comfort zone, youth can find themselves in a subculture group. Some of the youth subcultures include greasers, hippies, goth, rockers, glam and preppy. They distinguish themselves with different types of clothing that stand out from the rest, weird haircuts and styles, the way they talk and walk, what they eat or even a certain color they have to incorporate with what they wear every day.
Subcultures can be divided into different categories, for example: age subcultures, geography subcultures, religious subcultures, nontraditional subcultures, ethnic, African American subcultures. The categories were designed for one to easily identify a subculture and have proper knowledge of dealing with it. Some people can be in a subculture subconsciously. For this reason studies are being conducted in order to identify subcultures and their effects. Before joining a subculture group people must have common interests with the members of the group. They join the group to enhance what they feel inside them, be it right or wrong.
In our society today hip-hop has become a popular subculture; the youth have embraced this way of life and its trends. This subculture originated in New York City in Bronx district in 1970s. Its roots come from the African American, Jamaican American, and Latino American communities. The subculture gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s; both the youth and adults accepted this lifestyle.
Hip-hop has become a lifestyle to those who practice it. The way they walk, talk and dress makes them different in comparison to other people. Scholars define it as not only a genre of music, but also a complex system of ideas, values and concepts that reflect newly emerging and ever-changing creative, corrective, and expressive mechanisms including, but not limited to songs, poetry, cinema, and fashion. When hip-hop originated there appeared disc jockeys, who created beats using the looping breaks – song potions emphasizing on a certain pattern. Later a rhythmic form of poetry and chanting, better known as rapping, was incorporated in the music. As hip-hop reached evolved, some forms of dressing and dancing were incorporated in the subculture. As time passed, a relationship between hip-hop and graffiti was born. The two cultures overlapped, and the two became one entity. Those who join this subculture say that they are independent, which in most scenarios has not been the case. When rap was first made, it was aimed at reducing the crime rate among the youth, but as time passed, the artists began rapping about drugs, weapons, violence and misogyny. The industry developed, but most of the music fans were African Americans.
Hip-hop has become a commercial industry. Mass media, magazines and the fashion industries have assisted a lot in making this industry grow and develop. The things associated with hip-hop tend to be costly, and people involve themselves in illegal behaviors just to get those products. For this reason, there has been much rejection of hip-hop in the society; the messages in the rap songs have contributed to the protests being more intense. Ironically, the more people blame this subculture, the more the youth want to be part of it. Everything they do reflects hip–hop style, which is negative in most cases.
Schools have taken extensive measures against the spreading of hip-hop culture, for example, they have imposed dress code and, in extreme cases, uniforms. They also put emphasis on the way students should talk and carry themselves around the school. If they fail to behave properly they may face serious consequences. What the school and the administrators fails to understand is that hip-hop has been planted deep in their minds and instead of fighting it, they should try and encourage hip-hop to be used in a positive way.
The main problem of hip-hop gets to be seen when the fans and members of this culture cross over to be gangsters. Gangsters’ association with hip-hop has extremely negative effects. Those who practice it have been seen getting involved in crimes and illegal activities.
The society reckons that rejecting hip-hop will improve the society’s state of affair. This conception may be true to some extent. But, at the same time, the forbidden fruit can be tempting. What the society should do is to find a way for the media and magazines to use hip-hop to provide positive messages to the society. Hip-hop should not be seen as evil but as a subculture that has a positive influence on young people. If to look at this subculture from a different angle, those who practice it should be creative and intelligent both in art and language. This positive nature of the subculture can be nourished to grow and help young people, who are lost in finding their identity, to become responsible. Instead of being gangster or outlaws they can come up with something that has a more positive effect on the community.
Indeed, some subcultures are not favorable, but people within them can be changed. This change will not come by shunning these cultures. Positive sides should be found in certain subcultures in order to adopt only good features out of them . This will create a friendly environment, where people can get along with each other in a comfortable way.