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Authenticity is often a serious debate within hip hop culture. Dating back to its origins in the 1970s in the Bronx, hip hop revolved around a culture of protest and freedom of expression in the wake of oppression suffered by African-Americans. As hip hop has become less of an underground culture, it is subject to debate whether or not the spirit of hip hop is embodied in protest, or whether it can evolve to exist in a marketable integrated version. In "Authenticity Within Hip Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation", Commentator Kembrew McLeod argues that hip hop culture is actually threatened with assimilation by a larger, mainstream culture. Believing that hip hop should be utilized as a voice for social justice, Tate points out that in the marketable version of hip hop, there isn't a role for this evolved genre in context of the original theme hip hop originated from (freedom from oppression). The problem with Black progressive political organizing isn't hip hop, but that the No. 1 issue on the table needs to be poverty, and nobody knows how to make poverty sexy.
Tate discusses how the dynamic of progressive Black politics cannot apply to the genre of hip hop in the current state today due to the genre's heavy involvement in the market. In his article he discusses hip hop's 30th birthday and how its evolution has become more of a devolution due to its capitalistic endeavors. Both Tate and McLeod argue that hip hop has lost its authenticity due to its losing sight of the revolutionary theme and humble "folksy" beginnings the music originated from. "This is the first time artists from around the world will be performing in an international context. The ones that are coming are considered to be the key members of the contemporary underground hip hop movement." This is how the music landscape has broadened around the world over the last ten years. The maturation of hip hop has gotten older with the genres age, but the initial reasoning of why hip hop has started will always be intact.
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