Hip Hop Culture, Subculture, and the Social and Cultural Implications: A Comparative Case Study on Hip Hop Culture among Germany, Korea and the USA

힙합 문화, 하위문화, 그리고 이들 문화에 대한 사회·문화적 함축성: 독일, 한국 및 미국의 힙합 그룹들에 대한 비교분석을 중심으로

  • Received : 2017.04.07
  • Accepted : 2017.05.25
  • Published : 2017.06.28


People are most commonly divided by their nationality, but that does not mean they share the same culture. Even for people from one cultural background, subcultures play an important role for diversity and identity, and popular music is one way to express them. This study analyzed 6 songs of the Hip Hop genre from the US, Germany and South Korea, with one song each from the time of first emergence of the term 'Hip Hop' and one song each from 2016, selected on the basis of popularity indicated by music record sales and specialist literature on the history of Hip Hop. Through semiotic analysis of early and recent Hip Hop in each country, the changes in popular Hip Hop over time were examined. The results of this study show that through standardization, Hip Hop in the three countries has superficially become more similar and more focused on the individual, but on a detailed level shows significant differences: while U.S. Hip Hop refers to the American Dream, German Hip Hop displays an extreme image of masculinity, and Korean Hip Hop deals with private thoughts. Although popular Hip Hop nowadays does not explicitly exercise social criticism it is still ascribed the symbolic significance of a rebellious and revolutionary cultural practice that can be used to criticize and change culture as well as society.


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