Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hip Hop Consumerism

The last Hip Hop video we watch in class really put a spin on the hip hop lifestyle I am somewhat familiar with. No, I have never really listened to rap, even though I make an earnest attempt to freestyle with my friends. And I've never really attempted to immerse myself within the culture as a poser. At the same time however, the hip hop culture has a certain allure to it; it is rebellious, it is cool.
Just yesterday I took a trip to Vacaville Outlets to take a look around (I'm too poor to buy anything anyway). I went into the Marc Ecko store, as it is the closest thing I can identify with. And you wouldn't believe what I saw there. The store in general was like any other store: it had clothes with displays everywhere sale signs etc. However the most striking difference was the video playing on multiple (10+) monitors: really really hot girls ironing and folding clothes in skimpy bikinis in a large room of some sort which vastly resembled the store itself. And I must say, the videos, somehow, made me much more likely to purchase a sweater even though its like 90 degrees outside now. Of course I did not give in to the temptation: I was too hot to think I needed MORE clothes.
As in the Hip Hop video, the power of the image is almost the most important. Hip Hop legends talk about the importance of physical appearance as a medium of identity: shoes, clothes, cars, women, etc. Ecko definitely portrays this fundamental theme with advertisements for Red, a particular brand of shoe geared towards the younger generation.

The impact and trendiness of hip hop can be seen as Japan, infamous for its style,has taken to the movement as well. However, the movement is quite different from that in the US. In the US it is a style of culture and way of living. Many hip hop artists grew up in the streets and lived a life of difficulty and hardships. Hip hop in Japan, on the other hand, seems to revolve around the dance aspect of the culture. Hip Hop follows the mainstream scene while the US focuses more on the obscure. The differences are astounding.

Some of the Hip Hop characters also specifically said that image is not at important. They didn't care about having the dopest shoes or the hottest ice. Clearly it is possible to evade the marketing ploys.
AntiConsumerism may be less about buying the products and more about resisting image and culture. Whenever you see something that looks cool, think twice!!

Evan Wong
Blog #5

Hip Hop We got Your Kids. In Class Video

Hip Hop Culture

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