Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Ghetto Cracker


With our recent study of hip-hop culture I found this article to be very compelling. The “ghetto cracker” is a concept that places blame on Southern “crackers” of the post-antebellum period for the violent, substance abusing, and sexist characteristics that influence hip-hop music today. This article argues that when African Americans migrated to inner cities in the north during the Great Migration, they took with them bad habits picked up from “Cracker Communities”. Southern crackers were considered to be brute, ignorant, promiscuous, drunken, partying, selfish, hotheads. Ghetto crackers arguably, pursue a self-destructive lifestyle that completely disregards morality and societal values. These characteristics have been embraced by the hip-hop community, which started in the North, and began to fuel the lyrics that produced an immense amount of popularity in American society.
The African American community has been heavily criticized for its contribution to the hip-hip culture. I argue that White Americans are just as guilty as black people in contributing to the demeaning, money hungry, fervent themes the hip-hop industry has picked up over the years. Even if it’s not entirely due to the “cracker culture” of the Old-South, White America has definitely capitalized on the hip-hip culture. Most of the owners of major hip-hop record companies are White people. They are indirectly responsible for picking what images they want to represent their companies. Rappers are paid to portray images most appealing to consumers and unfortunately those images line up with “cracker” characteristics. While some might call this “selling-out”, all of the blame cannot solely be placed on the African American community for the images they portray in hip-hop culture. At the end of the day this world continues to be driven by money, and regrettably the most violent, degrading lyrics are the ones that sell the most. Nonetheless, hip hop rappers need to move away from only promoting negative images white and black owners, executives, and consumers feed into.
The Hip-Hop industry has always been a major source of criticism and controversy. Many people have spoken out on the negative portrayals of African Americans the industry has generated over the years. Do you think the “Ghetto Cracker” concept is a reasonable explanation for the on growing, damaging images and lyrics associated with Hip-Hop? Are there other prominent factors that play a role in the messages the hip-hop industry promotes? What can be done to help change these notions?


  1. Like we spoke about in class I think that Hip Hop is just the reflection of the ideas of the greater society (greater as in larger not better). The values presented in Hip Hop are not determined by what is black they are determined by what sells.

  2. Taylor, I agree with you that part of the blame should be given to white people. In the documentary we saw in class today we saw that 70% of hip hop/rap music is purchased by young white men. I think that pushing all of the blame onto the African American community can be explained by the need for mainstream America to have someone to blame for a change in social culture. Unfortunately, I am not sure if there is anyway to radically change this system. I think that change will only come from years of gsocial reform and self-examination. As our generation ages and we see issues with the music we listen to, it will be up to us to shape what our kids listen to and enjoy. Our generation will likely always be attracted to hip hop and rap for its beats and catchy lyrics, but our kids may be able to enjoy a type of music without the negative themes of sex, drugs, and violence. I suppose we will have to wait and see.