Paper 2- Aesthetics Are the Difference

Paper 2- Aesthetics Are the Difference

Kyle Messenger

Eng 123

Eric Drown

March 12, 2020

Aesthetics Are the Difference

Music has been a part of our culture forever. But, there are trends of certain kinds of artists switching their styles and essentially joining a different culture. This scenario has become an interesting conversation amongst white or female artists in rap culture today. For the most part, these kinds of artists tend to decline their success once entering this culture. Is it because of their skin color? Or, is there a deeper reasoning of  the cultural appropriation that plays a huge factor? Here we are going to analyze different opinions and define how these events have taken place and a result that can maybe fix this issue. I believe, if artists have different backgrounds of the cultural norm then they should display originality and aesthetic practices throughout their music in order to achieve success. Based on sources and the concept of rap music, being respectful will help artists that want to succeed in this field. For example,  let’s say a new white rap artist comes out with a new song about his life challenges growing up. Say the beat is good and his lyrics are clever and blend with the beat well. Then, I believe this rapper would receive more respect from the culture than someone like Miley Cyrus who raps immaturely about her behaviours and “lifestyle”.

In an article about culture appropriation in the music industry called, “Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Okay?.” Author James O. Young, gives us his information on the difference between “taking” or “making”  music from an artist or genre. Young explains his claims to why white rap artists are sometimes shunned by the hip-hop culutre. He gives us this information for the people within this culture that don’t want to see and feel disrespected by infamous artists. Not only that, but he is speaking to the different ethnic artists compared to the culture norm of rap to givethem tips on how to be successful without hurting your reputation in the rap culture. He then soon explains how music can be labeled as taking. The term he used to describe the factor that creates a negative label for the artist is because they had some sort of aesthetic difference. An aesthetic of something is a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement. So, what he is trying to say is if an artist doesn’t necessarily follow the same kind of guidelines, they will receive a lot of criticism and disrespect for misusing this society’s culture in a bad way. For example, in the article Young describes Richards claim to hpow cultural approprioation can be satisfied;. He explains, that one way it is wring is when they violate a right of some sort. The next idea he gives is that if they express their music in a disrespectful manner it is wrong. From the genre’s culture there is a good chance the artist will not be respected because the rest of the culture could feel disrespected for not being aesthetically aware of who they are representing when making the song. Here I believe the author makes a good understandable point from the readers point of view of his message. He later explains more claims to how one’s music can be offensive to a culture, “ there is the question of the offensiveness of cultural appropriation. Ill-informed appropriation, sacrilegious appropriation, and appropriation that does not acknowledge its sources, can be objectionably offensive.” (Young para. 14) This relates to the claim of having the right aesthetics to the music in order for it to be approved. If you were to paraphrase somebody’s work in your paper, you would need to give them credit for what they have done. What the author is trying to say is not only does the music need to be original but you must give credit to the ones who made this possible for you in some way, shape,or form. But, The word sacrilege means to violate or misuse the use of something sacred. So, if you misuse something sacreade to a culture or group, they would not welcome you back if they don’t punish you. Personally, I think that Jame’s view upon the difference in taking or making music and his diagnosis of how somebody can misuse another cultures practices in ways that make it disrespectful. Honestly, I agree with his way of figuring out what these artists are doing wrong but I also believe it is the way they present it as well as making the song itself disrespectful in the first place. Which turns out, these are some of the respected beliefs as to why this happens in today’s society.

Author, Matthew Strohl had a few points in his argument about cultural appropriation. He defined how white rappers have failed in the industry mainly because of the disrespect and over glorifying themselves in a place where they don’t belong in. Such assumptions of white rappers can be countered by some new aged artists but Strohl uses a specific word to help give the reader an image of what he’s trying to say when a  white female or male is shunned by their music culture. The word he uses is “wanton disrespect”, this action means to show a violent or cruel action or even meaning secually unrestrained women. This phrase is used in his article to help the reader understand how and why artists such as Miley Cyrus are basically getting kicked out of hip hop.” Iggy and Miley have become such thoroughgoing rap pariahs because they have shown wanton disrespect to the very form they borrow from. But the case of Macklemore shows us that respect isn’t sufficient for acceptance. If anything, he’s nauseatingly obsequious. By all appearances, Macklemore’s main problem is that he sucks.Also, he has fallen under fire for trying to speak on behalf of Black hip hop culture in condemning other white rappers.His presumption in branding himself “one of the good ones” is another way of overstepping, akin to appropriation.” (para. 2)  Here he addresses his reason for how people are stepping over the line without even thinking it’s a problem. But, we can understand how if one was to do the same to something we love and call it theres and participate in disrespectful acts while representing “their” music, it can really drown an artists success. I can see where Stroh is coming from, if you come from a different place and you are lucky enough to be welcomed in a new kind of society. Then, you disrespect your original culture by talking down to them. You will not get much respect from your current place with your new culture because they now could look at you differently. What I like about Stroh’s argument is that he explains how people who’ve had success switching their styles always made their music to an original style that they clearly made. Once somebody makes the switch, it better be good and unique or there’s a chance they could become an embarrassment to the culture they are trying to represent.

In James O. Young article he expands upon his argument of the reason why different rappers of different races such as white, are failing because they display an “aesthetic difference” compared to the other artists in hip-hop. Young repeatedly refers to his reasoning for cultural appropriation off of  the artist’s style and how it is presented. In addition, aesthetic means to appreciate beauty and respecting the so called guidelines for artists in their field. Also, he often refers to other sources that have the same aesthetic reasoning as Young described. Young’s article gives us his ideas all throughout the article, like how I explaine before of how artists need to make their music rather than take music and without using  it in a way that disrespects the rap culture. He adds, if your song is original and unique, white rappers would be more likely to succeed in their careers. For example, if you were to be at a church and then you start playing rock music during the event. There’s a very good chance that person would not be appreciated by the members in the church. When you are in a different culture setting there are ways you should act to be respectful to the owners. If not,  just like in society in general,you won’t be liked.

Author Alexus Mcleod explains his moral view about rap artists in one of his articles, “Is hip hop “Black music”? Is it “poor people’s music”? Or both? Or is urban poverty close enough to what the popular imagination associates with Blackness that possessing such a background is seen as legitimizing?” ( para. 5) Personally, I disagree about calling the music that name but he does have a point. Most rap artists mention times of their life  that relate to such things. But, in fact, there has been some changes with this problem in rap today. Artists such as Jack Harlow, or Lil Dicky have been successful in this genre. If you’re asking why it’s because they make their songs their own without potentially disrespecting the rap culture because their music is purely original and some may say good quality. Throughout the article Mcleod often speaks about how the music genre basically has to be only black people in order to be successful and respectful to the genre’s culture. If you are saying that about the music right off of the bat and continuously speak upon it. You would think that the author would do a better job distinguishing his biases to help the reader understand in a more in depth way other than just blaming it on skin color.  Unfortunately, Mcleod feels strong about his view which is important because there are people in the world who agree with him.

When being in a different culture, you will first be preceded as an outcast or somebody that doesn’t fit. No matter where you are and what you’re doing, people are going to question you and your quality of work. But, I believe when this happens if you stick to being original without disrespecting anything about your new position. Also, practicing having that aesthetic quality in your work, there is a better chance for an artist to not only be accepted in this culture, but to be admired by the other artists. 

Works cited


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