Research Paper: Hip Hop Culture in Saudi Arabia

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Hip Hop Culture in Saudi Arabia

Culture and globalization

Culture which refers to the symbolic systems Williams 91()

through which human beings exist and coexist has been globalized by taking ideas, values and meanings across national borders through international travel and the Internet. These global shifts in culture are seen to be creating rapid social changes in the society with some proponents of culture being seriously dislocated Thompson 214.

Globalization is the homogenization of culture not just in a spatial but also in a temporal manner Thompson 211.

It is manifested in various ways such as business, religion, language, sports, music and even cuisine.

Culture is closely related to other items such as identity and subjectivity. As argued by Thompson (217)

culture creates social identities which individuals subject themselves to. It is argued that culture creates a distinction between the inside and outside of the social norms which the person would like to identify with. Multiple identities also exist where the individual may pick more than one identity which may be manifested at different times or to different people Thompson 217-18.

Globalization has been argued to break the territorial border of culture and ethnicities through contemporary migration such as city to city, and international migration to bring together people from different backgrounds Werbner and Modood 31()

which are then merged to localize the different cultures.

An argument is presented by Munoz-Laboy, Weinstein and Parker (615)

that cultural globalization is a long-term process that took place in the historical period and continues taking place today. This suggests that culture comes from traditions that are passed on from one generation to another. Through innovation, different cultures can be combined and merged for form a more localized culture that is based on others Williams 214.

This is what is referred to as 'multi culture.'

Cultural globalization is conceived as the integration of human activities from another region into the religious and cultural practices and language of a different region. In one sense, it is about transcending geographical, linguistic and social distance Silverstone 9()

towards adopting a new culture or aspects of a culture.

Methodology

The research question is "To what extent does globalization effect or reason for the creation of rap & hip hop Culture in the Western province in Saudi (Jeddah and Mecca)?" In order to answer this question, two major methods are used. The first is semiotics and the second is discourse analysis.

Semiotics

Semiotics is simply defined as the study of signs such as drawings, photographs, paintings, videos, sounds, words and body language in order to find emerging themes. In semiotics, three aspects are studied. These are semantics which is the relationship between the signs identified and their intended meaning, syntactics which finds the relationship between the signs and the formal structures used and the last is pragmatics which finds the relationship between the sign and the agents who use the signs Presmeg and Radford 268()

In the current study, the three aspects of semiology will be used to improve the design of the study as well as to compensate for the weaknesses of each of the three aspects of semiology. The video and photographs available on Jeddah rappers will be analyzed in relation to those of U.S. rappers in order to find common themes as well as differences. Aspects that will be analyzed include clothing, rap style, aspects of hip hop culture such as break dancing, DJing or turntablism and language. The cross-cultural nature of the rappers will also be analyzed through indexing these items and finding how they relate to each other.

Discourse analysis

Discourse analysis will also be used in this study. It involves studying and analyzing language use in order to find similarities and differences between the two cultures (U.S. hip hop and Jeddah hip hop culture). Discourse analysis will be important in ensuring that the lyrics used by the rappers are analyzed in a valid and reliable way to provide the results. The advantage of using the Discourse analysis method is that it involves critical thinking and allows for the researcher to make judgment calls in a transparent manner. It also allows for creativity in performing the analysis and to change the analysis perspective as is deemed necessary for the particular study being conducted Rogers et al. 413()

Ensuring reliability and validity

In order to ensure validity and reliability of the study findings, eight elements of hip hop will be looked at in this analysis. These are breakdancing, rapping, graffiti art, DJing, beatboxing, street fashion, street language or slang and street entrepreneurship.

Literature review

History of Jeddah and Maccah

Jeddah was inhabited since the Stone Age period which is evidenced by artifacts and ancient 'Thamoudian' writings found in the east of Jeddah. It was founded more than two and a half centuries ago as a fishing village. Jeddah was known since the 646 AD as the official port of the Holy cities of Medina and Makkah (Mecca).

Today, it is still known as a port for pilgrims since it holds the Holy City of Mecca where thousands flock each year to perform Hajj. Local legend states that the city got its name 'Jeddah' meaning grandmother from the burial of Eve. The graveyard or Hawa Cemetery as it is known still exists though is out of bounds to all non-Muslims. Old stories state that Adam and Eve came to live in Jeddah after being expelled from the Garden of Eden. It is believed that Eve visited Adam in Makkah or Mina while in Jeddah. The story also recounts Eve's death and her burial in a tomb which could be seen from Bab Medina and that was able to withstand the test of time till 500 years ago when the wall was demolished to pave way for expansion of the city Serjeant 194()

Today Jeddah is a modern metropolis with admirable buildings, palaces, homes and streets. The city has over 1.5 million inhabitants and has a long standing history of being a major center for commerce in the Arabian Peninsula. Roughly two thousand five hundred years ago, it was only a small village that was home to the Quda'a tribe who were majorly fishermen. Jeddah has since been known to facilitate trade between Mediterranean and Eastern Countries Abu-Ghazzeh 53()

General information on Al Hijaz

Al Hijaz or Hejaz is the western region of Saudi Arabia bordering the Red Sea and Jordan. The main city is Jeddah which is known for the Islamic Holy cities of Medina and Mecca (Makkah). The Hejaz holds high significance in the Arab and Islamic politics and history as a result of these two Islamic holy places. It is though that from the story of the Garden of Eden, the whole land of Havilah through which the first head of the river that flowed out of Eden went is now the Arabian Peninsula with the Hejaz Mountains.

The immigrant communities that resided in the Hejaz

As a result of the Hejaz region having two holy cities, the region underwent through numerous empires before becoming the center of the Caliphate. The Caliphate was an Islamic state that was led by a supreme religious and political leader referred to as a caliph which literally meant successor. It was believed that a caliph was a successor to prophet Muhammud. Years later, its capital was then moved to Damascus. During this time, it was controlled by immigrants from Egypt and the Ottoman Empire before the early 20th century when the region underwent political independence. Many current inhabitants of the Hejaz region consider themselves Umayyads to the Ottomans Steele 20()

Culture history

Jeddah and Mecca which are in the Heyaz region are majorly Arabic and Warabi Islam settings. This means that most historical culture is shared between the regions. The city is deeply rooted in Islamic teachings and Arabic customs stemming from the early ages. Arabic traditions are key highlights of the lives of people living in Jeddah and Mecca. These include age-old traditions such as generosity to strangers, hospitality, the coffee culture and burning of incense which is a welcome sign for guests Gana 26()

In terms of Music, Saudi Arabia is most known for participation in the Al Ardha which is the country's national dance. However, the sword dance is also popular in the region and is especially done with Al-sihba folk music which has its origin from the al-Andalus. In Mecca and Jeddah especially, song and dance are incorporated into the sound of the mizmar which is a woodwind instrument that look like an oboe. The popular dance in the region is the mizmar dance. Drums are also important instruments with Samri being one of the popular forms of music and dance that is played using drums. Dancing is based on rhythmic stepping, stomping and jumping in synchronization with the drum beats Gana 31()

Before hip hop emerged as a music genre in Jeddah and Arabia in general, Arab-Americans were the only individuals who were involved in hip hop. American hip hop began to become… [END OF PREVIEW]

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