Perceptions of hip hop music and culture range wildly:

Hip hop is either seen as merely something that is bought and sold and encourages the worst human impulses or as the most authentic picture of Black life and the epitome of political critique and resistance. Yet when we look closer, we can see that hip hop is a traded commodity and an oppositional culture at the same time. This is because hip hop is an artistic form, found in djing, emceeing, dance, and graffiti, and a form of knowledge and culture that can shape how we think, talk, dress and act in the world. As result, hip hop music and culture is an important site of “contradictions and contestations”—a place of debate over a range of issues from the power of the media and the marketplace and state violence to questions of gender and sexuality and the struggle for racial justice