Think back to your teenage years. Do you remember how unique of a time period that was for you? It was a time that you began to develop your own identity and most likely started to really think critically about things. You were stuck in a place that was not really childhood nor adulthood. It’s the time period where you really begin to develop your speculative and complex reasoning abilities. It’s also a time where you probably began to reflect about your thoughts and develop your own self-concepts. A lot of these thoughts and self-concepts were drawn upon your musical influences.
If you were anything like me growing up, Hip-Hop music (also known as rap music) was one of the things that you really felt connected to. Not only did you feel that you were a part of the culture, you felt like the culture was a part of you. I can remember trying to dress like my favorite rapper. I used the same slang as my favorite rapper. I tried to wear my hair like my favorite rapper (yeah I really did have hair at one point), I wanted to be just like my favorite rapper. I took my personal life experiences and could listen to lyrics of my favorite rapper and decipher what was relevant to me then apply it to my life. My teenage years was a time that I was really shaping my personal values and ideas. It was a point in time that I was really trying to explore my relationship with the world and find my way.
During those years, I was a very social person. I would try to fit in with certain crowds based on my perception of what was cool. I was often worried about how I might appear to others instead of how I felt about myself. Growing up in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, I was in search of an identity that would make me appear cool while still being myself. I found comfort in knowing that Hip-Hop was a place in which I could do just that, be cool while being myself. I could identify with hip hop’s ideology, style, values, and lifestyle and it offered me a source of solace as an identity seeking teenager.