Performing Hip-Hop – Ethics, Complex Acting, And Tupac Shakur In Juice Cover Image

Performing Hip-Hop – Ethics, Complex Acting, And Tupac Shakur In Juice
Performing Hip-Hop – Ethics, Complex Acting, And Tupac Shakur In Juice

Author(s): Greg DeCuir Jr
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay
Published by: Zavod za proučavanje kulturnog razvitka
Keywords: Tupac Shakur; hip-hop; culture; ethics; media; performance; race

Summary/Abstract: Hip-hop is inextricably linked with moral reflections as they relate to the often dire state of young men surviving in economically- ravaged communities in America and throughout the world; young men who are often forced to resort to criminal activities and other morally-ambiguous actions for both survival and perseverance. As a culture that is perpetuated globally through media outlets which profit from the images that are trafficked, the ethics of the said media outlets must be measured in an attempt to gauge complicity in the often dangerous performances that hip-hop offers. This study attempts to understand the politics, aesthetics and repercussions of the performative aspects of hip-hop. As an art form, hip-hop creates socially-charged implications with regards to performance. However, in the complex performance art that is hip-hop, what is real? Rarely is there a boundary between life and art in hip-hop and that is because hip-hop is as much a way of life as it is an art form; the question then becomes, what is the tension between hip-hop art as performing and producing social and ethnic codes, or reflecting pre-existing ones? As the most influential and highest-selling hip-hop artist of all-time, Tupac Shakur presents an important case study for the performative aspect in hip-hop, particularly through his first starring role in a movie: Juice (1992) by Ernest Dickerson. Hip-hop and the media that channels it have created a most dangerous performance art, and the “juice,” or respect, that one struggles to earn must often be paid for at the expense of lives. A space is created for this dangerous performance art by way of ethical slippage. In order to extricate itself from this dubious situation, hip-hop must resist rampant commercialization while providing a site that is conducive to the uplifting of the downtrodden. It must renew and celebrate its sense of ethical purpose.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 127
  • Page Range: 269-286
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English