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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Pop Culture that America is Missing Out On – II

Music is a globally appreciated art form. Cultures from all parts of the world have created and communicated through music throughout history.  Most cultures have their own music style that is unique and based on ancestral influences. Of course, as global cinergy became a reality and the ability to share ideas and mesh cultures became easier and easier to do, traditional styles started to influence each other and marry into new genres of music.  This phenomenon seems to be reflected in the current trend in global pop culture today. This week, we have two fusion cases that are rocking Cambodia and Panama. In Cambodia, hip -hop / rap has blown up as an art form. Many groups rate up and down the Cambodian pop charts, but the most popular artist is praCh Ly.  When the artist was a toddler, his family escaped from Cambodia and moved to Long Beach California.  It was in California that he cut his first record in his parent’s garage. PraCh Ly uses the gritty, angry, and common language of hip-hop to accentuate his anti-governmental message.  Indeed, many Cambodian refugees found the charged, angry, almost revolutionary messages and style of hip-hop fit their situation well. The way hip-hop expressed injustices between black and white people in this country could also be used to express the grave injustices the Cambodian people had faced at the hands of their own government. “Hip hop got its start from refugees that fled to America, they discovered this hip hop music and the way it spoke out in such an effective way against obtrusive law enforcement and racist treatment,” said Pratna Chem, a UMB English major. “Then they liked the way it seemed to send a message in way they got people angry, so when they got deported back to Cambodia by the U.S. they took the raw angry style back with them. Besides, rapping is not all that foreign to the Cambodian people, we have our own name for it: Ah-Ye. It is like free styling sort of, except done around a campfire” PraCh Ly’s exemplifies this in a very powerful way. Similar to the way that the rappers of the ’80s and ’90s would mix in police sirens and APBs into their songs to reinforce their distrust of law enforcement, praCh Ly mixes in propaganda speeches to express hi mistrust in a government that is unjust. PraCh Ly’s main purpose seems to be education. He wants his people to be aware of the evils of its government and he seeks to tell the truth in a way that really grips people and may inspire them to action. In Panama, traditional Latino music forms have married with Jamaican reggae’s politically charged messages resulting in a music form of music known as reggaeton.  Rising to popularity in the early ’90s and quickly spreading all over the world, reggaeton blends traditional Latin American music styles like salsa and bachata with Jamaican dancehall sensibilities, as well as hip hop and electronic influences. Vocals, whether they are rapped or sung, are done in Spanish. “It started in Panama and originally it was very political” William Francois, a UMB Accounting major explained. “It had a message they way reggae had a politically charged feel, but nowadays it has come to mainstream and lost a lot of its meaning. Of course, it’s still popular.” Music bridges gaps, it connects cultures and has the power to influence and even completely shake up political structure.  It may be the mosttransformative element of popular culture and I hope this blending of styles continues, as maybe one day it will produce a truly universal music form.

About the Contributor
Jacob Aguiar served as the following positions for The Mass media the following years: News Editor: 2011-2012; Fall 2012 Leisure Editor: 2010-2011