For many of today’s rappers, gone are the days of public housing and public assistance. Many artists who attempt to reflect what they believe to be the original elements of the culture are now considered to be alternative/underground hip hop artists. Artists and groups like Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dilated Peoples, Dead Prez, Blackalicious, and Jurassic 5 are working to champion the original elements of hip hop like lyrical excellence and try to emphasize messages of unity and activism instead of violence, material wealth, and misogyny. As hip hop reigns as a global phenomenon, it is increasingly the language of youth. Much of the Third World has adopted it as a way of resistance and expression.
According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines.