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Genre theory case study
Black sheep – The choice is yours
• Low angle and close up shots are generically used in hip hop music video
in order to establish the artist’s dominance over the audience. Low angles
imply power as they portray the artist as above the audience looking
down upon them. Close ups are used to imply status as it portrays the
artist as important enough to have frames of their own.
• Examples of low angle and close up shots within other hip hop
music videos. Intertextual references to other hip hop videos
showing it as a generic convention.

Krs-One, Mad Lion, Doug E Fresh, Fat
Joe, Smif-N-Wessun & Jeru D&D All
Star

Das EFX – They want EFX

Pharcyde- Drop
Black sheep – The choice is yours

Immortal Technique & Akir - Apocalypse/Treason
•

Hip hop videos tend to contain a crowd around
performers dancing or jumping in time with the
beat, implying they enjoy the song. This gives the
performer credibility showing that the song is
popular which makes it easier for the audience to
identify with the music and also enjoy the song.
The crowd signify the artist’s power and implies
status as people follow them.

Das
EFXReal
hip
hop
Zulu nation:

•

Black
sheepThe
choice
is yours

Over sized clothing or Sporting attire,
basketball shirts:

Costumes that are generic for hip hop music videos vary depending on the style and
aim of performer. However a common convention is Sporting attire such as basketball
shirts in order to connote strength. However members of the zulu nation, a hip hop
awareness group trying to spread multiculturalism by wearing various attire from
various different alternative cultures. Members of the zulu nation challenge dominant
generic conventions by wearing clothes that are not expected or generic, although this
has become generic for some artists itself with many artists wanting to spread
awareness rather than violence. Another common convention is wealthy looking
jewellery of which this music video challenges by not containing any.
- cuts to documentary
evidence of racism, image
of KKK is ripped up, then
there is a cut to a black and
white image of news
photograph of a race crime,
this is used in order to show
the artists political ideology
and their objection to
racism

The performers within the video create a strong link
between lyrics visuals (Goodwin) by giving the
audience the choice, “ you can get with this or you can
get with that.” the performers tear down the negative
stimuli within the visuals from the screen, bringing it
back to the music and mixing, strengthening the link
whilst challenging conventions, attempting to break
off the music from the associated stereotypes,
promoting a positive state of mind.

•

When “cat” is used in the
rhyme the visuals quickly
cut to a cat, strengthening
the link between the sound
and visuals.

In hip hop videos, there is usually some link between the music and lyrics. In most, it is as simple as
showing an object they are referring to. This is because narrative is not a huge thing in hip hop videos, so
the need for these objects to appear links the video to the song. This needs to happen because otherwise
the video is seen as irrelevant. The music video is like a “tangled ball” (Barthes) showing both sides of their
argument, whilst leaving lyrics and visuals open to interpretation by minimizing narrative and giving the
audience the choice.
• It is generic for hip hop artists to work closely with other artists and
promote each others work. although this is not present easily in the
visuals, it is mentioned within the lyrics, “black sheep of the native”
& “brothers in the jungle, cousins on the quest”. Native referring to
the hip hop collective, native tongues formed in the 80’s closely tied
to the universal Zulu nation and the promotion of positive, good
nature lyrics. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Tongues)
Brothers in the jungle referring to “The Jungle Brothers” and on the
quest referring to “A Tribe Called Quest”, showing how hip hop is
spread through social convergence and generically artists tend to
promote one and other. Although this is not visible in the visuals,
Black Sheep- The choice is yours, still highlights it as a generic
convention of which the genre probably relies on.
•

Voyeuristic treatment of the female body is generally used extensively within the genre of
hip-hop. This is because the wider audience of hip hop is male, therefore the ‘male gaze
theory’ is applied to music video in order to maintain male viewer’s interest and to attract
more people into the audience. (According to Wikipedia: Gaze is a psychoanalytical term
brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan to describe the anxious state that comes with
the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the
subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object.) In terms
of media it refers to how an audience views people being presented. Laura Mulvey coined
the term ‘Male Gaze’ in 1975 claiming that in film, audiences have to ‘view’ characters from
the perspective of a heterosexual male. This Relegates women to the status of objects.
Sexualisation of the female body even in situations where female sexiness has nothing to do
with the product being advertised is used in order to widen audiences and gain “fans”
through the women within the video rather than purely the music. This convention is used
briefly in the opening scene of this music video in order to initially captivate male viewers.
However the lyrics in the opening repeat “this or that” in order to challenge this convention,
posing the audience the question, the music or the women in order to promote a more
progressive message towards to convention of voyeurism within hip hop, similar to the links
made between lyrics and visuals later on within the video (Goodwin).
• Black sheep- ‘The choice is yours’ relies on the
concept of binary opposition proposing within
visuals opposites, as above a violent “shooter”,
contrasted with them tearing it down with a
bright white background connoting innocence.
Claude Levis Strauss argued “constant creation of
conflict/ opposition drives narrative” which is
evident within this video with the lack of
storytelling made up by constant conflict against
the negative stereotypes people typically
associate with the music.
• Hip hop music videos tend to promote the artist as a
whole rather than just the song. The focus is generally
on the status, reputation and message of the
performer, this is achieved through links between lyrics
and visuals.
• Intextuality is used a lot within hip hop music videos
• Voyeuristic treatment of the female body is common
within the genre of hip hop, but varies with progressive
and regressive representations of generic conventions
depending on the artist/ labels aim.
This video and Goodwin’s theory
•

•

•

•

This video ties in well with Goodwin's theory of narrative as for one, the music
video demonstrates many genre characteristics as shown, while challenging
the less progressive characteristics.
The video relies on a strong relationship between the lyrics and the visuals
which are used to illustrate, amplify or contradict the artists message and the
typical genre characteristics. The music is also related to the visuals with the
video edited so that the crowd jumps in time with the music, as well as cuts
from one shot to the next in time with the beat, a characteristic generic of hiphop music.
The record of label of artists tend to require many close up’s of the artists
throughout videos in order to establish an image as well as a sound, which is
evident throughout this video.
There is often intertextual references to other productions/ artist which is
evident within this video and previously discussed.
Gunther Kress’s explanation of genre
• Gunther Kress defines genre as “a kind of text that derives
its form from the structure of a (frequently repeated) social
occasion, with its characteristic participants and their
purpose. This explanation explains the formulation of this
music video in terms of how it reflects generic conventions,
and the repetition of a social occasion, with the social
occasion being the performance of the artist which is
repeated although varied throughout nearly all
performance hip hop music videos. This also argues that
the characteristic conventions used within the video are
used in order to fulfil the needs of the audience who are
used to the repetition of the “formula” which creates a
music video that they like.

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Genre theory case study

  • 1. Genre theory case study Black sheep – The choice is yours
  • 2. • Low angle and close up shots are generically used in hip hop music video in order to establish the artist’s dominance over the audience. Low angles imply power as they portray the artist as above the audience looking down upon them. Close ups are used to imply status as it portrays the artist as important enough to have frames of their own.
  • 3. • Examples of low angle and close up shots within other hip hop music videos. Intertextual references to other hip hop videos showing it as a generic convention. Krs-One, Mad Lion, Doug E Fresh, Fat Joe, Smif-N-Wessun & Jeru D&D All Star Das EFX – They want EFX Pharcyde- Drop
  • 4. Black sheep – The choice is yours Immortal Technique & Akir - Apocalypse/Treason • Hip hop videos tend to contain a crowd around performers dancing or jumping in time with the beat, implying they enjoy the song. This gives the performer credibility showing that the song is popular which makes it easier for the audience to identify with the music and also enjoy the song. The crowd signify the artist’s power and implies status as people follow them. Das EFXReal hip hop
  • 5. Zulu nation: • Black sheepThe choice is yours Over sized clothing or Sporting attire, basketball shirts: Costumes that are generic for hip hop music videos vary depending on the style and aim of performer. However a common convention is Sporting attire such as basketball shirts in order to connote strength. However members of the zulu nation, a hip hop awareness group trying to spread multiculturalism by wearing various attire from various different alternative cultures. Members of the zulu nation challenge dominant generic conventions by wearing clothes that are not expected or generic, although this has become generic for some artists itself with many artists wanting to spread awareness rather than violence. Another common convention is wealthy looking jewellery of which this music video challenges by not containing any.
  • 6. - cuts to documentary evidence of racism, image of KKK is ripped up, then there is a cut to a black and white image of news photograph of a race crime, this is used in order to show the artists political ideology and their objection to racism The performers within the video create a strong link between lyrics visuals (Goodwin) by giving the audience the choice, “ you can get with this or you can get with that.” the performers tear down the negative stimuli within the visuals from the screen, bringing it back to the music and mixing, strengthening the link whilst challenging conventions, attempting to break off the music from the associated stereotypes, promoting a positive state of mind. • When “cat” is used in the rhyme the visuals quickly cut to a cat, strengthening the link between the sound and visuals. In hip hop videos, there is usually some link between the music and lyrics. In most, it is as simple as showing an object they are referring to. This is because narrative is not a huge thing in hip hop videos, so the need for these objects to appear links the video to the song. This needs to happen because otherwise the video is seen as irrelevant. The music video is like a “tangled ball” (Barthes) showing both sides of their argument, whilst leaving lyrics and visuals open to interpretation by minimizing narrative and giving the audience the choice.
  • 7. • It is generic for hip hop artists to work closely with other artists and promote each others work. although this is not present easily in the visuals, it is mentioned within the lyrics, “black sheep of the native” & “brothers in the jungle, cousins on the quest”. Native referring to the hip hop collective, native tongues formed in the 80’s closely tied to the universal Zulu nation and the promotion of positive, good nature lyrics. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Tongues) Brothers in the jungle referring to “The Jungle Brothers” and on the quest referring to “A Tribe Called Quest”, showing how hip hop is spread through social convergence and generically artists tend to promote one and other. Although this is not visible in the visuals, Black Sheep- The choice is yours, still highlights it as a generic convention of which the genre probably relies on.
  • 8. • Voyeuristic treatment of the female body is generally used extensively within the genre of hip-hop. This is because the wider audience of hip hop is male, therefore the ‘male gaze theory’ is applied to music video in order to maintain male viewer’s interest and to attract more people into the audience. (According to Wikipedia: Gaze is a psychoanalytical term brought into popular usage by Jacques Lacan to describe the anxious state that comes with the awareness that one can be viewed. The psychological effect, Lacan argues, is that the subject loses a degree of autonomy upon realizing that he or she is a visible object.) In terms of media it refers to how an audience views people being presented. Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘Male Gaze’ in 1975 claiming that in film, audiences have to ‘view’ characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male. This Relegates women to the status of objects. Sexualisation of the female body even in situations where female sexiness has nothing to do with the product being advertised is used in order to widen audiences and gain “fans” through the women within the video rather than purely the music. This convention is used briefly in the opening scene of this music video in order to initially captivate male viewers. However the lyrics in the opening repeat “this or that” in order to challenge this convention, posing the audience the question, the music or the women in order to promote a more progressive message towards to convention of voyeurism within hip hop, similar to the links made between lyrics and visuals later on within the video (Goodwin).
  • 9. • Black sheep- ‘The choice is yours’ relies on the concept of binary opposition proposing within visuals opposites, as above a violent “shooter”, contrasted with them tearing it down with a bright white background connoting innocence. Claude Levis Strauss argued “constant creation of conflict/ opposition drives narrative” which is evident within this video with the lack of storytelling made up by constant conflict against the negative stereotypes people typically associate with the music.
  • 10. • Hip hop music videos tend to promote the artist as a whole rather than just the song. The focus is generally on the status, reputation and message of the performer, this is achieved through links between lyrics and visuals. • Intextuality is used a lot within hip hop music videos • Voyeuristic treatment of the female body is common within the genre of hip hop, but varies with progressive and regressive representations of generic conventions depending on the artist/ labels aim.
  • 11. This video and Goodwin’s theory • • • • This video ties in well with Goodwin's theory of narrative as for one, the music video demonstrates many genre characteristics as shown, while challenging the less progressive characteristics. The video relies on a strong relationship between the lyrics and the visuals which are used to illustrate, amplify or contradict the artists message and the typical genre characteristics. The music is also related to the visuals with the video edited so that the crowd jumps in time with the music, as well as cuts from one shot to the next in time with the beat, a characteristic generic of hiphop music. The record of label of artists tend to require many close up’s of the artists throughout videos in order to establish an image as well as a sound, which is evident throughout this video. There is often intertextual references to other productions/ artist which is evident within this video and previously discussed.
  • 12. Gunther Kress’s explanation of genre • Gunther Kress defines genre as “a kind of text that derives its form from the structure of a (frequently repeated) social occasion, with its characteristic participants and their purpose. This explanation explains the formulation of this music video in terms of how it reflects generic conventions, and the repetition of a social occasion, with the social occasion being the performance of the artist which is repeated although varied throughout nearly all performance hip hop music videos. This also argues that the characteristic conventions used within the video are used in order to fulfil the needs of the audience who are used to the repetition of the “formula” which creates a music video that they like.