It’s become one of the most popular coined-phrases in pop culture today. It’s been seen all over social media, in discussions about Hip-Hop culture, even hearing it from Charlamagne Tha God on the popular morning radio show, The Breakfast Club. No matter who you are in Hip-Hop or pop culture itself, this three-word phrase has rapidly helped people express themselves and have conversations, all for the love of Hip-Hop. But what does “for the culture” really mean? Depending on what’s being talked about, it can have more than one meaning. From a Black small-business owner discussing what drives his business, to a debate of whether or not a favorite movie really deserves that sequel, or even an idea/theory about a favorite celebrity. The point is, “for the culture” is for us, and more specifically, by us.
The other argument that can be made here is whether or not “doing it for the culture” has boundaries. Though the term isn’t new, it’s safe to say that its imprint on mainstream culture is long-lasting. But at no point should it be limited to conversations on pop culture alone. It can also be referenced in conversations that are often considered taboo. For example, discussions on controversial topics where some people may get uncomfortable, and would prefer to remain silent rather than speak on the ugly truths of society. In this example, being “for the culture” is bringing these controversies to light for enlightenment and possible improvements to our society.
In order to truly be “for the culture,” one must realize that it doesn’t just cover pop culture alone, but the world at large. It’s walking down the block overhearing a barbershop conversation; the young boys and girls coming from school buzzing about the newest dance move, and even the ones who were fortunate enough to make it out the ‘hood that didn’t forget where they came from. This isn’t to say the two are separated, but that they each go hand in hand, more so than most realize.
With the increased use of the phrase, there’s also the chance of it becoming overused, like other popular words. Regardless, the term has a greater meaning than what meets the eye. With that, doing it “for the culture” shouldn’t be limited to just one particular topic. It can go anywhere on the spectrum, granted that the conversations remain relevant to both Hip-Hop culture and pop culture, while paying attention to what’s going on within the world around you.
To learn more about what doing it “for the culture’ really means, be sure to check out the 13th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s “#ForTheCulture Conversations”, a segment of the Hip-Hop Institute, on July 12th at Medgar Evers College.